News / Ottawa

Ottawa pet stores may need to obey new dog, cat sale bylaw

The city wants to crack down on pet stores selling dogs and cats sourced from over-populated mills or other sub-standard conditions.

City of Ottawa staff are recommending that new and existing pet shops sell animals solely from municipal shelters, humane societies, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals and rescue organizations.

DAVID COOPER / TORONTO STAR

City of Ottawa staff are recommending that new and existing pet shops sell animals solely from municipal shelters, humane societies, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals and rescue organizations.

Pet shops may be on a tighter leash when it comes to selling puppies and kittens.

A new City of Ottawa report is proposing stricter rules that would crack down on pet stores selling dogs and cats sourced from over-populated mills or other sub-standard conditions.

City staff are recommending that new and existing pet shops sell animals solely from municipal shelters, humane societies, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals and rescue organizations.

While the proposed changes may satisfy animal rights advocates, it won’t change much for most of the city’s 16 pet stores.

Only three of those shops sell dogs and cats from commercial breeders. Those owners may be permitted to continue the practice. However, under the new bylaw, their animal sources would be subject to annual inspections from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (OSPCA) or Quebec’s Animal Welfare and Safety Act.

A Good kitty Samaritan who brings in a stray from the street will not be allowed to sell the animal in a pet shop, either. That’s considered an unregulated source.

Pet stores that sell animals from breeders who fail to meet the standards of their respective provincial act – including food, water or medical care – would be subject to a provincial fine, summons to court or a license loss.

In going straight to the animal source, this bylaw goes a step above the current regulations, which allows an OSPCA agent to investigate pet shops.  

Over 2014 and 2015, the city heard a total of 30 complaints in relation to nine different pet stores. But staff say there was “no clear evidence” to confirm that those cats and dogs were sourced from mills. Under this proposed amended bylaw, pet shops would also be unable to source dogs and cats from shady sources found online.

Even in pet stores that showcase animals from shelters, there aren’t that many cute puppies and kittens staring out the windows, anyway. Those partnered with shelters and rescue centres tend to source adult animals, as that’s what’s typically available. Anyone searching for a pup or kitty would likely have to go straight to the breeder.

A community and protective services committee will consider these pet store bylaw changes at a meeting on Monday morning.

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