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Vancouver to mull ban on puppy sales in pet stores

Richmond and New Westminster already have similar bans in place

Vancouver city councillors are discussing a possible ban on dog, cat, and rabbit sales at pet stores on Tuesday.

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Vancouver city councillors are discussing a possible ban on dog, cat, and rabbit sales at pet stores on Tuesday.

Vancouver city council could take a step toward banning the practice of selling dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores as early as next Tuesday.

Coun. Heather Deal plans to put forward a motion on notice at next week’s council meeting, according to city documents. The notice states other municipalities, including Richmond and New Westminster already ban the sale of dogs and other animals at retail locations. It also notes that many people have contacted the city with concerns about the issue.

At least one animal welfare organization has been organizing protests in front of a pet store in Marpole since it opened in May about its practice of selling animals.

If the motion on notice passes Tuesday, city staff will propose a bylaw amendment to council at a later date that would ban the sale of rabbits, cats, and dogs at retail locations.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to see this being put forward,” said Kathy Powelson, executive director of Paws for Hope.

“The community has been really vocal that they don’t want to see puppies, cats and rabbits sold in pet stores.”

Granville Pet and Garden’s owner, Earnest Ang, previously owned Pet Habitat, another pet store that sold puppies, in Metrotown.

The BC SPCA says it is not aware of any complaints made directly to the non-profit about Granville Pet and Garden but that Ang’s operations have been the subject of complaints before.

“The owner is the same owner as the one in Pet Habitat and we certainly had calls regarding that location,” said Lorie Chortyk, spokesperson for the BC SPCA.

Pet store owners source their dogs from puppy mills, where dogs are bred and kept in cruel conditions, she said.  

“There are these huge warehouses where the puppy brokers access puppies from all sorts of different breeders, warehouse these puppies, then ship them to pet stores.”

The Canadian Kennel Club prohibits registered breeders from selling puppies to pet stores.

Ang did not return a request for comment by Metro’s print deadline, but told Metro in February that he sources dogs from reputable breeders and not puppy mills.

The BC SPCA fully supports the motion to ban the sale of animals at pet stores, said Chortyk. 

“Aboslutely,” she said. “We support any step that is going to put safeguards or protections for both the animals and the people looking to bring a pet into the family,” she said.

The BC SPCA recommends that people contact either a reputable breeder, shelter or rescue organization if they want to adopt an animal.

Powelson hopes Vancouver city councillors are aware of the public support behind a ban on dog, cat, and rabbit sales.

“We can’t be complacent now. We are encouraging people to call their city councillor, to write emails, to demonstrate their support of this motion.”

Paws for Hope is inviting animal lovers to attend a rally in front of Granville Pet and Garden on Saturday, June 24, from 12 to 4 p.m. 

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