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Animal advocates in Calgary want council to ban retail sale of puppies & kittens

CALGARY — A plan to ban Calgary pet stores from selling cats and dogs is headed to city council in the fall.

Advocates for the ban worry retail stores are buying animals from disreputable breeders and selling them to overly impulsive shoppers. As a result, pets may be abandoned and end up at overcrowded animal shelters.

However, a small business group is concerned it’s a knee-jerk reaction and says an outright ban on retail pet sales is unnecessary.

“It’s a slippery slope,” said Richard Truscott, director of provincial affairs in Alberta for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. “Are they the going to ban the retail sale of birds and bunnies and gerbils?

“Where do we draw the line?”

Calgary’s bylaw boss said many retail chains have voluntarily stopped the sale of cats and dogs, but advocacy groups are pushing for legislation.

“You’re really setting a standard at this point,” Bill Bruce said.

Bruce added that companion pet bans in Toronto, B.C. and the United States have reduced the number of abandoned pets in those regions.

The plan is backed by animal advocacy group Actions Speak Louder Calgary.

Founder Jennifer Kaiser said the ASLC is concerned people are buying from “puppy mills” and“kitten factories.”

Kaiser applauded stores that have stopped the practice, but insists legislation is needed because some retailers have only quit for financial gain and could revert to selling cats and dogs.

“We’re going for a ban, so it’s blanket across the board and they can’t go back on it,” she said.

The group mailed more than 350 support letters to city aldermen and Mayor Naheed Nenshi following this year’s pet expo.

The mayor’s office confirmed a report is planned to come to council in the fall.

However, in an e-mail to the Herald, spokesman Daorcey Le Bray said the office “doesn’t have an official opinion, yet, but is looking forward to receiving the report.”

Last September, Petland stores teamed up with adoption agencies and began phasing out the sale of puppies and kittens.

Spokeswoman Agatha Slominski said there’s still a need to ethically source pets and warned that shoppers could turn to disreputable, online sellers more often as a result of any legislation banning the sale of pets in stores.

Buyers would have to do their homework, Slominski said.

“You won’t have that pet store to go to, (where) you know that the store and breeder have been inspected,” she said.

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2 responses to “Animal advocates in Calgary want council to ban retail sale of puppies & kittens

  1. This is a difficult one. We feel that regulating the puppy mills and kitten factories is of a much higher priority. If pet stores could only sell animals from certificated breeders, the problem would be resolved.

    • Absolutely in agreement but we must start somewhere. Shutting down “puppy/kitten mills” IS a priority! If the supply is cut off retailers will have to make more humane arrangements; such as like you suggest, dealing only with registered breeders.