British Columbia

Vancouver bans pet store sales of cats, dogs and rabbits

On Wednesday, Vancouver city council unanimously voted to ban the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits in pet stores.

Decision applauded by local animal advocates

Experts say when animals are sold in retail stores it can be difficult to assess the breeding conditions. (Amanda Bay / Firedog Communications)

Vancouver city council has unanimously voted to ban the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits from pet stores in the city.

The motion was put forward by Coun. Heather Deal last week.

Deal cited how difficult it can be to assess the breeding conditions in retail stores. The hope is the ban will also curtail the abandonment of hundreds of pets that end up in shelters. 

Amy Morris, B.C. SPCA manager of public policy and outreach, is applauding council's decision.

"Council is standing up against the importation of puppies from mills and issues related to impulse purchases," said Morris in a statement. "With so many cats and rabbits being abandoned and surrendered to shelters and rescues, this is the right move."

The B.C. SPCA stresses it is the responsibility of both breeders and buyers that pets come from — and end up in —  good homes.

When explaining her decision to put the motion forward, Deal said commercial breeding facilities that supply animals to pet stores can raise them in horrible conditions resulting in neglect, abuse and suffering.

In addition, Deal highlighted the public's desire to see an end to the inhumane transport practices and lack of inter-animal socialization in pet stores.

Under the new ban animal rescue operations and reputable breeders will still be able to sell or adopt out animals.

Vancouver is the latest city in the Lower Mainland to enact such a ban, following other municipalities including Richmond and New Westminster.