Vancouver councillor seeks ban on pet store sales of dogs, cats and rabbits

It wasn't so long ago that a popular children's song asked, "How much is that doggie in the window?" Well, it soon might be illegal if a Vancouver councillor has her way.

Heather Deal says it's tough to assess breeding conditions if animals are from Asia or United States

A Vancouver councillor is proposing the city ban the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits from retail pet stores, but breeders and animal shelters would still be able to sell or adopt out animals.

It wasn't so long ago that a popular children's song asked, "How much is that doggie in the window?"

Well, it soon might be illegal if a Vancouver councillor has her way.

Coun. Heather Deal says when pets are sold in retail stores it can be difficult to assess the breeding conditions, especially if they come from Asia or the United States.

"It has been shown that the commercial breeding facilities that supply animals to pet stores can raise them in horrible conditions resulting in neglect, abuse and suffering," says her motion.

That is why Deal has put forward a motion calling for a ban on the sale of puppies, kittens, and bunnies at retail pet stores.

"We're doing this because a lot of other cities have already done it — places like New Westminster, and Richmond and because of a recent store opening here in Vancouver has raised a huge issue around this," she said.

People would still be able to adopt a cat, dog or rabbit through reputable breeders or animal rescue and shelter organizations, said Deal, whose motion goes before city council Tuesday.

"Certainly we have a lot of pets that are stranded and end up in shelters. we have 200 to 300 dogs given away a year alone in the City of Vancouver shelter."

Times have changed

The move is supported by the B.C. SPCA's chief enforcement officer Marcie Moriarty, who says retail stores selling dogs and cats are already on the way out.

"There is a movement throughout North America to go this way. Times have changed and people need to be a bit more aware of where their pets are coming from."

Moriarty says both breeders and buyers have a responsibility to ensure pets come from and end up in good homes.

"Most responsible breeders wouldn't want their pets sold through a pet store. They want to be in touch with the potential guardian."

The Canadian Kennel Club does not even allow its members to sell through pet stores, she notes.

Morairty notes the provincial government proposed new legislation to require all breeders to be registered and inspected in B.C., and says she'll be watching to see if that becomes law in B.C.