Puppies no longer for sale at big pet retailer

PJ's Pets is putting an end to selling puppies in Edmonton and across the country, and instead will have canines available for adoption on display at its stores.
Several Edmonton-area pet stores don't sell dogs but do have ones on display that are up for adoption from the humane society. (CBC)

A popular pet store is putting an end to selling puppies in Edmonton and across the country.

Instead, as of September the national retailer PJ's Pets will have canines available for adoption on display.

"We're looking for opportunities for dogs to be adopted out of our stores versus being sold," Stacey Halliday, the company's director of marketing, said Wednesday.

"We are in the process of removing dogs from the stores in Edmonton. Currently only West Edmonton Mall right now is the store that currently has any dogs that are left."

The Edmonton Humane Society, which would supply the puppies for adoption, has already formed similar partnerships with other local pet stores and will meet with staff from PJ's later this week.

Each week, the society sees at least one animal purchased by impulse show up at its facility when the new owner realizes they don't really want it.

"I don't think in many cases that they're intending to go" pet shopping, humane society spokesperson  Shawna Randolph said. "They get caught up in it and they get caught up in the emotion, they see it in the window."

Puppy mill concerns

The society hopes the move by pet stores to stop selling dogs will curtail overpopulation and animal abandonment. Allegations that some Alberta pet stores have had connections to puppy mills, where dogs are bred for sale in inhumane conditions, are also behind the new policies.

The Edmonton Humane Society's Shawna Randolph wonders why pet stores don't implement the same policy for other animals. (CBC)

At Paradise Pet Centre in St. Albert, which stopped selling dogs in January in favour of helping the humane society to adopt them out, owner Lorne Terrault said he's proud to have been at the head of a trend.

"It makes me feel great that we were at the start of this," Terrault said, adding that he was motivated by ethical concerns about animal treatment. "We've found so far that it hasn't hurt our business. If anything we're having more people coming in."

Randolph said PJ's and other pet stores shouldn't stop at puppies, however.

"Where's the talk about kittens? There was no mention about felines. So although it may be a step toward the right direction in our opinion, we still wonder about the other species."

PJ's Pets has 21 outlets in B.C., Alberta and Ontario. Its sister company Pets Unlimited, which announced in June it was no longer selling dogs, has 18 locations in Atlantic Canada.