The City of Vancouver has moved closer to banning the retail sale of cats, dogs and rabbits.
On Thursday, council voted unanimously in favour of a motion to change the bylaw that allows for the sale of small pets from commercial breeding facilities.
“People have started telling us that there has been a history of bad treatment of animals, not at the stores necessarily, but at the mills that produce these animals,” Coun. Heather Deal told Global News last week. “And so, our staff went down to the new store and discovered that many of these animals come from the U.S. or overseas. We don’t know how to control whether or not they come from puppy mills.”
The new store, Granville Pet and Garden, opened in Vancouver last month. Owner Earnest Ang, has faced multiple complaints in the past. In 2010, Ang owned a franchise of Pet Paradise, which closed in 2011 in response to the Richmond pet sale ban.
In 2015, Ang’s Pet Habitat in Burnaby closed after numerous complaints to the SPCA, City of Burnaby and Metrotown Mall.
Deal is encouraging people to adopt pets rather than buy them from retail stores.
“The biggest issue is where they’ve come from,” added Deal. “There’s no chain of supply to guarantee that they weren’t treated poorly in their early lives and that they aren’t being bred in an unethical way.”
Residents would still be able to adopt through a recognized shelter or buy a cat, dog or rabbit from a licenced breeder.
The BC SPCA is applauding the move by city council.
“Council is standing up against the importation of puppies from mills and issues related to impulse purchases,” said Amy Morris, BC SPCA manager of public policy and outreach in a release. “With so many cats and rabbits being abandoned and surrendered to shelters and rescues, this is the right move.”
For those who are interested in adding an animal to their family can visit an animal shelter, contact a rescue or visit the home of a responsible breeder to see where the animal has been raised. To learn more, visit spca.bc.ca/breeders.
The BC SPCA says it would like to see all municipalities follow Vancouver, Richmond and New Westminster in banning the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits from pet stores.
WATCH: (Originally aired June 20): The City of Vancouver is considering following the lead of other municipalities like Richmond, and banning the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores. Tanya Beja has the story.
— With files from Geneva Nam