Activist challenges Burnaby pet-sale regulations 0
Paws for Hope Animal Foundation's Kathy Powelson says animals at pet stores often come from breeding "mills," and can be left in poor care while in display windows. This animal's feces can be seen within its enclosure. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
An animal rights advocate says Burnaby is neglecting to protect animals from breeding “mills” by dismissing her suggestion that cats, dogs and rabbits sales be banned from pet stores.
On Monday, Burnaby City Hall staff recommended that its council make changes to prohibit turtles from being sold — since they’re sometimes invasive — and to make spaying or neutering mandatory for all rabbits to control population.
Kathy Powelson, executive director of the Paws for Hope Animal Foundation, said the changes ignore the often-deplorable conditions animals live in behind pet-store displays, and the lack of accountability of their origins.
The city currently has a list of criteria governing the conditions pets must be in when inside stores. They include keeping clean enclosures, medical care and a 12-week limit on the amount of time a pet can be on display.
Powelson said that only drives stores to try and sell animals faster.
“(The regulations) also does nothing to monitor what happens after they leave the store,” she said, adding reputable breeders and the SPCA do “home checks” and will take back animals if an adopter or buyer no longer wants them.
“When you have pets sold at retail at a store by someone trained as retail … they’re just selling animals as commodities.”
According to the city figures, pet stores within Burnaby have received 67 complaints over the past five years. Complaints have also been increasing, from seven in 2008 to 19 so far this year.
The city, however, determined nearly half of those complaints were “without merit” and the businesses co-operated in every case that resulted in an order being issued.
Richmond is currently the only municipality banning dog sales in pet stores.
“There is a lack of standards for breeders at provincial, national and international levels,” Burnaby finance director Denise Jorgenson said in her report.
“However, pet stores can be held accountable for their actions by provincial cruelty legislation and local bylaw regulation.”