Recently a few posts have cropped up on our Facebook page, letting us know that the pet store in West Edmonton Mall is once again selling puppies and kittens. Not only are they selling these adorably cute creatures but they even have several other exotic animals for sale, including pot-bellied pigs.
Needless to say, it was a shock to hear this. For a year now, most of the pet stores in Edmonton had stopped selling puppies and kittens and embraced the model of working with rescue groups and helping find homes for displaced, homeless animals. Pet stores in our city had stopped contributing to the puppy mill and irresponsible breeder industry.
This was a big win for animal welfare in our community – in fact something that I had often claimed bragging rights on in my travels. Well, no longer…
Some of the locations that used to be PJs Pet Stores in Edmonton have sold to a chain called My Pet, including the West Edmonton Mall location. I find it really interesting that all this change happened without an announcement of the sale.
From my perspective, the timing couldn’t be worse – just in time for Christmas. We know that people are going to be drawn into the store by the very sweet puppy and kitten faces; some purchasing not knowing that they are contributing to a very dark and hidden world of commercial dog and cat breeding.
One of the best demonstrations of this hidden world is the PSA created by the SPCA of Texas. Anyone that watches this can really see that getting that pet store puppy should not be an option. While the video talks about parking lots and flea markets, let’s not kid ourselves, pet store puppies come from the same circumstances.
Responsible breeders would never consider selling to a pet store. In fact, I’ve blogged before regarding reputable, responsible breeders (RRBs) and the variety of guidelines that they go by and none of them include selling to a pet store.
Just yesterday, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced a pet store industry coalition to try and effect real change in the commercial dog breeding industry. The intent is to improve conditions for the dogs and puppies in these operations, and ensure that those that choose to purchase an animal have a reliable and humane source to obtain them from.
This is a great first step for the US, but it’s hard to say how long it will be before this group gains any forward momentum. And I wonder how long it will be before we begin to see this type of initiative happen in Canada. So what do we do in the meantime?
Here at the EHS, we are going to generate community conversation and bring more awareness. The only way the stores will stop selling is if people do not buy.
Honestly it confuses me why in the world a person would pay $2,000 for a puppy from a pet store. They are not spayed or neutered, they don’t have papers and chances are pretty high that they will have a variety of health problems.
We have heard time and time again from our local veterinarians that they always know a "mill" dog or a pet store dog, as they get to see them a lot due to the many health issues.
Too bad the buyers don’t know this information.
This past year, we have not discussed not buying puppies and kittens from a store too much because many of you simply know that. Many of you know that you can get a great puppy from the humane society or a rescue group. They are just as cute and just as playful as the “doggie in the window”. In fact, they are even cuter, in my opinion, since they’ve been spayed or neutered and won’t be adding to the population of homeless pets.
So now – Edmonton and the pet loving community – it is up to you to help the EHS get the word out to friends and family and whoever will listen… pet store pet purchasers beware!
And, if you know families that are considering adding a puppy or kitten, please ask them to visit a humane society or rescue group as their first stop; there are so many sweet faces just waiting for a forever family.