Toronto puts restrictions on pet sales

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Toronto puts restrictions on pet sales to undercut puppy -and kitty-mill industries

From Canada.com
September 2011

Now, retailers will only be able to sell canine and feline friends that came from shelters, humane societies, rescue groups or that were donated by someone.

Toronto city council has put restrictions on the sale of cats and dogs in pet shops in a bid to undercut the puppy and kitty mill industry.

Now, retailers will only be able to sell canine and feline friends that came from shelters, humane societies, rescue groups or that were donated by someone.

"I think we're the second major municipality in Canada to do this, so that from coast to coast, we're going to protect dogs across this country," said a jubilant Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, who had championed the partial ban.

He did so cuddling two adorable black lab brothers that were brought in to City Hall to demonstrate the quality of animals available in shelters.

Councillors dropped an original clause requiring the city to certify breeders because it was too complicated.

The restrictions have no impact on breeders, said De Baeremaeker, who encouraged people buy their dogs at breeders.

"For all intents and purposes we've shut the taps to the puppy mills at retail locations in Toronto. We won't eliminate them because people will still sell at (online classifieds) and there are other ways to sell puppy mill dogs, so those evil people will continue — but there's a lot less demand for their product," said De Baeremaeker. "Eventually, hopefully, there won't be any puppy mills at all."

The seizure of 527 dogs and puppies in Quebec on the weekend has raised the issue of puppy mills and prompted the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies to ask would-be dog owners to think and research before they buy.

"You need to think about where you're getting them from. Many of the common sources out there are supplied by puppy mills," said Barbara Cartwright, the CEO of the CFHS.

People often don't realize dogs sold online actually come from puppy mills, Cartwright said.

People who do decide to buy from a breeder should visit the dogs on site and ask to see the mother, father and other puppies in the litter, she said. Ethical breeders have only one or two breeds available and often require buyers to fill out an application form.