Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


Only rescue and shelter animals allowed at Waterloo pet shops

August 15, 2014 By Anam Latif | Waterloo Record

WATERLOO Pet shops will no longer be able to carry animals that are not from registered shelters and rescue groups, according to a new municipal bylaw.

Angela Cowan and Jennifer Storey pushed the motion forward at city council on Monday in an effort to prevent dogs bred for-profit from being sold in pet shops. "There is a huge overpopulation of dogs," said Cowan who is also a rescue worker at Grand River All Breed Rescue in Cambridge. "We are producing far too many."

It is part of a larger business licensing overhaul that will enforce stricter licences in an effort to ensure accountability and consumer protection. The newly amended bylaw states that pet shops in the city can only have animals from a municipal shelter, registered humane society, registered shelter or rescue group.

"Pet shops are an impulse buy," Cowan said. "We are concerned about the breeding of dogs, dogs going through brokers, being treated cruelly and taken away from their mothers."

Waterloo isn't the first municipality in Canada to adopt this new rule, which will essentially make extinct pet shops where pets are sold for profit. In 2011, Toronto city council voted for a similar bylaw. Other cities include Mississauga, Calgary and Richmond, B.C.

"We have always wanted to keep pets safe," said Jim Barry, the director of municipal enforcement services. He added that the city's previous pet shop bylaws were also very extensive. "But this (bylaw) really just bolsters that, making sure the businesses operate in a manner that is conducive to the animals they are selling."

Cowan said pet shops can hold adoption days in conjunction with shelters and rescue groups. Regular adoption fees will apply.

Barry said there are five locations licensed to sell pets in Waterloo and Cowan said that most of them have been hosting adoption days already. "Waterloo's pet shop owners are all very conscious about where their pets are coming from," she said. "We just want to stop others from coming here and doing it." Cowan and Storey hope to push forward similar bylaws in Kitchener, Cambridge and Guelph as well.