Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters
Richmond pet store facing puppy sale probe
April 27, 2012 Richmond News
A pet store at the centre of last year’s puppy sale ban controversy is being investigating by the City of Richmond. Pet Habitat is facing a city bylaw department probe amid reports that the Richmond Centre store is still selling dogs, despite a ban on such sales — the first in Canada — coming into force in April last year.
The store was one of three in the city, including PJ’s Pets and Pets Wonderland, which unsuccessfully petitioned the B.C. Supreme Court to have the city’s new bylaw declared null and void. However, bylaw officers are now dealing with complaints regarding Pet Habitat’s business practices, including allegations of dogs still being sold on the premises.
One concerned dog owner, Morgan Johnson, who visited Pet Habitat last Friday evening, said she could hear multiple dogs barking and yelping behind a steel door at the back of the store. “This wasn’t coming from a couple of dogs, this was from a big group of dogs,” said Johnson.
“I didn’t speak to the staff about it because I was so surprised. I spoke to a security guard outside the store and he said dogs are still getting sold there. “I reported it first to RAPS (Richmond Animal Protection Society) and they told me the excuse from Pet Habitat was that it was only boarding dogs there for a couple of months.” Johnson, however, said she has two dogs of her own and she knows “how much noise they can make.” Pet Habitat’s owner, Ernest Ng, didn’t return News calls by press time.
The city’s spokesperson, Ted Townsend, confirmed the bylaw department has received several complaints about Pet Habitat, all of which are currently being investigated. One explanation given to the city for dogs being on the premises is that the animals were being boarded there. “There is no sale of dogs permitted and this premises is not permitted to board dogs, they don’t have a license for it,” said Townsend, adding he wasn’t certain how long the investigation might take.
A Richmond News reporter, posing as a customer, went into the store this week, inquiring about buying a dog and getting it groomed or boarded. The reporter was told the store doesn’t sell dogs, but one could be ordered in from a U.S. breeder and picked up at the store. The reporter was also told that, for boarding, the dog could be dropped off at the store and then taken “home” by a staff member. A message on Pet Habitat’s Richmond website reads:
“Puppies In Stock; Currently, Richmond law doesn’t allow us to sell dogs in pet stores. “However, we have quite a number of puppies in our other locations! If you are interested in making a furry friend of your own, please don’t hesitate to contact us...!”
Comment: Pet Habitat stores have received numerous complaints over many years regarding the sales of sick animals, unclean premises, inadequate housing, and related matters. In February 2011, Pet Habitat, (Canpets) Park Royal, broke the bylaw banning sales of rabbits and earlier this year we received information that the Metrotown store was “renovating,” contrary to its lease agreement.
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