Anti-puppy mills group says pet shop bylaw falls short

An anti-puppy mills advocacy group says a proposed Ottawa pet shop bylaw falls short of tackling animal welfare problems.

Puppymill Awareness Working Solutions (PAWS), an Ottawa-based group that educates the “cruelty and abuse” of mass puppy breeding, wants a total ban on the for-profit sale of dogs, cats and rabbits.

On Monday, the City of Ottawa released a report on a new bylaw that aims to crack down on the sale of for-profit animals in pet stores.

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City staff are recommending that new and existing pet shops sell animals solely from municipal shelters, humane societies, societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals and rescue organizations.

Only three Ottawa pet stores sell dogs and cats from commercial breeders. Those pet stores would be allowed to continue this practice, on the condition that provincial inspectors from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (OSPCA) or Quebec’s Animal Welfare and Safety Act say those animal sources meet all breeding standards.

PAWS founder Eileen Woodside said this inappropriately puts the onus on provincial authorities.

“It’s not the outcome that we want,” she said.

Further, the proposed amendments don’t address other issues, including the sale of rabbits and impulse purchases from spotting a cute puppy or kitten in a store window.

“They’re unsterilized, which ultimately can contribute to high rates of abandonment and surrender to shelters because people are unprepared for impulse purchases,” she said.

In an email, Bay Coun. Mark Taylor, who has been pushing for stricter rules on pet stores, said a supervised grandfathering of those three shops is “something I could live with.” But he wants regulations in place that will lead to a complete ban on commercially bred animals “sooner rather than never.”

This article originally appeared on on March 15.

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