American staffordshire terrier dog with little kitten

Risk of Reducing Access to Healthy Pets

Pet Lover’s Right to Choose

The City of Montreal is proposing a regulation to encourage the adoption of animals in shelters through distribution via pet stores.  City officials say the purpose of this bylaw is to reduce the shelter population and control sourcing of dogs, cats and rabbits. While on paper this sounds like a positive move, going forward with the proposed regulation will negatively impact the city’s residents and businesses, according to Francis Bourdon, owner of Simalex, which sells small animals such as rabbits the new bylaw will affect his business model.“Restricting the source for pets in a big city like Montreal removes the pet lovers right to choose where they obtain an animal and ultimately the type of pet they wish to have.  It is widely known that the number of animals available in shelters across Canada is decreasing, therefore their ability to meet demand for species, breed type and age will not be sustainable or even possible. My biggest concern is the immediate diversion of pet owners to unregulated sources, thereby reducing access to healthy pets.” 

Pet store owner, Michel Joly of Animalerie Chico, Verdun and co-owner of the Chico chain also fears for the impact on the industry. “Not having been consulted by the city on an issue that directly affects the future of my business is extremely frustrating.  As a tax paying small business and a recognized participant in PIJAC Canada’s Best Management Practices Program for retail stores, I know many more like me worry about the risk to animal well-being and safety of the population.”

“When I received the letter from city officials, my first action was to call PIJAC Canada. I am passionate about pets and my store.  Knowing I have the support from an organization that understands and provides best practices in the industry for my staff is crucial when facing this type of challenge.” – Martine Paul, from Animalerie Paul

Animal welfare is everyone’s business, says PIJAC Canada.  The association supports the pet adoption location format and believes that other models must also remain available where all sources are subject to the same high standards of care and best practice to have a system that is fair, and efficient. PIJAC Canada is working with local member businesses to address this issue before the vote on August 20th.  In addition to operating at a fixed address, Montreal pet stores, must have a business license with the city, keep detailed records and be inspected regularly.  Applying this model to shelters, rescues, retail, veterinarians and breeders creates that fair, efficient model which protects the animals, the consumer’s right to choose and the community’s access to healthy pets.

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