Candidate wants pet store changes

[attach]2125[/attach]If Dean Maher has his way, people won’t be asking, ‘How much is that doggy in window?’

The Ward 20 council candidate wants the city to ban the sale of cats and dogs from all Toronto pet stores. The issue is up for debate at city hall.

“The overall goal is to reduce unwanted pets,” Maher said Aug. 10.

Many unwanted animals end up in shelters and in some cases, if their health is particularly bad, they are euthanized.

In 2009, the Toronto Humane Society had 4,701 cats and 1,382 dogs and a total of 394 were euthanized, according to info Maher got from the organization.

He said there’s more education of pet owners when they buy from a breeder or shelter so this can lead to better matches and fewer unwanted dogs and cats.

He’s also concerned pet store dogs aren’t getting enough exercise.

And, Maher said, there’s no way to know for sure where pet stores obtain their dogs and cats from but some of them use puppy and cat mills.

Toronto Vet Dr. Kenneth Hill supports the proposed ban.

“By banning the sale of kittens and puppies from pet stores, the puppy and kitten mills who supply the pet stores will have a limited market to sell their stock,” he wrote in an email. “Sitting in a cage for often weeks on end in a pet store waiting to be purchased is not the environment to promote proper development.”

Hill suggested people look at shelters or humane societies as a place to buy a pet.

“There are thousands of loving pets waiting for adoption into a home,” he said.

As of March 28, there are 27 registered pet stores in Toronto and 11 of them sell cats or dogs or both, according to Maher.

One store that sells dogs and cats is PJ’s Pets.

But the chain’s director of marketing Stacey Halliday says they follow proper protocol to keep the animals in good health.

“(Dogs) are routinely taken out on the floor and have regimented exercise requirements for each breed,” she said.

There’s vet care, inspections and clean-up regimes to ensure pets are kept in good condition, Halliday said.

The company provides customers with a“puppy portfolio” with health history and a list of prior vaccinations.

“We are trying to match you with the best type of pet and breed for your lifestyle,” she added.

Critter’s Castle Pet Shop in the Beach doesn’t sell cats or dogs even though they get plenty of requests, said owner Sonja Pavlovska.

“You need proper conditions for it not just to make money,” she said. “You can’t keep dogs full-time in a cage … Even half hour or an hour (outside) isn’t enough.”

Maher hopes the current city council will vote on this issue before the Oct. 25 election.