Advocates want city to prevent the sale of kittens and puppies

Animal rights advocates are appealing to the City of New Westminster to ban the sale of kittens and puppies in pet stores.

Kathy Powelson, founder of the Paws for Hope Animal Foundation, appeared before city council Sept. 10 to ask the city to amend its pet store bylaw to prohibit the sale of cats and dogs in retail stores. She noted that the city has already banned the sale of rabbits.

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Although there aren't any stores in New Westminster that currently sell puppies or kittens, Powelson said the city could prevent this from happening in the future by amending its bylaw now. By banning the sale of cats and dogs in New Westminster pet stores, she said the city could help stop the needless suffering of animals, as many of these animals live in horrible conditions.

Paws for Hope is a Burnaby-based nonprofit organization that attempts to advance animal welfare through education and awareness, community programming, and support rescue and rehabilitation.

Powelson told city council that breeders who are certified with the Canadian Kennel Club are prohibited from selling to pet stores. She expressed concern about the "inhumane treatment" of animals at backyard breeders or mills, where profit is placed above the animals' welfare.

"Animals that come from mills or backyards often have health problems," she added.

Coun. Lorrie Williams said the city doesn't need to be selling kittens or puppies in stores.

"Once they grow up and aren't cute any more, they are abandoned," she said.

According to Powelson, there is a "movement" taking place in cities across Canada and several are considering bans on the retail sale of cats and dogs in pet stores.

New Westminster city council referred the issue to staff for a report.

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