Animal-welfare activists from Beaconsfield are hoping to persuade local municipalities to ban the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores within their respective territories.
Karen Messier, a former city councillor, and Johanne Tassé, who heads the Companion Animal Adoption Centres of Quebec, presented their proposal to Beaconsfield council last week and have since written other West Island cities asking them to ban the sale of dogs and cats in retail stores and to only permit the adoption of animals from non-profit animal rescue groups, like the SPCA.
They cite Toronto, and Richmond, B.C., as two municipalities that have taken up the charge to curtail dog and cat sales.
Messier said their motivation is fuelled by puppy mills, breeding facilities where profits are considered above animal welfare. She said Quebec has the reputation as the puppy mill capital of Canada.
"A lot of these pet stores get their dogs from puppy mills," Messier said. "A reputable breeder does not sell to stores. A respected breeder wants to make sure their dogs will be well cared for. Pet stores are more impulse buys."
Tassé said her network has taken more than 700 rescued animals from Quebec to Toronto for pet adoption options since 2008.
Tassé said potential pet owners here should consider adoptions.
"We have so many homeless pets," she said. "If you buy from a store, you are part of the problem. If you adopt, you are part of the solution. If Quebecers made an ethical choice, we wouldn't hear any more about puppy mills."
Messier pointed out they are asking cities to adopt a ban even if they don't have a pet store in their area. They believe cities can play an important role in helping to shut down industrial breeders of dogs and cats who supply animals to pet stores and classified Internet sites, pointing out it is unethical to continue to breed dogs and cats without limitations when so many are homeless and