Animal welfare

Pop-up puppy sellers are a ‘serious’ concern of Vancouver animal welfare advocates

“He said to me, ‘We sell fully trained puppies’ and I laughed, thinking it was a joke because that’s not possible. After a moment of silence, I left feeling bad. easy.” —Catherine Casey

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Animal advocates are urging British Columbians not to ‘impulse buy’ puppies from unknown breeders after sidewalk sales outside a Vancouver SkyTrain station drew crowds, as well as the complaints.

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While the source of the dogs remains unverified, the city and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say little can be done to stop vendors from appearing on sidewalks across the province as sales of animals are not prohibited.

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Kathryn Casey was initially thrilled to see several Bernese Mountain puppies outside her Granville Street office on August 16, but that joy turned to dread after the dogs’ owner told her they could be bought.

“He said to me, ‘We sell fully trained puppies’ and I laughed, thinking it was a joke because that’s not possible. After a moment of silence, I left feeling bad. easy.

Over the next two weeks, Casey said he saw crowds continue to gather outside the downtown Vancouver train station. Many loved the puppies.

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Fearing the animals may have been produced in a puppy mill, she took to Twitter on Monday and called on the City of Vancouver to stop the sale.

“Who legitimately sells puppies around the corner? Casey asked.

While the city has said selling dogs on city property is illegal, it told Postmedia on Thursday that TransLink is responsible for managing areas outside of transit stations. “In this case, the alleged illegal sale was taking place on InTransit BC property, which is outside of city jurisdiction,” he said in an email.

Bylaw officers visited the SkyTrain station on Tuesday morning, the city announced on Twitter. “However, the person or persons in question were not present.”

Spokeswoman Tina Lovegreen confirmed that sales on TransLink property are illegal unless a business license is obtained. She said Transit Police and SkyTrain officers can ask anyone blocking the entrance to a station to move on. “The transport police would ask them to leave the property and if they refuse, a fine (of $115) may be imposed.”

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The town’s reluctance to get to the bottom of the puppy pop-up has been a cause of frustration for Casey and animal rights attorney Rebeka Breder.

“What infuriates me is that the city passes the buck to TransLink even though it has the power to investigate any business carried out on city property.”

“No reputable breeder or animal rescue organization would sell a puppy to a stranger on the street,” Breder said. “It’s a serious concern for public safety and animal welfare.

In an effort to discourage the often inhumane living conditions that animals endure on commercial farms, the city implemented a ban on the sale of animals in pet stores, including dogs, in 2017.

Stores are only allowed to sell puppies for adoption through recognized rescue societies or shelter organizations, such as the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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The SPCA maintains strict adoption protocols, including a mandatory application and screening process and training sessions, to ensure the animal’s well-being.

Breder said not all organizations are equally human.

“I hope Vancouverites won’t be fooled by the word ‘rescue’ used by some salespeople. The pet adoption business in British Columbia is so unregulated that puppy mills are still a problem.

Marcie Moriarty, chief prevention and enforcement officer at the SPCA, says that on the basis of information received by its call center, the SkyTrain vendors do not appear to have violated provincial animal cruelty prevention legislation.

“There must be claims that the animals meet the definition of distress – a sickly puppy or an animal without physical access to water.”

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Moriarty encourages Vancouverites interested in adopting a puppy to research responsible breeders first.

While a reputable breeder will ask about the interested adopter’s lifestyle and prepare a contract that lists their responsibilities, profit-driven breeders are likely to be reluctant to discuss the negative aspects of a dog’s breed or provide detailed information about their veterinary history, parents or education. according to the SPCA.

“Because the adoption industry is unregulated, more people need to do their due diligence to make sure they’re not supporting puppy mills,” Moriarty said.

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twitter.com/sarahgrochowski

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