Victoria Councillor hoping to add pet sale ban to animal welfare bylaw in discussion tonight

The City of Victoria is voting on increased animal responsibility bylaws tonight, but one councillor is hoping to add one more clause.

Councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe has been campaigning to ban the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits from pet stores, except when the sale is through a partnership with an animal welfare group. The vote tonight will deal with increasing rules around animal abuse, but she said she is hoping that council will allow that matter as a late addition into tonight's discussion.

“This is a suite of a whole bunch of changes to deal with the cruelty of animals, to make sure that animals aren’t kept out in the cold or the heat, how they tie up their dogs, whether you can hit your dog and tie them to a tree all day when you’re at work,” Thornton-Joe said. “Because this is an addition to other amendments I added, I have to see if council will allow me to add it, or if it has to go into the next quarterly updates.”

One issue with allowing pet stores to sell these pets is that it leads to more impulse buying, according to Thornton-Joe.

“The reason is it’s often thought that the pet store when they have them in the window it creates the impulse buying. So you see the cute little tiny bunny, especially around Easter, and you think ‘oh my daughter would like that’ and you purchase it,” Thornton-Joe said. “Well that bunny becomes big and probably isn’t cute anymore, and you take it to Mt. Doug Park and you drop it off.”

The City of Vancouver banned the sales of the same pets in December, but some Victoria residents believe that the ban should go further.

“There have been many emails saying we’re not going far enough, we shouldn’t even let them sell fish or guinea pigs or reptiles,” Thornton-Joe said.

The bylaw to increase protections for animal welfare will be voted on later tonight at the council meeting.

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