February 13, 2013 - 9:40 AM
By Charlotte Helston
City council has decided a ban on the retail sale of animals from puppy mills would be all bark and no bite in Vernon.
"I've spent a lot of time thinking about this and doing research," Coun. Juliette Cunningham says. "I don't think it would have a huge impact in Vernon."
The city has instead chosen to write a letter to the appropriate provincial minister lobbying for regulations on animal breeding.
The ban was pitched to council by local residents Gina Son and Wendy McIntyre, who said the Vernon area is overrun with puppy mills. They urged council to follow in the footsteps of Richmond, B.C. where a ban on the sale of animals in pet shops was recently put in place. They stressed that eliminating puppy mill outlets—including pet shops—would help put so-called factory farms out of business.
Cunningham pointed out Vernon only has one pet shop, AJ's Pets & Things, continuing to sell dogs, cats and rabbits.
"In larger cities, it's a bigger issue," Cunningham says, noting the ban was truly needed in Richmond. "Here, it wouldn't change anything."
In the Vernon area, she says it is more of a rural concern. "There were over 40 dogs found in a puppy mill around Lumby," she says of an April, 2012 bust. "There are more options in rural areas for this to be an issue."
For this reason, council said it would be referring the matter to the Regional District of North Okanagan. "We can rally our partners at RDNO to put pressures on the province," Cunningham says.
Lisa Badach of AJ's Pets & Things says pet stores can be part of the solution by helping to identify problem breeders. Though she doesn't support the retail ban, she thinks regulations at the provincial level would be worth pursuing.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (250)309-5230.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013