As the pet ban debate continues in the city, council received related letters on the subject, which were presented at its last meeting before summer break.
There were four letters sent to council, both for and against a possible pet sale ban in Burnaby. The Burnaby NOW has also received many letters on the issue.
The issue surrounding the regulation of pet stores is expected to be addressed in an upcoming staff report to council this September, which will be part of the amendments to the animal control bylaw. It will include selling practices of all animals in the bylaw review.
David Chan, of Exotic Serpents based in Vancouver, breeds snakes. He wrote a letter to council that said a pet sale ban would not address the puppy and kitten mill problem.
"What a ban does do is sweep the problem under the carpet to make it out of sight, out of mind type concept," Chan states in his letter. "Why would any politician support such a ban(?) It affects the cash flow of the taxes being collected, takes away a revenue stream of a small business owner and leaves the public ignorant to the actual problem, which is the puppy mills and bad owners."
The NOW recently interviewed Katherine Kinman, owner of King Ed Pet Centre, about how a ban on pet sales in the city would not only be detrimental to her business but would not fix the bigger problem.
Kinman wrote to council and told the city her business could be a solution to the problem as it strives to educate pet owners on better practices.
"Banning selling pets in pet stores does not solve the problem, nor does it address the issue," she stated in her letter. "Key players working together to educate the public does."
Kinman echoed Chan's concerns that a pet sale ban would drive the market underground, which would put puppies and kittens at bigger risk.
The NOW also interviewed Tom Peters, owner of Pet Habitat in Metropolis at Metrotown, who agreed the ban would not stop the sale of pets from mills, particularly online.
However, two other letters sent to Burnaby council were in support of banning pet sales.
Burnaby residents Susan and Jake Anthony wrote to council and noted that in the last few months, San Diego and New York made strives towards pet sale bans.
On July 10, San Diego allout banned the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits in pet stores. On May 1, New York passed a bill that banned puppy mills and allowed local governments to regulate pet breeders and stores. "From San Diego and New York states' recent announcement, it would appear that the movement toward the banning of live pet sales in North America is gaining momentum," the Anthonys wrote in their letter. "Please don't let Burnaby lag behind other forward-thinking cities when eventually (will it be within our lifetime?) consider the review of our animal control bylaw."
Carmina Gooch of the Rabbit Advocacy Group wrote to council, as well, questioning the delay on the animal control bylaw review.
"Baby rabbits are an impulse buy, commonly bought for young children, and time and time again (are) discarded very quickly, unsterilized, after the child becomes bored with the animal," Gooch stated in her letter. "Pet store associates usually know little or nothing about rabbits and do not inform potential buyers about the responsibilities, costs, and importance of spay and neuter."
The Rabbit Advocacy Group has written to council in the past, requesting the city to ban pet sales, including rabbits, from pet stores and other venues.
Council's next meeting is on Aug. 26.
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