October 4, 2010 - Minutes

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City of Richmond Meeting Minutes

General Purposes Committee





Monday, October 4, 2010


Anderson Room

Richmond City Hall


Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie, Chair

Councillor Linda Barnes

Councillor Derek Dang

Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt (4:04 p.m.)

Councillor Greg Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Sue Halsey-Brandt

Councillor Ken Johnston

Councillor Bill McNulty

Councillor Harold Steves

Call to Order:

The Chair called the meeting to order at 4:00 p.m.








It was moved and seconded



That the minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee held on Monday, September 20, 2010, be adopted as circulated.












Banning the Sale of Dogs in Storefronts – Referral Report

(File Ref. No.:  12-8275-01/2010-Vol 01) (REDMS No. 2987900, 2731601)



Gary Batt, owner, Petland Surrey, and formerly a representative of the Pet Industry Advisory Council of Canada, expressing opposition to banning the sale of dogs in storefronts.  Mr. Batt was of the opinion that prohibiting the sale of puppies in strorefonts would not have an effect on the number of pets that end up in shelters.  He indicated that pet stores are one of the best sources of puppies available as they are a visible part of the community and must conduct the right business practices in order to stay in business.  He stated that the majority of sales of puppies are conducted over the internet, direct from breeders, newspaper ads, and side of the road sales.



When speaking of his own store, Mr. Batt stated that customers received a very good  choice of healthy puppies and that the store works with veterinarians and the new puppy owners.  He stated that it’s the breeders that need to be regulated not the pet stores.  In conclusion, Mr. Batt suggested that the City, the animal shelter, BC SPCA and the pet industry must work together with the provincial government regarding  licensing, regulation and inspections of breeding kennels.  Mr. Batt also spoke about the Animal Care Act which sets guidelines for breeding kennels and mentioned that his store has blacklisted a particular breeder in an effort to regulate the source of puppies. 



Councillor Evelina Halsey-Brandt entered the meeting at 4:04 p.m..



Discussion ensued, during which the Committee made queries related to:




what is being done in other provinces to regulate breeders, particularly Manitoba;




pet store policies related to warranty and the return of pets;




measures taken by pet stores to educate their customers prior to purchasing a pet; and




the appropriate age for spaying and neutering of pets.



Christie Lagally, Animal Welfare Advocacy Coalition, spoke in support of banning the sale of dogs in storefronts.  Ms. Lagally spoke about the implications for the City if it were to support a comprehensive oversight of pet stores rather than a ban on the sale of dogs in storefronts.  She spoke about the requirement of additional Animal Control Officers for regulatory oversight and the costs associated to the City.



In conclusion, Ms. Lagally expressed her opinion that although a ban on the sale of dogs in storefronts may seem drastic to some, it is not a drastic step compared to the results of inaction.  A detailed submission from Ms. Lagally is attached to and forms part of these Minutes as Schedule 1.  



Discussion ensued and it was stated that approximately 60% of the dogs in protection with the Richmond Animal Protection Society (RAPS) have originated from pet stores because pet stores often refuse to take back pets from their customers.



Debra Walker, resident of Vancouver, shared her experience as a customer of Pet Habitat in Richmond.  Ms. Walker spoke about how she went into the pet store without any intention of purchasing a dog and that once she got there she ended up “rescuing” two dogs.  She stated that she had been misled by the store about the pedigree, origin and age of the dogs, and that the store’s preferred veterinarian had misled her about the health of the dogs.  Ms. Walker continued to express concerns related to the ongoing health issues that both of her dogs have endured, including severe upper respiratory infections; kennel cough, and ear infections. 



Lorie Chortyk, General Manager, Community Relations BC SPCA, spoke in support of banning the sale of dogs in storefronts, advising that the BC SPCA rescues many dogs that were once purchased at pet stores.  She stated that dogs are often abandoned once the novelty has worn off or if the dog becomes sick.  She expressed her belief that pet stores do not check potential pet owners before selling animals, nor do they allow adequate time for customers to give consideration to the responsibilities associated with owning a pet.



Ms. Chortyk advised that a team of volunteers investigated pet stores and found that the stores were reluctant to provide contact information for breeders and brokers, and that the volunteers felt they were urged to purchase puppies immediately and without due consideration.  In conclusion she spoke in detail about some of the animals that have suffered from abuse and neglect, and urged the Committee to support the ban on selling puppies in storefronts.  Ms. Chortyk’s submission is attached and forms part of these minutes as Schedule 2.



During the ensuing discussion between Committee members and the delegation, it was noted that any puppy under the age of eight or nine weeks is far too young to be separated from its parents.  Comments were also made about working with newspapers and other advertising outlets including those online, to reduce and eventually ban classified listings for puppy mills. 



Janet Olsen, A Better Life Dog Rescue, spoke in support of banning the sale of dogs in storefronts, advising that many dogs that are rescued by her organization have been very badly abused, neglected or horrifically handled.  She stated that the dogs that are in the puppy mills are the moms and dads of the puppies being sold in pet stores and its those puppy mill dogs who are the real victims.  She continued to speak about dogs in puppy mills, and how they spend their entire lives in crates and are either nursing or pregnant at all times.  Ms. Olsen noted that those dogs are usually abandoned once they are no longer able to breed.  She advised that many of those dogs are fearful, aggressive, confused or unhealthy as a result of abuse and neglect.  Ms. Olsen also provided the details surrounding the neglect and abuse of several dogs that had been rescued by the organization. 



During the discussion between the delegation and Committee, it was noted that pet stores provided a good source of business for breeders.  It was also noted that people who have been advised that they should not have a pet or have had an application for adoption rejected by a rescue agency have the option to go to a pet store and easily purchase a puppy.



Cheri Simmons, former Store Manager, PJs Pets Richmond, spoke in opposition to banning the sale of dogs in storefronts, stating that a ban will not resolve the issues of unwanted pets, and that regulating the sale of puppies would be more effective.  Ms. Simmons provided comments and several suggestions related to four referrals that were outlined in the City staff report entitled ‘Banning the Sale of Dogs in Storefronts’.  A copy of Ms. Simmons’ submission forms part of these minutes and is attached as Schedule 3.



Kristin Bryson, Director, BC SPCA, spoke in support of banning the sale of dogs in storefronts.  Ms. Bryson spoke about the bylaws in place to ban the sales of certain animals in pet stores in other jurisdictions including various cities in the State of California, Florida, Texas, and New Mexico.  She also spoke about a ban that has been in place in Albuquerque, New Mexico for four years, and advised that the statistics have confirmed that animal adoptions have increased by 23% and animal euthanasia had decreased by 35% at the City shelters since the ban. 



Carol Reichert, Richmond Animal Protection Society, spoke in support of banning the sale of dogs in storefronts.  Ms. Riechert expressed her belief that the pet store industry is costing the City thousands of dollars and that approximately 30% of the work done by the shelter is related to animals from pet stores.  Ms. Reichert also provided copies of the RAPS “Dog Owner Surrender Application” forms which document a number of instances where people were surrendering puppies purchased in pet stores and the reasons provided for the surrender.  She spoke about the lack of provisions related to purchasing animals from pet stores.  Many pet owners do not fully comprehend the responsibilities related to owning pets and are not being educated on the matter. 



In conclusion, Ms. Reichert expressed her belief that banning the sale of puppies in pet storefronts would not result in a underground black market.  She believed that a ban in storefronts would put puppies out of the sight and minds of people who might otherwise purchase on impulse and emotion. 



Helen Savkovic, Richmond Animal Protection Society, spoke in support of banning the sale of dogs in storefronts, and stated that she was submitting a petition with 2086 signatures in support of the ban (on file City Clerk’s Office).  Ms. Savkovic then spoke about the Animal Pedigree Act of Canada, which defines pure breeds and mongrels and advised that she had receipts from pet stores in Richmond, for unregistered ‘mongrel’ dogs that had been charged high pure breed prices.  She advised that the Canadian Kennel Club (KCK) does not permit its member to sell puppies to pet stores and provided further information on the organization’s Code of Ethics.  Ms. Savkovic’s submission related to the CKC is attached as Schedule 4 and forms part of these minutes.



In conclusion, Ms. Savkovic read a letter from a customer of PJs Pets regarding their experience with the dog that had been purchased from the store who had never been walked and was poorly cared for while it was up for sale in the store.



Marcie Moriarty, General Manager of Cruelty Investigations for the BC SPCA, spoke in support of banning the sale of dogs in storefronts.  She noted that pet stores claim to get their puppies from reputable breeders, however, evidence shows otherwise.  She also spoke about the safety related to paediatric spaying and neutering, and noted that the selling of animals under eight weeks in pet stores is a problem.  In conclusion, Ms. Moriarty stated that stopping the sales of puppies in pet stores is the way of the future, and urged the City Council to listen to the public regarding banning the sale of dogs in storefronts.



Shim, a volunteer at a shelter, stated that the pet stores sell puppies as a mass product.  He indicated that puppies are sweet and innocent, and people buy puppies from pet stores as if they are shopping for clothes without giving any consideration.  The delegation also spoke about how the pet stores earn money from puppy sales, and how those same puppies end up at shelters such as RAPS and the tax payers end up paying for it in the end.  He concluded by stating that dogs and cats enrich family life and are not a mass product for shopping.



Anna, representing her family’s pet store in Richmond, advised that her family’s store only carries small breeds of puppies that they get from local breeders.  She indicated that the store has the health records and history pertaining to the parents of the puppies.  She also mentioned that they enjoy educating their customers, many of whom are ESL.  In conclusion, the delegation indicated that her family’s store was willing to cooperate with City Council. 



In answer to queries, the delegation advised that her family’s store will consider refunds for pets depending on the reason, and that they get their puppies primarily from local families. 



Allison Trinkess, Volunteer, Richmond Animal Protection Society, spoke about how easy it is for anyone whose application for adoption has been rejected by one of the shelters to go to a pet store and get a puppy.  She stated that shelters and rescue agencies advise potential pet owners of the most appropriate breeds and review living arrangements, whereas pet stores sell to anyone. 



As discussion ensued, Committee queried the feasibility of enacting a bylaw which would prohibit pet stores from purchasing animals from certain sources.  The General Manager, Law & Community Safety, Phyllis L. Carlyle advised that she would require additional time to provide the necessary information. 



At this point, in order to allow for the additional time requested by Ms. Carlyle, it was agreed that the agenda would be varied to deal with Item No. 2 at this time. 









Anderson Room – Lighting Control

(File Ref. No.:  06-2050-20-CH/Vol 01) (REDMS No. 2996355)



It was moved and seconded



That additional electric blinds be installed in the Anderson Room to improve lighting conditions for audio-visual presentations and to address the low angle of the sun in the fall months on the occupants of the room.







At this point, Ms. Carlyle had not yet returned to the meeting with the requested information.  At 5:46 p.m. Mayor Brodie announced that the General Purposes Committee meeting would be recessed until Ms. Carlyle’s return to the meeting and that in the meantime, the Finance Committee meeting would be called to order.






At 6:10 p.m. Mayor Brodie reconvened the General Purposes Committee meeting. 





As discussion and questions continued about Banning The Sale of Dogs in Storefronts, Ms. Carlyle advised that the City may regulate the sale of dogs in pet stores under the Business Regulation Bylaw No. 7538.  It was also noted that those who purposely breed animals with the intent to make a profit are required to have a business licence. 



It was moved and seconded







the staff report dated September 10, 2010, entitled “Banning the Sale of Dogs in Storefronts – Referral Report” from the Chief Licence Inspector be received for information;




staff prepare an amendment to the Business Regulation Bylaw No. 7538, Schedule B Section 8, removing the Domestic Dog as an exception to the Prohibited Species of Canidae effectively banning the sale of the dogs from storefronts in Richmond, effective April 30, 2011, and return that bylaw to the October 12th, 2010, Regular Council meeting for Council consideration of first, second and third reading; 




a letter be sent to the Premier and the appropriate minister and local MLAs emphasizing the need for provincial regulations regarding the sale of dogs in store fronts; and




a letter be sent to the other communities in  Metro Vancouver and the BC SPCA advising them of this resolution.



The question on the motion was not called as discussion continued and Committee members spoke in support of banning the sale of dogs in storefronts.  Comments were made that the ban may stop impulse buying and although it was not a complete solution, it was a step in the right direction.



The question on the motion was called and it was CARRIED.








It was moved and seconded



That the meeting adjourn (6:38 p.m.).








Certified a true and correct copy of the Minutes of the meeting of the General Purposes Committee of the Council of the City of Richmond held on Monday, October, 4, 2010.



Mayor Malcolm D. Brodie


Shanan Dhaliwal

Executive Assistant

City Clerk’s Office