A local pet boutique owner is hoping today’s municipal election will usher in a new council that will ban the sale of animals from pet stores in Calgary.
The only pet store remaining in the city that sells dogs is The Top Dog Store, which has been the target of animal groups urging them to stop the practice.
Doodle Dogs co-owner Meghan Huchkowsky started a petition she wants to present to the newly-elected city council. She says it’s time Calgary bans the sale of pets in stores.
“This has been ongoing for a long time, and there’s only one store left in Calgary that is selling puppies,” she says, adding it’s a practice that is banned in many major cities across Canada.
The petition has already garnered almost 17,000 signatures since it launched last month.
A dying practice
Calgary is the only city in Alberta that still allows the sale of pets in stores, while major cities such as Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal have already banned the controversial practice.
“In 2018, the second last store in the province located in West Edmonton Mall had 500 animals seized for neglect,” Huchkowsky says.
Those who protest the sale of dogs at pet stores are worried the animals are coming from unethical puppy mills, a claim The Top Dog Store owner Robert Church has denied in the past.
While The Top Dog Store says all of their puppies are from veterinary inspected and approved breeders, the store is still often the target of protestors outside.
Huchkowsky says she isn’t trying to target that business in particular, but as the only store in Calgary that sells pets still, it’s unavoidable.
She points to Petland, which started phasing out the selling of animals in its stores a decade ago, though it continued its Adopt-a-Pet program where people can adopt via the store from local pet rescues.
Near and dear to her heart
It’s an issue that’s close to Huchkowsky’s heart since she bought her seven-year-old Shih Tzu, Weechee. She says it feels like she “saved” her.
“The reason I started it is because I have my own puppy who’s from a puppy mill. She came with a laundry list of issues, she had five surgeries, and before she could even get spayed she had three surgeries,” she explains, adding she now has a clean bill of health.
“It inspires me all the time to make sure people do their due diligence.”
She timed her petition for the election because she’s hopeful that a new mayor and at least nine new faces on city council will bring what she calls much-needed change to the industry.
“My hope is that somebody who joins council takes an active interest in this, or maybe it’s close to their hearts. Hopefully, it brings awareness and the petition shows them that this is impactful for a lot of people.”
Huchkowsky hopes to reach 25,000 signatures before presenting it to the newly elected city council. You can view and sign the petition here.
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