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July 15, 2009

First Puppy-Friendly Pledge Signed in Canada

Humane Society International/Canada

Humane Society International/Canada is proud to announce that Your Pet Pals in Victoria, BC has become the first Canadian store to sign our Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge [PDF]. By signing this pledge, Your Pet Pals has made official their ethical decision to sell pet supplies only, and is a prime example of a business that puts the wellbeing of animals first.

Here is what Lori Lelonde, the owner, had to say:

Animals have always been a passion of mine. I have four dogs and five cats, all of whom are rescues. For years, I worked two jobs to support these animals and make sure that they had vet care and the very best food. I made the commitment to my pets that once they came to live with me, I would give them the best of everything and they would live out their lives in as happy and healthy a fashion as possible.

One of my jobs was at an amazing pet supply store called “Your Pet Pals.” This store carries only the best foods and a full range of healthy supplements and homeopathic remedies. As a certified herbalist, it was a joy for me to work there, because a holistic approach is favored to help keep our furry, four-legged companions fit. Eventually, I was given the opportunity to purchase this wonderful business.

Given the focus of the store on holistic health, we see all kinds of issues: dental, digestive, allergies, joint, muscular, deformities and so on. Sadly, it seems like we have been hearing more such complaints recently. The maladies may be different, but when I ask the question, “Where did you get the dog?” the answers are all too familiar: “I got the dog at a pet store” or “through a classified ad in the newspaper” or “I found him on the Internet.” These are all the places I advise people not to buy from, because chances are they can be traced to backyard breeders or puppy mills.

In an ideal world, all dogs and cats would be spay or neutered. Breeders would have to have a license, pay a fee and be subject to a yearly inspection. There is no way you can tell me that all these puppies and kittens are going to find a forever home. Impossible. My personal dream is to create an animal register that would ensure that, if an elderly person had to give up their pet, the store could help facilitate foster care and eventual placement into a new home. I know this will be a major undertaking, but I believe that through hard work and doing things for the right reason with right intentions, anything is possible.

Humane Society International/Canada congratulates Lori Lelonde and Your Pet Pals for the compassionate decision to sign our Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge. We hope that many more businesses in Canada will follow this example.

HSI Canada encourages visiting a local animal shelter or breed rescue group when looking to add a pet to the family. For people who want to purchase a puppy from a breeder, we offer a checklist that can be used to identify reputable breeders.

Update: On July 20, 2009, Island Pet Source, also located in Victoria, became the second Canadian store to sign our pledge! Said the owner, Christina Cooper: For more than 10 years, I have worked in the pet industry and never once fathomed aiding or encouraging puppy mills or backyard breeders. I believe that puppy mills are a horrific treatment and distribution of our furry friends. This is why I jumped at the opportunity to sign this pledge and let the people know that Island Pet Source will NEVER participate in the selling of dogs. Hopefully, our signing is an additional step toward educating the public and putting an end to this terrible situation.

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