More on the pet store challenge

The pet stores that are challenging part of the city’s animal bylaw have some weak arguments. The lawyer cited suggests it’s better for families to adopt baby animals, and I see no reason that should be true. Puppies in particular need to be trained with consistency, and little kids are not well suited to that task. Both puppies and kittens may be cute as hell, but that’s not an argument: they’re also both fragile and unruly. There are also a lot more adult animals that need homes, but many people – often the most inexperienced pet owners – are fixated on wanting a baby animal only, forgetting that the pet will be tiny and cute for only few months, and then be around for years as a grown animal.

If anything, the argument that only allowing shelter animals in pet stores excludes baby animals is turned on its head. The SPCA can always adopt out kittens, it’s adult cats that are harder to home. When I was writing for Openfile, I spent an afternoon at the SPCA, and saw a woman and her daughter come in looking for a kitten to adopt. It wasn’t the season and they had very few kittens. The woman was so inexperienced with cats that she was asking the attendant “how big will these kittens get?” and I had to hold myself back from gesturing to the hundreds of cages along the walls, each holding a patient cat, and observing that adult cats are all roughly the same size. There are no domestic feline versions of the Great Dane or Pyrenees.

Another argument is that by excluding stores from the pet trade, it allows puppy mills to flourish. But no statistics are cited here. The story somewhat falls down in talking to some woman who goes on about getting purebred cats from a shelter. Purebred cats are a red herring. Nobody needs a purebred cat and making them part of the story distracts from the main point. Allowing pet stores to sell supposedly purebred animals again would be bound to encourage sub-show-quality breeding of inbred sad animals, and I’m glad the city ruled that trade out. Now Quebec simply has to investigate puppy mills and find a way to end that trade too.