Pet shop owner claims anti-puppy-mill bylaw won’t work

A pet shop owner in Toronto doesn’t like plans to regulate the sale of cats and dogs at his store.

Last May, Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker (Ward 38,) proposed a bylaw that would ban the sale of dogs or cats in all pet stores in Toronto, unless the sales are through a registered rescue group, such as the Toronto Humane Society.

John Emmanouil, operates Marta’s Pet and Aquaria, and he says the proposed ban is unfair.

“If I’m able to sell healthy animals, then I should have the option to do that,” he said.

“I have been selling kittens and been getting them from the people in the area… I take them in and the vet examines them, vaccinates them, de-worms and everything,” Emmanouil said.

He explained that the sources of the kittens are not registered, so they don’t qualify as a rescue group, “so these kittens would end up in the Humane Society cages or on the street because they (the people from the area) wouldn’t be able to get rid of them by handing them to me.”

Coun. De Baeremaeker said one of the purposes of the bylaw is to stop puppy mills from selling mass-produced puppies.

“We’re putting the legislation forward to stop the abuse of the animals and to protect consumers from being ripped off,” he said.

De Baeremaeker explained that the puppies from puppy mills grow up in such bad conditions that by the time they get to a pet store, they are extremely sick.

“A lot of them will have lung infections or stomach aliments or parasites,” he said. “You’ve bought a dog for $2,000 and a month later you realize when you go to the vet you have to spend $3,000 – 4,000 fixing his insides or the dog will die.”

Store owner Emmanouil doesn’t believe the ban will stop puppy mills.

“If (customers) cannot buy (dogs and cats) here in the city, they’re going to go to Mississauga or Woodbridge or they’re going to go online,” he said.