Pop-up puppy sellers are a “serious” concern of animal welfare advocates in Vancouver

“He told me, ‘We’re selling our fully trained puppies,’ and I laughed, thinking it was a joke because it couldn’t be. After a minute’s silence, I left feeling uncomfortable.” – Catherine Casey

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Animal advocates are urging British Columbians not to “buy” puppies from unknown breeders after crowds and complaints following sidewalk sales outside a Vancouver SkyTrain station.

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While the source of the dogs has not been confirmed, both the city and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals say little can be done to prevent vendors from appearing on sidewalks across the province because the sale of animals is not prohibited.

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Catherine Casey was ecstatic when she spotted several Bernese Mountain puppies outside her Granville Street office on August 16, but that joy turned to fear after the dogs’ owner said she could buy them.

“He said to me, ‘We’re selling our fully trained puppies,’ and I laughed, thinking it was a joke, because it’s impossible. After a minute of silence, I felt uneasy.”

Over the next two weeks, Casey said, he witnessed crowds that continued to gather outside the Vancouver City Center station. Many kissed over the cubs.

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Fearing the animals could be produced in a puppy mill, she took to Twitter on Monday to call on the city of Vancouver to stop the sale.

“Who legally sells puppies on the street corner?” Casey questioned.

Although the city says selling dogs on municipal property is illegal, Postmedia said Thursday that TransLink is responsible for managing areas outside transit stations. “In this case, the alleged illegal sale occurred on InTransit BC property outside the city’s jurisdiction,” he said in an email.

Charter officers visited the SkyTrain station Tuesday morning, the city posted on Twitter. “However, the persons in question were not there.”

The sale is illegal unless a business license is obtained at the TransLink property, spokeswoman Tina Lovegreen confirmed. Transit Police and SkyTrain attendants can ask anyone blocking a station entrance to move, he said. “Transit Police will ask them to leave the property and if they refuse, they may be fined ($115).”

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The city’s reluctance to get under the puppy pop-up was a source of frustration for Casey and animal lawyer Rebekah Breder.

“What makes me angry is that the city is passing money to TransLink even though it has the authority to investigate anything that’s done on city property.”

“No reputable breeder or animal rescue organization would sell a puppy to a stranger on the street,” Breder said. “This is a serious matter concern for public safety and animal welfare.”

In 2017, the city banned the sale of animals, including dogs, in pet stores to prevent the often inhumane living conditions of animals in commercial breeding facilities.

Stores are only allowed to sell puppies for adoption through recognized rescue societies or shelter organizations, such as the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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The SPCA maintains strict adoption protocols, including a mandatory application and vetting process and training sessions, to ensure the animal’s welfare.

Not all organizations are so humane, Breder said.

“I hope the people of Vancouver will not be fooled by the word ‘salvage’ used by some sellers. BC pet adoption is so loosely regulated that puppy mills are still a problem.

says Marcie Moriarty, SPCA’s chief prevention and enforcement officer Based on the information received by the call center The SkyTrain vendors did not violate the state’s Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

“There must be claims that animals meet the definition of hardship—a sickly-looking puppy or an animal without physical access to water.”

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Moriarty encourages Vancouver residents interested in adopting a puppy to research responsible breeders first.

While a reputable breeder will ask questions about the interested adopter’s lifestyle and draft a contract listing their obligations, for-profit breeders will be reluctant to discuss the downsides of the dog’s breed or provide detailed information about the dog’s veterinary history, parents, or upbringing. According to the SPCA.

“Because the adoption industry is unregulated, more people need to do their own due diligence to avoid supporting puppy mills,” Moriarty said.

sgrochowski@postmedia.com

twitter.com/sarahgrochowski

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