At the last council meeting, our elected representatives heard a request from city residents that that we need to follow the lead of about a dozen Canadian cities who have already enacted controls on the selling of pets from stores, in order to combat puppy mills and control the overpopulation of stray cats.
This is a contentious issue pitting animal caregivers against the business interests of some pet stores and emotions can run high. What will win out? The profit motive of some pet store owners or the desire for animal advocates to see real action for the betterment of animal welfare?
City council did the smart thing in deferring a decision until the February 25 subcommittee meeting has more information and a chance to hear from citizens.
More facts and consultation are needed, particularly about the role of the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals which many councillors seemed fuzzy about.
Whereas some cities run the animal control function directly, Stratford contracts it out to the provincial OSPCA, who work out of the Stratford-Perth Humane Society. The OSPCA has had a rocky road and has not always succeeded in protecting animals. Puppy and kitten mills still abound inside and outside of Ontario.
Kudos to council for doing the right thing and I hope other city residents will contact their city councillors to let them know how they feel about the issue.