Retailers turning to private rescue organizations
In recent years many pet stores in Calgary phased out selling puppies and kittens. Instead they fill their enclosures with rescued animals available for adoption.
In 2011, Pisces Pet Emporium became a remote adoption centre for the Calgary Humane Society, providing a place for rescued cats to be adopted.
But on Dec. 8, 2012, the Humane Society decided to pull their animals out of stores that also sell animals that are bred and sold for profit. The decision was based on the Humane Society's policy against "sourced" animals, and their overall adoption philosophy.
The decision came as a surprise to Pisces' livestock manager Kelsey Hopper, who says that their relationship with the Humane Society was, and continues to be, very positive.
"They really liked us. They said we were one of their best adoption centres, but it was just an overall decision. We support them and we understand," Hopper says.
Christy Thompson, a spokesperson for the Calgary Humane Society, said in an e-mail that the Humane Society continues to encourage the public to consider adoption, whether that be through their shelter, other rescue organizations, or pet stores that provide enclosures for rescued animals.
Although the Humane Society has removed their animals from pet stores due to the conflict of interest, several private rescue organizations are continuing to supply pet stores with animals in need of adoption.
Oops-a-Dazy rescue foundation currently has rescued cats living in adoption centres in PetSmart locations throughout Calgary.
Volunteer Christine Campbell says that in the last year they were able to adopt out over 600 animals, and the extra exposure from PetSmart was a large contributor.
"PetSmart helped us increase our exposure a lot. It's been phenomenal. We're so thankful for the support," Campbell said.
Although Oops-a-Dazy doesn't plan to pull their animals from PetSmarts, Campbell says that they do wish that more of the stores' animals were rescued. She says they continue to discuss options with the store.
But for now, Campbell says that Oops-a-Dazy will keep fighting pet overpopulation by filling the enclosures with rescued animals in need of a home.
As for Pisces Pet Emporium, Hopper says they are trying to find a private organization to work with so that they too can continue to help homeless animals.
She says, "Our philosophy is 'be part of the solution, not the problem'."
- By ROXANNE BLACKWELL