Pets Are Not Products


Our Pets Are Not Products campaign aims to bring awareness to the inhumane business practice of animal breeding mills and backyard breeders. Many people are not aware that animals purchased in pets stores and online are not coming from reputable sources and are often bred in deplorable conditions. Animals forced to breed often spend their lives in cramped stacked wire cages, where they are forced to eat amongst their, and other animal’s urine and feces. They can spend their entire lives not having the medical needs attended to, and when they are no longer able to breed they are killed.

Because of these horrible conditions, animals sold from these operations are often sick and have behaviour issues. Unsuspecting individuals fall in love with the cute puppy in the window and may end up with heartache and a very expensive veterinary bill.

Since 2011, Paws for Hope have been lobbying municipal governments to ban the retail sale of cats, dogs and rabbits and many are listening! In BC, the following cities have passed bylaws to prohibit the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits in retail outlets unless from a rescue organization or shelter. Best Friends Society has list of jurisdictions across Canada and the US that have similar bans:

  • • Richmond (dog and rabbits only)
  • • New Westminster
  • • Vancouver
  • • Delta
  • • Surrey
  • Pets Are Not Products Burnaby (dogs and cats)
  • • Victoria

Advocate in your community

Do you want to see your community ban the retail sale of animals? Here is an easy check list of things you can do mobilize your community and city council.

  • • Start an online petition and make creating an online petition very easy. Hints on how to make your petition have impact:
    • – Be clear about your objective. Tell the City of XYZ that you support a ban on the retail sale of cats, dogs and rabbits.
    • – Write a brief, but compelling letter that will be sent to your city council with each online signature : Download letter template
  • • Share on all your social media sites.
  • • Connect with local rescue organizations and shelters to see if they can help promote your petition.
  • • Let us know and we will support you as much as we can!
  • • Contact city council, download, customize and submit our information package and request a meeting and/or opportunity to speak before council. Package includes:
    • – Detailed information letter
    • – Veterinarian letter
    • – Draft bylaws

Pets Are Not Products

Online sales

As the number of pet stores that sell cats, dogs and rabbits decrease, there seems to be increases in the online sales. Just as a reputable breeder would not sell their animals through a pet store, they would also not do so online and in newspapers. Sites such as Kijijji and those that are selling multiple breeds and/or various mixed breeds are not reputable sources and likely are not putting the animal’s health before profit. No Puppy Mills Canada is a great resource for what to look for in a reputable breeder.

Small Animals

While our lobbying efforts have focused on banning the retail sale of cats, dogs and rabbits, we wish for a ban on the sale of all animals. Small animals, such as hamsters, gerbils and guinea pigs are bred and transported in horrific conditions and are dumped at alarming rates. Local shelters have limited capacity for small animals, and organizations such as Small Animal Rescue Society of BC bear the responsibility of caring for and rehoming discarded small animals.


Download the Pets Are Not Products Toolkit.

You’ll find letters, petitions, printable fliers, and postcards to help you
lead your own campaign against the retail sale of animals in BC.
Thank you for giving time to our furry friends.

Your advocacy makes change happen!