Corp Comm Connects

Newmarket looks at banning pet shops using 'cruelty based' puppy mills

'Use your voice for animals': Online survey runs until Feb. 9
Jan. 30, 2020
Lisa Queen

Of Rita Goverde’s three rescue dogs, Charlie is a puppy mill survivor.

In addition to being used as a breeding dog for nine years, the six-pound Maltese suffered two broken legs, had only eight of his 28 teeth left and was so terrified when she got him that it “broke our hearts.”

As Newmarket looks to update its animal control bylaw and contemplates bringing in a pet store licensing system that would ban shops from selling puppy mill pets, Goverde wants residents to demand the town bring in rules to protect vulnerable animals.

“Use your voice for animals. I’m asking them to use their voice because animals can’t. We need to speak out on their behalf and we need to strongly send a message,” she said.

Newmarket is “really behind the times” in introducing an enforceable bylaw that forces pet stores to get their animals from reputable rescue organizations, Goverde said.

She stressed she doesn’t want to put pet stores out of business but does want a bylaw with teeth that both outlaws them getting animals from puppy mills and requires them to treat their pets humanely.

“We want these pet stores to join us in the new millennium. Pet stores don’t need to be getting their livestock from large-scale breeding facilities, which are cruelty based,” she said.

Goverde is an Aurora resident but is focused on Newmarket’s proposed policies because Aurora doesn’t have pet shops that sell animals while Newmarket does.

She also wants the town to bring in rules requiring pet owners to provide proper shelter, food and water and tethering methods so, for example, dogs are not kept on short, heavy chains.

The town is looking to update its current animal control bylaws to align with its municipal partners, Aurora and Georgina, and to reflect the province’s new role in protecting animals, Lisa Lyons, director of legislative services, said in a statement.

The town is also considering introducing a retail pet licence focused on ensuring that stores ethically source animals for adoption and provide humane treatment and adequate living conditions for the animals while in their care, she said.

“Overall, the goal of our bylaw is to set standards of adequate care for animals,” Lyons said.

“The animal care and control regulation review is important to the town because it’s important to our residents.”

The town held a public information meeting Jan. 23 and is asking residents to fill out an online survey at by Feb. 9.