Actions Speak Louder (Calgary)

The Soapbox is starting to gather a thin layer of dust since I’ve been so neglectful.

But my time has gone to a good cause – I promise.

I am very excited to announce the official launch of the Actions Speak Louder (Calgary) (ASLC) campaign this weekend!

If you’re in the area, come on down to the multi-rescue adopt-a-thon taking place at BowDog Canine Specialists (6909 Farrell Road SE) between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm Saturday and Sunday to learn what ASLC is all about, sign the petition, and buy some merchandise.

Actions Speak Louder (Calgary) can also be found on Facebook and followed on Twitter @ASL_Calgary.

I’m very optimistic about the potential here for some serious change and improvement for Calgary’s pets.  A small amount of buzz has already been generated; ASLC was mentioned in a blurb in today’s Metro News – Calgary (page 6), and we’ve got over 100 fans after less than a full day on Facebook.  I’m confident this is an issue Calgarians will enthusiastically get behind.

And I am honoured to be involved with such a great group of intelligent, creative, and kind-hearted people behind the cause.  While my personal support for the goal itself dates way back, this is the first time I have actually been directly involved in an official, organized campaign like this, and I’ve been learning something new every day.  It’s been an insanely busy week getting everything ready for the weekend, but it’s easy to do when you know it’s all in the name of a good cause and everyone has been working really hard.

Once the website goes live (www.actionsspeakloudercalgary.ca), it will be ASLC headquarters for news, information, and updates.

In the meantime, here’s a bit about ASLC:

Actions Speak Louder (Calgary) is a campaign established by like-minded Calgary and area citizens concerned with animal welfare and who are interested in seeing a municipal bylaw introduced in the City of Calgary that will ban the sale of companion animals in pet stores.

As you may know, Richmond, B.C. recently became the first Canadian city to agree to ban the sale of dogs and puppies in pet stores, with their bylaw taking effect on April 30, 2011. Talks of similar bans are being proposed in Toronto, St. John’s, Winnipeg, and Langley, B.C., and several cities in the United States already have similar bans in place, including Albuquerque, New Mexico, South Lake Tahoe, California, West Hollywood, California, Austin, Texas, and (as of February 15, 2011) Lake Worth, Florida.

Preventing the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores does three things:

1. It will eliminate a medium through which puppy mills sell their dogs and “kitten factories” sell their kittens;

2. It will help to prevent the impulse purchase of pets; and

3. It will allow rescue organizations and reputable breeders to fill the niche. Shelter adoptions will increase, and as a result euthanasia will decrease. Albuquerque, New Mexico, for example, has noticed a shelter adoption increase of 23% and euthanasia decrease of 35% since enacting their ban in 2006.

The purpose of the Actions Speak Louder (Calgary) campaign will be to gather widespread public awareness and support for a retail pet sale ban in Calgary, through a petition and advertising, and ultimately bring the issue before City Council for consideration. ASLC welcomes support and sponsorship from corporations and individuals.

Actions Speak Louder (Calgary) is aware and advises that opposition to the campaign can be expected from the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council of Canada (PIJAC) and some affiliated pet retailers. However, the concerns that will be voiced are anticipated and have already been considered, and ASLC stands firm beside its goal as the best option available to ensure the well being of Calgary’s pet population.

Actions Speak Louder (Calgary) is readily aware that, no, a retail pet sale ban like the proposed will not completely solve the problem of puppy mills and unwanted pets; internet pet sales are also a significant concern for those interested in responsible pet ownership. That is why, after the campaign for a retail pet sale ban is complete and successful, ASLC will then move on to a second phase of animal advocacy, drawing attention to and educating the public about the problem of online and underground pet sales.

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About ThatJenK
Writing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 90% pictures of my dogs; 10% miscellaneous opinions nobody asked for.

10 Responses to Actions Speak Louder (Calgary)

  1. Kristine says:

    This sounds so fantastic, good for you! I wish I could be there. I love that the people of Calgary have come so far in their activism when it comes to animal welfare. I hope this event is a huge success!

  2. What a fantastic way to be spending your time! The website header is beautiful and I wish you much luck for a great event!

    Don’t worry about the blog, we’ll be here when you get back. 🙂

  3. Jason says:

    Why aren’t you addressing online (completely unregulated) puppy sales…or better yet, unregulated animal breeders? Maybe you should be writing and petitioning about responsible pet ownership instead…you know, to deal with people who don’t understand that a pet is a life-time commitment. Animals don’t end up in a shelter because of a pet store anymore than a drunk driver ends up killing someone because of a vehicle retailer.

    According to Kijiji, Calgary has the third highest level of breeding and posting of animal ads on the Internet after Toronto and Montreal. I’m sure that you caught the recent Calgary Herald article about animal abuse in the online market? http://www.windsorstar.com/life/Internet+sales+bite+back/4294971/story.html This the emerging problem in 2011.

    I found this response by Rob Church a Petland owner in Calgary: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/smart-shift/fp/Puppy+love/4318895/story.html
    I think the most important part of this message, the point you seem to be missing, that “[t]he pet industry supports provincial legislation that licences and regulates breeders, pet stores and animal shelters, similar to the proactive animal care acts recently implemented in Manitoba and New Brunswick”. Why are you making them out to be the bad guys?

    I have purchased both of my dogs from pet stores here and when I decide to get another in the future, I would like the opportunity to bond with a pet of my choice based on its personality, not just a breed, not a pound dog which may or may not have behavioural issues, and/or try and pilfer through online breeders who may or may not be ethical in their animal care methods. Have you even looked on Kijiji? Pet stores are not your problem…Pet stores have to be accountable for what they do, it’s their sole business.

    You’re missing the bigger picture.

    –Jason.

    • thatjenk says:

      Thank you for your comments, Jason. I welcome you to come visit us this weekend for more information and an in-person conversation about exactly what ASLC is all about.

      As you will note from my final paragraph above, we are indeed very concerned with online pet sales and aim to tackle that issue as well. And you are correct, public education is often a key sticking point when it comes to many animal welfare concerns.

      Once our website goes live (by tomorrow), I invite you to read the full platform of what ASCL is offering. Proposed legislation like that found in Albuquerque, NM, will also address the issues of unregulated backyard breeders, in addition to retail pet sales. You will also be able to read why a municipal solution is a better option than the provincial one routinely suggested by the adversaries of such a ban (for now and in the long term). We will have information on that this weekend, as well.

      If and when ASLC’s goals are achieved, I assure you that you will still be able to find the kind of pet you want in the future, by going to rescues and also reputable breeders. You can judge based on personality just as well – if not much better – through these mediums as you say you can presently at a pet store. Rescues and reputable breeders will always help match you with the best dog for your personality and lifestyle.

      And finally, anecdotally, I can say I have encountered just as many pet store dogs with “behaviour issues” as I have rescue dogs. That rescue dogs adopted from a shelter are somehow “damaged goods” is an unfortunately prevalent myth that I would prefer to see disappear.

      Thank you again for your comments and consideration of our cause. Please do not hesitate to contact me further with any questions or concerns you may have.

      Best,

      Jen K.

    • Anonymous says:

      I both agree and disagree with you. The petstores need to be tackled first. Kijiji comes after. You have no idea how many baby animals Petland stores purchase. This bylaw will go after petstores first… the disreputable backyard breeders on Kijiji come later.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh, and… Robert Church is not trustworthy. He’s paid to say those things, obviously. It’s all about profits and sales. That’s what retail is about. For him, it’s like running a Pet Wal-Mart. Seriously.

  4. All the best and good luck! It would be wonderful if everyone was ethical and pet shop owners refused to buy from puppy mills… but I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. Keep us abreast of your progress, and maybe try to get a national coalition off the ground. You can easily find local rescue organizations on Petfinder.

    Have an awesomely successful weekend!

  5. Helen Savkovic says:

    Well done!!! I wish you much success with this endeavor. Fewer animals, and eventually none, suffering in puppy and kitten mills is a worthy cause. One day people will wonder at how this was allowed to exist for so long.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Awesome. I totally support this! If the bylaw is approved, it will save hundreds of rescue animals’ lives from euthanasia. As we can see, there are many small businesses making a decent living off of selling just pet accessories and products. Pet stores do not need to have an inventory of animals at all (only rescue pets if they choose to do this). To the person above to said, “Why don’t you go after disreputable breeders first?”… go after them later. Let’s get this bylaw passed first.

  7. Patricia says:

    Hi, can you please get in touch with me? I am one of the admins for The Patrick Movement for Quebec on fb and I already have places that will take a petition to ban sales of animals from pet stores. Would/need help to get it started! Thanks

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