You have likely heard about a debate in Winnipeg regarding proposed restrictions the types of common specialty pets (aka exotic animals) available to their citizens. Since the summer we have been working with local pet stores in the city to create an effective campaign to stop this regressive proposed bylaw. The public facing campaign included media interviews, emails to pet owners and council, social media ads, and flyers at checkout counters in stores. We used everything from modern tech to grass roots engagement.
Not only were pet families and businesses in Canada watching this unfold, the eyes of the world were on Winnipeg as well. We were contacted by organizations from around the globe with offers of support and expressions of concern. As members and colleagues looked on, we campaigned to preserve the licensed/traceable network of animals available in the city, prevent underground sales, protect animal health and defend the rights of pet owners who choose to have a specialty pet.
Winnipeg became a flash point this year in the debate around whether specialty pets (aka exotic animals) should be allowed as pets. Governing legislation, breeding and care practices were called into question. While PIJAC Canada is in full support of ongoing research and review in these areas we also realized that it was our job to offer clarity with respect to how this sector operates.
This week we are happy to report that the city has granted an extension to the review process of their Responsible Pet Ownership bylaw and PIJAC Canada has been asked to participate in future work on this issue. We will be around the table with others who’s perspectives will be different than ours, and we welcome that opportunity. It is our belief that as much as we can educate this is also an opportunity for us to learn and we are grateful to the City of Winnipeg for the chance.
In the spirit of providing some much-needed clarity, today we are excited to share with you Canada Loves Specialty Pets. This white paper was written to speak to public officials, the media, and the public. It explains, what a specialty pet is, the growth of specialty pets in homes, how specialty pets are regulated in Canada, and the important role they play in pet families. With the help of CanHerp, PIJAC Canada LIVE committee members, and the volunteers who contributed to the development of this document, Canada Loves Specialty Pets has come to life. We hope you find the books to be a useful conversation started with your clients and fellow specialty pet lovers. As with all PIJAC Canada publications, these are living documents, meant to be updated and reviewed so we welcome your feedback. Thank you for your ongoing support of our advocacy efforts.