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Pet foundation moves event in protest of corporate decision

Kathy Powelson, executive director of Paws for Hope Animal Foundation. - NewsLeader file photo
Kathy Powelson, executive director of Paws for Hope Animal Foundation.
— image credit: NewsLeader file photo

A local animal welfare group has moved an event planned for a New Westminster store because it objects to a corporate decision to allow the sale of small animals in some outlets.

Paws for Hope Animal Foundation will hold its Vet Care Day at the Lookout Shelter, 740 Carnarvon St., on March 3. The Roxy's Fund event was originally scheduled to be held at Bosley's Pet Food Plus in Columbia Square, a place the foundation has used as a donation drop-off point for in the past.

The foundation, however, has pulled out because Bosley's has decided to allow the sale of some live animals at some of its locations. Although that won't be the case at the New Westminster location, the group's board of directors felt it couldn't "in any good conscience partner with any organization that sells live animals," said its executive director Kathy Powelson.

"The unfortunate thing for us is because Bosley's is a chain, as a corporation they've made this decision that conflicts with our organizational values," said Powelson. "It hurts because Bosley's in New Westminster and Vancouver have been very supportive … I have no idea how we're going to make that up. It's really a loss to us."

Powelson said the Bosley's franchise owner, Karima Jivraj has supported not only the foundation but the New Westminster Animal Shelter and other rescue operations as well.

"It's unfortunate because this is not a decision she made or had control of," said Powelson. "It was the hardest decision we've had to make so far."

In October, New Westminster adopted a bylaw banning the retail sale of cats and dogs to go along with its previous prohibition of the sale of rabbits. When contacted by the NewsLeader, Jivraj said she had no plans to sell animals before referring any further comment to Bosley's spokeswoman Kellie McCutcheon.

McCutcheon said Pet Valu, which owns Bosley's, made a decision a couple of years ago not to sell cats, dogs fish or birds, but it has agreed to allow one store to sell small animals, such as hamsters and guinea pigs.

Powelson, however, said just like there are puppy and kitten mills, which animal rights organizations oppose, there are also small-animal mills and shelters won't take those type of pets if an owner doesn't want them any more.

McCutcheon said the company will continue to work with local shelters and rescue operations to adopt out as many animals as possible from local, ethical and reputable places.

"Everyone is working toward the same cause," said McCutcheon.

On the weekend, Powelson was able to get the event moved to the Lookout Shelter. It will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and it will provide physical exams, vaccinations, flea and deworming treatments and nail trims to pets owned by "homeless, street involved, and low income pet guardians." The foundation established the Roxy's Fund in November 2011 to provide food and supplies such as bedding, collars and leashes to low income pet owners.

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