Q. In September 2014, Nature Pet Centres announced that they wanted to be part of the solution and now advocate Adoption. Why?

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Long gone are the days when people simply wanted that cute little puppy in the window.
Animals are at the centre of our lives, and our mission has always been to match the consumer with the right companion that suited their lifestyle.

We strive at properly informing people of pets’ needs and requirements, and then helping to guide them into making the right choices. The times certainly have changed since we opened our first pet store in 1985. Technology has caught up to the pet business and the Internet has drastically changed peoples’ shopping habits by offering them the ability to buy just about anything online now… including pets! We pride ourselves with sharing our knowledge and passion for animals. We now feel that the best way to make a difference in innocent Dogs’ & Cats’ lives would be to launch this project and support local Adoption and Rescue agencies while continuing to advocate that people sterilise their pets to help combat the problem of over-population. We hope be serve as an example and we would be happy if other people chose to become part of the solution!“

Q. Are you working with any established adoption agencies?

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We launched our pilot project with Animatch in September 2014, and we have now also partnered up with numerous other rescues. Our goal was to use our 7 locations (Anjou, Pointe Claire, Boisbriand, Westmount, Laval, Ste Dorothée and Lasalle) to help us find 1000 homes for dogs and cats in 2015. For the first year, we’ve already surpassed our expectations and found homes for over 1500 dogs and cats in need. We encourage all rescues and shelters who wish to work with us to fill out our Rescue form, so we can partner together in the solution.

Q. You mean that what you were doing before was not the best solution?

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When we opened our first store 30 years ago it was with the aim of offering families a place to shop for healthy pets, along with quality products, and receive expert advice for the proper care of their new family addition which still remains a part of everyday life at Nature Pet Centres. We believe that this change is a win­win situation for everyone. It is an extremely positive development that is making a lot of people think. Nature has always been the leader in professionalism, cleanliness and we do not spare any expense to the health and wellbeing of the animal. Each of our individual stores have been designed to cater to the needs of the specific pet. We provide stainless steel cages that minimize any potential for disease in which each have their own ventilation system. Everything is fully tiled, we use non porous plastic and go as far as to use the same grade of paint used in hospitals to minimize any risk to our animals. It was, is, and will always remain this way because it is our standard.

Q. What has caused this change?

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For all the years that Nature has been in business we always dealt with breeders that were truly passionate about the specific breed. With everyone feeling the economic crunch… more and more breeders are selling their puppies direct, and cutting out the middle man which is the pet shops. In the past we would reserve and receive the entire litter from our respected breeder. Due to the fact that these puppies were being sold directly online to the public for a better profit, we found we would be lucky to receive any at all. We could not lower our standards simply to fill our empty cages!

The real issue here is that there are far, far too many cats and dogs that are being neglected, abandoned, and ultimately euthanized in many countries.

The numbers are mind-boggling… up to 500,000 per year in North America alone! There are Animal Rights activists that will say that pet shops are to blame for creating the demand. Lawmakers everywhere are taking the easy way out and agreeing with them by passing legislation to ban pet shops. The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) says that it’s only 2% that originate from Pet Shops. A large part of the problem would be the irresponsible owners that don’t spay and neuter their pets, let them roam free outdoors, and even worse; decide to breed their dogs and try to cash in on this themselves. Let the professional breeders breed their dogs.

Quebec animal rights laws are the weakest in all of North America which our company and 150 employees urge us to work together to find a solution and help change these laws. We are working with Johanne Tasse and Bertrand de Petigny from the caacQ, who are actively working to change and better the Quebec laws and regulations to help protect the innocent animals. Our government and Politicians must take the responsibility and enforce high penalties when a puppy mill operator is caught. Why not consider harsh punishment such as seizing the land and jail time for repeat offenders?

We have taken a bold new stand and wish to encourage those who wish to work together and join us in the solution.

Q. What about Cats?

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The best kept secret is that we already save hundreds of kittens each year. The majority are from people who don’t want to bring them to a local shelter for fear that they would be euthanized. On occasion we’ve had people who’ve found kittens outside that are just a few weeks old, and then bring them to us in the hopes that we’ll save them. Our caring staff will take these home to give them round-the-clock feedings with a syringe. We have our veterinarians immediately vaccinate them all and then have them sterilized once they weigh 1 kilogram. Kittens have been left in our front entrances in bags or baskets and at our back doors in boxes. We’ve even found a bag of half-frozen kittens in our garbage dumpster that we nurtured back to health! We take pride in the care that we have given and will continue to uphold our same standard.