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Don’t buy animals from breeders in parking lots, BC SPCA warns amid investigation

A file photo shows Maine coon kittens sit in a basket. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis) A file photo shows Maine coon kittens sit in a basket. (AP Photo/Mindaugas Kulbis)
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A couple of cat breeders based in Surrey, B.C., are being investigated over allegations that they’re selling sick animals.

The BC SPCA issued a warning to the public on Tuesday after receiving 11 complaints from people who bought animals from the man and woman in the last year—prompting a probe by the organization.

In many cases, the animals began showing signs of illness within days of purchase, and some of the kittens died, according one senior BC SPCA officer.

Eileen Drever says there’s concern the individuals will continue selling sick animals amid the ongoing investigation.

“What we want to do is just alert the public and warn them not to purchase cats or kittens from the back of a vehicle in a parking lot,” she told CTV News, adding that no reputable breeder would sell animals this way.

Drever says the pair is selling kittens and cats of different breeds—including domestic short hair, Russian Blue and Maine Coons—for prices ranging from $250 to $1,200. The BC SPCA believes the individuals may have multiple accounts on Kijiji and Craigslist.

“During COVID, many people got into backyard breeding—all to make money,” said Drever. “Nobody is being held accountable for that, so unfortunately animals are being exploited once again and they’re suffering as a result.”

She says the BC SPCA plans to recommend charges which carry a maximum penalty of a $75,000 fine, up to two years in prison and a lifetime prohibition from owning animals.

Drever is urging people who may be looking to bring a new animal into their home to go through a reputable breeder, or explore adoption options through the SPCA or other rescue groups.

“It’s all too easy when you see a kitten or puppy to fall in love with them,” she told CTV News.

If you follow your heart down the path of so-called backyard breeders, however, Drever says you’re contributing to the problem.

“You’re continuing to line these individuals pockets. You’re continuing to keep them in business.”

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