Decision Maker

Matthew McKenzie

  • Kijiji General Manager

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Petitioning Matthew McKenzie

Kijiji Canada: Stop puppy mills and prohibit the sale of household pets

Cliquez ici pour la version française This petition simply wants Kijiji Canada to remove the sale of animals and only promote adoption from registered animal rescue groups and shelters, and the re-homing of family pets (for a small adoption fee). The idea of a puppy mill is horrifying to animal lovers everywhere. Cruel, cramped, unsanitary breeding facilities that force mothers to produce puppies until they can't anymore. Many big Canadian pet stores like PetSmart, Petland and PJ’s Pets have taken a stand against mills by stopping pet sales and only promoting adoptions. Toronto, Richmond, Mississauga and more Canadian cities have even banned the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores. This is great, as it cuts off a major source of income for puppy mills who used to sell their puppies and kittens in pet stores, and at the same time boosts animal adoptions in shelters and rescue groups and reduces euthanasia of healthy and friendly animals across Canada. But now, there's a much bigger problem: puppy mills and disreputable breeders can sell directly to unsuspecting animal lovers through online classified sites -- like Kijiji.ca. Kijiji is the most popular classifieds website in Canada, so this petition asks them to simply stop allowing the sale of household pets of any kind including dogs, cats, primates, cage birds, rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and fishes. After public pressure a few years ago, Craigslist stopped allowing the sale of household pets.  Kijiji could easily adopt a policy like this.I doubt sites like Kijiji want to support puppy mills, and backyard breeders, but by allowing pet sales to happen on their sites they are providing a marketplace where these disreputable breeders can profit.  They clearly know about the problem too, because they have guidelines that warn buyers about mills. The problem is it's really easy for unethical breeders to disguise themselves online. There is no way Kijiji would be able to catch all the bad posts.  If thousands of us send messages to them, I'm sure they'll do the right thing.According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, puppy mills dogs tend to have more psychological and behavioral problems. They lack veterinary care and socialization, and often have or will develop genetic defects, health, or behavior problems due to poor breeding practices, inbreeding, and the deplorable conditions into which these puppies were born. No one wants this - Kijiji included. Craigslist's Policy Kijiji's Pets Code of Conduct Humane Society International Canada' Puppy Mills fact sheet Penn Vet study on pet stores puppies Canadian Federation of Humane Societies’ Shelter animal statistics Since the ban in Albuquerque, New Mexico, came into effect in 2007, by 2009 there was a shelter adoption increase of 23% and euthanasia decrease of 35% since enacting their ban in 2006. Shelter intakes decreased 6%

Barbara Lapointe
277,657 supporters
Kijiji Canada: Stop puppy mills and prohibit the sale of household pets

Dear Barbara, Thank you for getting in touch. I want you to know that I did read through your Change.org petition (along with the comments), and when I read the part where you say to me “At least I expected you would write,” I completely agreed: you and your supporters deserve a response. Let me start by saying that I truly respect your dedication to animal welfare, and the same goes for those who have signed your petition. I really do admire people who are passionate about important issues to the point where they take action and try and bring about positive change. Even if I may disagree with the specific thrust of someone’s argument, I have great respect for anyone who doesn’t just sit around and complain about things, but who actually tries to do something positive. I applaud you and your supporters for that. That said, I suspect you probably won’t be entirely happy with the overall substance of my response. But as I said, I believe you deserve one - just as I believe I deserve the chance to explain why Kijiji takes the approach we do towards pets for sale listings on our site. At Kijiji, our goal is simple: to bring together pets with people who want to give them loving homes. We have been able to do that on countless occasions. I can’t tell you how often I hear first-hand, real life stories from people who have found their beloved animal companions on Kijiji, and how much joy has come into their lives as a result. For example, my sister-in-law recently found her dog on Kijiji, and it brings a smile to my face to see how much joy Max brings to her and her four children. Some of these new pets come from families who find themselves with a litter of puppies or kittens from their own pet dogs or cats. Others are from responsible breeders who maintain high standards of care for their animals, and ensure that their offspring are healthy, properly weaned and well cared for prior to going to their new forever homes. Kijiji is adamantly opposed to puppy mills or any irresponsible breeding operations. We’re all about bringing happy, healthy pets together with loving people who want to make them part of their family. That’s why we work closely with respected animal welfare organizations across the country, to ensure that our approach accomplishes that goal, while keeping out unscrupulous, puppy mill type breeders. Any ads posted to Kijiji that reference uncontrolled breeding, aggressive or dominant dogs (including pit bulls), or those with more than three different breeds mentioned in the listing are automatically deleted by our systems, period. We take this really seriously. We have both automated technology in place (i.e. blocking high-risk IPs) plus dedicated support staff who personally review any questionable ad flagged to us by anyone visiting our site. We maintain close relationships with law enforcement agencies across the country and we cooperate with them in the event that a transaction, in any category on Kijiji, results in problems. Your petition notes that you have many animal welfare organizations and other stakeholders who are supportive of your call for us to end pet sales. I respect that. I don't want to get into a game of “dueling supporters,” as we have many similar organizations who endorse our view on these issues, but let me just cite this example from the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: “We have always been pleased with what Kijiji does to promote responsible pet purchasing and pet safety. Their initiatives help make pet owners selling their animals accountable for the health and safety of the pets and help keep them safe from cruelty.” - OSPCA Chief Inspector Connie Mallory Quite simply, we don’t want to create a vacuum (by ending for-sale pet ads) which then drives our good buyers and sellers to do business in another online environment where the bad guys have an easy time of plying their trade and perpetuating cruelty. We attract a tremendous amount of traffic to our site, where our dedicated team personally reviews questionable listings flagged to us by our Kijiji users and animal welfare partners. We believe there is strength in numbers for our animal friends. Further, regarding your call for promoting the free adoption of animals from shelters and rescue organizations on Kijiji, we wholeheartedly support that. We work with partner organizations like Petfinder to help drive adoption listings to our site, and we provide search filters which enable our users to find adoptive/rescue pets as a top priority. We invite animal welfare agencies and shelters to post listings in our pet section for free. We’re proud of that. I appreciate the opportunity to give you Kijiji’s view. I know how hugely important the well-being of pets is to you, and to those who have signed your petition. I sincerely hope you can appreciate how strongly we feel about these issues, too. Thanks for getting in touch. Sincerely, Matthew McKenzie, General Manager

2 years ago