Two people in Surrey are under investigation by the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for allegedly selling sick kittens to at least 11 buyers.
The animal welfare watchdog says it has identified one of the two suspected sellers and will be recommending criminal charges, according to a statement, which did not name the suspect nor provide details on what charges are being specifically considered.
“In many cases the animals begin showing symptoms of illness days after purchase, and several of the kittens have died,” stated Eileen Drever, senior officer, protection and stakeholder relations for the BC SPCA.
“Often people are told that the animals have been vaccinated when they may not have been,” added Drever.
According to the SPCA, the kittens are being sold for between $250 and $1,200. Breeds vary but may include domestic short hair, Russian Blue and Maine Coons, said Drever. The complaints have come in over the “past several months.”
The sellers are believed to be using multiple Craigslist and Kijiji accounts and could be selling the kittens in parking lots.
“No reputable breeder would sell animals this way and it is a huge red flag that something is not right,” said Drever, who urged people to thoroughly research their purchase.
“There are so many adoption options through the SPCA or other rescues groups, or through reputable breeders who provide good care and welfare for their animals,” said Drever.
B.C. has the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, which includes the Cattery and Kennel Regulation.
A cattery is defined as a place in which domestic cats are kept for breeding for commercial purposes.
The BC SPCA stated legislation proposed in February 2017 to license dog and cat breeders never came to fruition due to a change in government.