PETS are an increasingly common sight at pet shows in Canada, but the numbers are increasing.
And now, some people are wondering if pet owners are inadvertently putting pets at risk.
“What if they’re getting into the pet store and they’re looking for a dog and it’s not the breed that’s available, that they’ve looked at, that you’re interested in?” says Rachel Rundle from Toronto, who runs a blog called The Dose of Pet Safety.
“If the dog is not in the pet shop that’s the first thing that happens.
It’s really, really, it’s really dangerous.”
Rundle says it can take up to four hours for her and her husband to find a dog to take in for a walk, but she says they have been fortunate to find one for a visit in the past.
“I would say in the last few months, we’ve been lucky to find about two dogs that are definitely not stray dogs,” says Rundle.
“We’ve had a couple of dog shows, and a couple dog shows and I’ve been able to find the dog in a pet store.”
She says she was lucky to be able to bring a friend’s dog to a dog show.
“He’s just so cute and he’s just such a lovely dog,” she says.
“And so when we found him, I thought, ‘Oh my God, we’re going to have a lovely evening.'”
Rundle believes the numbers of stray dogs in Toronto are on the rise.
She says she has noticed the number of dogs in the PetSmart store, and believes many people are not aware of the dangers of being a pet owner.
“It’s really a dangerous situation,” says Rebecca Rundle, who has been adopting more and more dogs from shelters.
“I would hope that more people would know the risks.”
The CBC has learned from other pet owners who are concerned about the health and safety of their pets.
In an email to CBC News, Toronto shelter and rescue shelter Dog Haven says the numbers at its shelter have gone up since it began offering adoption and adoption fees in April.
“Since April, we have had more than 10 dogs being placed at our shelter due to their lack of a permanent home,” reads a statement sent to CBCNews.
“Our adoption fee is $500 and we are very grateful to all of our adopters who have supported us through this time.”
The shelter said it is working with the province and city of Toronto to improve the shelter’s outreach and to find new ways to reduce the number and number of stray dog adoptions.
“The shelter is committed to helping those in need find their forever home through adoption,” reads the statement.
Rundle agrees that the number has gone up, but that she thinks the problem is not just in Toronto.
“You know I’m not the only one that’s seeing it.
I’m seeing it all over the country, and I’m also seeing it in the dog shelters, in the foster homes,” she said.
The Canadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says stray dog owners have been involved in at least 20 of its national dog shows since 2008, including in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
“There’s definitely been a real shift in dog owners’ attitudes to stray dogs since the dog shows began,” said Dr. Jennifer Coyle, the society’s director of programs.
Coyle says there is a growing awareness of stray pet owners and the dangers that come with them, including the risk of infections from fleas and other fleas that can travel with a dog.
Cope says the Society for Responsible Pet Owners (SPCA) is working to educate pet owners about the risks associated with dogs.
“We’re working with shelters, the shelters themselves, the owners to educate them about the need to be aware of dogs and what they are carrying,” she told CBC News.
“It’s a very important part of the dog owner’s education.”
The SPCA says there are different levels of risk involved with pet ownership.
“Pet ownership in Canada has an elevated risk of infection, fleas, ticks, other diseases,” the statement reads.
“A pet can also become infected from a flea or other animal.”
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association says people who have experienced fleas in their own pet should take the dog to their veterinarian, as well as take the fleas with them.