New pet store opens at West Edmonton Mall after 500 animals are believed to have been abandoned

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EDMONTON—Three months after the Edmonton Humane Society seized 500 pets from the West Edmonton Mall’s MyPet pet store, a new pet store has opened in the same location.

In a Facebook group called Edmonton Dog Connections, many Edmontonians shared their disapproval at the opening of Pet Plus, which replaced MyPet.

On February 27, animal protection officers from the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) seized 500 animals, including small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, arachnids as well as hundreds of fish from MyPet at the West Edmonton Mall after have received an animal abandonment report.

In a March 19 statement, EHS said the investigation is ongoing.

Esther Chen, a student at the University of Alberta, says she was “shocked” to learn that a pet store had reopened there under a new name.

“I don’t mind that they sell pet accessories and products, but I definitely don’t mind that they sell puppies and kittens,” Chen said.

“…Encourage people to adopt instead of buying puppies or kittens from a pet store,” she said.

Emily Underwood, another Edmontonian restaurant owner, said she was outraged that a pet store had reopened despite the closure of the last one there and the alleged abandonment of her animals.

Underwood says she doesn’t view her dog as property, but rather as “the closest thing” she has to her own offspring.

However, not everyone was quick to judge the new owners for opening a pet store there. Julie Watts Kombele, a hairstylist, says one of her oldest clients works in the industry.

Kombele says from conversations she’s had that she doesn’t believe the last pet store owners “got up and left all those animals.”

“There was more than that,” she said.

Kombele says the previous store had to close because the owners lost the lease.

“From what she said, I understand that just because the store is closed doesn’t mean nobody is there,” she said.

“They just weren’t allowed…to open their business.”

StarMetro reached out to a Pet Plus manager who confirmed that MyPet had to shut down previously due to a disagreement over their lease.

Although she declined to comment further, she added that store employees are “animal lovers” and would never give up on pets.

StarMetro has contacted the West Edmonton Mall and the Edmonton Humane Society, but has not heard back as of press time.

Kashmala Fida is an Edmonton journalist who covers city hall and diversity. Follow her on Twitter: @KashFida

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