The Edmonton Humane Society is raising the alarm over new pet stores in the city, ones that are selling puppies and are also owned by the former president of PJ’s Pets.

My Pet recently opened in the former PJ’s Pets locations in Londonderry Mall and West Edmonton Mall.

The stores are selling puppies they say are supplied from local breeders, but Shawna Randolph with the Edmonton Humane Society is warning Edmontonians not to purchase animals from these stores.

“Where does this animal come from? Reputable breeders do not sell pets in pet stores. They are really keen on making sure they know exactly who is taking this pet and they screen it and they will sometimes refuse potential buyers,” Randolph said.

“It does worry us about where are these animals coming from that end up in pet stores. Many times they do come from puppy mills or even breeders who call themselves breeders but they are not responsible because they’re not caring about the overall welfare of the animal.”

My Pet says that’s not the case.

The store’s puppy buyer, Julia Dube, says their puppies come from people in Alberta, who breed their own pets on a small scale.

“We do our very best to make sure that we know exactly where they’re coming from,” Dube said.

Dube admits the store hasn’t actually visited any of the locations where the current in-store dogs came from. She says that’s because the store is still so new.

“When we get a chance we do go to their locations to check out their facilities,” she said.

“We are planning on going in the near future. We are just starting out.”

The company also plans on having photos of breeder locations to be able to show customers in the future.

“So when people ask we can show them exactly where they come from,” she said.

Dube says all the dogs currently up for sale are healthy and vet-checked.

“Our vet comes every week on Tuesdays. They get their vaccinations. They are de-wormed and checked for any possible illnesses,” she said.

The store has also blacklisted some breeders it used under former ownership.

“When we worked with another company, we did have a lot of issues… we got ot all fixed every single time, but we just want to avoid that now,” Dube said.

PJ’s Pets announced last year that it would stop selling puppies in all of its stores nationwide.

That did happen – but since then, PJ’s has closed all of its stores in Western Canada.

The former president, who retired earlier this year and now owns the two My Pet locations, says the model of a pet store that didn’t sell pets, didn’t work.

But Randolph says business owners can look to a St. Albert pet store to find a successful example of a way to remain economically viable without selling puppies and kittens.

“Do it like Paradise Pet Centre is doing in St. Albert, where they are adopting out animals on behalf of rescue groups, on behalf of the Edmonton Humane Society, they’re not profiting at all, and they’re really helping to control the pet population,” Randolph said.

My Pet's owner says his intention is to run a reputable business. He says he and his employees all care about the animals they're selling.

The humane society’s warning comes at a time when Randolph says many people may be considering giving pets as gifts.

“People get caught up in the emotion of seeing this adorable animal behind glass and they think on a whim, without doing any research at all,” Randolph said.

My Pet is also trying to deter customers from buying dogs as Christmas presents.

Dube recommends families come in as a group to meet and choose a dog, if they’re set on getting one for the holidays.

With files from Laura Lowe