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Whitby woman, 60, denied pet adoption because of her age

Last Updated Jan 23, 2019 at 7:34 pm EDT

A Whitby woman says she experienced discrimination at a PetSmart this week when she was turned away from adopting a kitten because of her age.

Betsy Foster, 60, says she went to the store in Oshawa on Sunday and a little black-and-white kitten quickly caught her eye.

She struck up a conversation with a volunteer from a rescue agency and was surprised to learn she wasn’t allowed to apply to adopt the cat.

“I told her, ‘We just want one cat.’ And she says, ‘We won’t allow a senior to adopt a kitten,’” Foster told CityNews. “I said, ‘Why?’ and she says, ‘Seniors are going to get older and the cat could outlive you.'”

Foster then relayed what happened to her husband Rick, 71, who was shocked.

“I was pissed,” he said. “I got home and wanted to make sure I’m onside, so I went to talk to my neighbour Marlene — she’s a senior too — and she says, ‘That’s age discrimination.'”

CityNews reached out to PetSmart to enquire about its pet adoption policy, and the company said the Fosters should not have been turned away.

PetSmart said it works with a number of charities and rescue agencies and declined to identify the agency involved.

“We require all of our partners to treat everyone with respect regardless of age, race, religion, gender, and orientation,” said spokewoman Christina Martinez.

“PetSmart Charities of Canada has an established assessment process in place that it uses to identify partners, which includes requiring the organization to abide by an anti-discrimination policy. We take any allegation of discrimination seriously and we are looking into the allegations.”

The Toronto Humane Society, another agency that works with PetSmart, said the only age requirement it enforces is a minimum of 18 years.

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