For Christmas this year, Phoenix lawmakers are taking aim at puppy and kitten mills. This week, the city council passed a law that bans the sale of dogs and cats from commercial breeders. As of next January, pet stores will only be able to sell dogs and cats that come from rescue organizations and shelters.
It should probably come as no surprise that there was a lot of pushback against the ordinance as the city council struggled to pass it. There’s almost nothing more heartwarming than puppies in the window, especially during Christmas. In the media, pushing against the sale of commercially-bred pets can sound almost like you’re against puppies and children themselves.
There’s also the economic factor. In Phoenix, opponents said that the ordinance would hurt local businesses, and that at least one store, Puppies ‘N Love, would have to close. Frank Mineo, the owner of the store, said, “We do everything in our power to screen breeders, make sure they’re from reputable sources.” He also said that animal rights activists falsely claim that all puppies from pet stores are from puppy mills.
Councilwoman Thelda Williams responded to criticism of the ordince, saying, “We support local business, we’re not putting them out of business. We are giving them an option where they can get dogs. I think if the big stores can survive really well on it, the little ones can too.”
But despite opposition from local business leaders and even the Vice Mayor of Phoenix, Bill Gates (no connection to Microsoft that we can find), the ordinance passed, 5-3, on Tuesday. Phoenix certainly isn’t the first city to demand that pet stores avoid selling animals from puppy and kitten mills. Similar laws have passed across the country, including in major cities like Los Angeles and El Paso.
As we reported earlier this month, the city of Delray Beach in Florida is now considering legislation that would completely ban the selling of dogs and cats in pet stores. The big sticking point in the Delray Beach ordinance is whether stores would still be allowed to sell rescued dogs from shelters.
The doggie in the window or under the Christmas tree may be an iconic American tradition, but it’s clear that people are taking a hard, serious look at that tradition. Phoenix isn’t the first city to change how stores sell pets, and they most likely won’t be the last.
More on Puppy Mills and Pet Stores:
Via AZCentral (Caution: Autoplay video.)
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