As introduced, the proposed ordinance would prohibit pet stores in Fountain from selling dogs and cats. It would also prohibit the sale of dogs and cats at public places within city limits. Public places include streets, highways, store exteriors, parking lots, sidewalks, carnivals and flea markets.
The expressed purpose of the ordinance is to limit the sale of dogs from so-called puppy mills and cats from so-called kitten factories.
“Animals sold in pet stores live in inhumane conditions prior to and often during their sale in stores,” the ordinance’s summary states.
The proposal is also designed to reduce the number of healthy animals that are surrendered to shelters or abandoned by preventing impulse purchases, reduce the amount of poorly bred animals sold to “unsuspecting” owners, manage domestic animal overpopulation, and encourage responsible pet ownership and the humane treatment of animals, according to the ordinance summary.
The ordinance would not prevent pet stores from offering animals for adoption.
Fines for violations are a minimum of $200 for a first offense and a minimum of $500 for a third or subsequent offense. The proposal carries no maximum fine. The ordinance summary specifically notes that such fines are “significantly more than fines for other provisions of the city code” and courts would be prohibited from lowering the fine.
The city council is scheduled to hold a second reading on the ordinance on May 24 at 6 p.m. in the city hall. If approved, the pet store sales ban would take effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council is calling on “all persons who support the right to breed, sell and have animals” to speak out against the proposal. PIJAC claims the ordinance would dramatically impact pet owners’ rights and the ability of pet stores to stay in business.