Monday, August 10, 2015
A Federal Judge in Arizona Recently Upheld A City Law That Limits The Sale of Animals From Commercial Breeders
Some cities are fighting the practice of breeding puppies in large volumes at "puppy mills" by only allowing pet stores to sell animals that have been rescued.
By Max Miceli
It’s a common experience. People walk into a pet store and are greeted by a slew of adorable puppies, each more endearing than the last. Their charm and playfulness is a selling point, but in many cases it belies what's been a difficult early life.
In order to feed customers’ demand for specific breeds, pet stores frequently resort to carrying animals that were born in so-called "puppy mills" – commercial breeding operations that pump out pups in high volume, often in substandard and neglectful environments.
Some cities have begun to fight the practice, enacting laws mandating that stores sell animals that have been rescued instead of ones that were bred to be sold. Fifty-nine cities and counties across the country have outlawed sales of commercially bred dogs and cats, in part because the population of strays is so high.
Those measures got a boost recently, when a federal judge in Phoenix set precedent by upholding the city’s law banning sales from commercial breeders, saying it met the standards of both state and federal regulation. The ruling from U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell expressed empathy for owners of small pet stores who took care to obtain dogs from breeders that humanely bred animals, but it didn't satisfy Frank Mineo, a store owner who filed the lawsuit challenging the city ban a year ago.
“Our family built this business over four decades, working with ethical breeders, developing personal relationships with those men and women whose animals we proudly sell in Phoenix,” Mineo told the Arizona Republic. “I’m disappointed in the judge’s ruling.”
Though some small-store owners believe laws like these might run them out of business, the Humane Society of the United States says that's not the case.
In an article published in October, the group detailed an experiment in which rescued puppies were taken to a pet store that was converted from selling puppy mills to offering rescue animals for adoption. The results were conclusive.
“People came in and said that now they are going to shop here – they want to support us,” store owner Mark Arabia told the humane society's All Animals magazine. “As many puppies as we can save, as many as they can get us, that’s what we can (take).”