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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
10:31 AM Tue, Nov. 20th

Editorial: Protect pet stores but not the puppies?

It may make cents, but it does not make complete sense.

The state has stepped in to allow federally certified commercial breeders to sell their animals in pet stores. These breeders are sometimes referred to as “puppy mills.”

The dogs are allowed to be kept in cages with limited space, in dimly lit conditions and with inadequate human affection, an opponent of the legislation said. Their puppies can be sick, among other problems.

Republican lawmakers who support the measure (SB 1248) said it has less to do with puppies than regulating businesses. “We do not shut down businesses. We do not start dictating to businesses where they can buy their products or how they can sell their products,” said Rep. Karen Fann, R-Prescott.

At the same time, the Associated Press reported, the City of Phoenix is involved in a lawsuit with Puppies ‘N Love owners Frank and Vicki Mineo, who unsuccessfully argued that the restrictions violate their constitutional rights. They’re appealing that decision in federal court; the bill may make their argument moot.

State lawmakers say they don’t want to put anyone out of business (that’s a good thing – I hope they all remember that in the future). Add to that, as Fann hinted, the pet stores don’t have to use the “puppy mills” as their suppliers.

Compare it to produce sold in grocery stores. The stores are not required to buy produce for their customers from any certain source, and they can be picky – offering only organic, for example. The same applies to pet stores; puppy mills that pass animal welfare checks can stay in business, but pet stores don’t have to sell their dogs and will not be penalized if they do.

Fair enough, I suppose, except to the puppies bred and raised in this way. To be clear, the Republican proposal would protect the rights of pet stores to sell commercially bred animals. The measure would block cities from passing ordinances to ban commercial breeders in pet stores.

So we’re business friendly, but not puppy friendly?

Dale Bartlett from the Humane Society of the United States said federal officials have failed at enforcing penalties against puppy mills, citing a 2010 inspector general audit. “The pre-emption action is the thing we are most concerned with, because they are the only laws that are actually effective,” he said.

Interesting; reminds me of Friday’s fireworks editorial: legalize more fireworks in an arid state that is very susceptible to wildfires?

Wow. I like being pro-business, but let’s not forget the product.

The bill, which the committee backed in a 6-3 vote, will now undergo a standard review before moving to a House vote.