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Salt Lake County Ordinance Bans Some Pet Shops from Selling Pets

Lisa L Wiedmeier via Creative Commons

A new Salt Lake County ordinance prohibits pet stores in the unincorporated county from selling dogs, cats or rabbits. The animals must now be purchased at a shelter. The county council voted 6 to 1 in favor of the ordinance Tuesday night. Councilman Arlyn Bradshaw says it’s aimed at putting an end to puppy mills. The new rule was his idea. 

“It’s stating as a community that we want animals to be treated humanely and that we do not support the puppy mill concept,” Bradshaw says. “It also continues to help our animal services division in reducing the number of homeless pets that enter that facility and could potentially be euthanized.”

Bradshaw recognizes the ordinance is somewhat limited in scope. The law only applies to unincorporated Salt Lake County, where he says no commercial pet stores will be effected. But he’s hoping to set a precedent so that individual cities will pass similar ordinances.

Bradshaw says communities are becoming more educated about the inhumane nature of puppy mills and are already turning to shelters to find family pets.  

He says there are about 10,000 known puppy mills in the United States.

“Even though that used to be a much higher number, It’s not like the problem has completely gone away on its own,” Bradshaw says. “And I think it is the responsibility of local communities to take this kind of action to ensure that there isn’t a resurgence and we continue to see the end of irresponsible breeding.”

According to the Humane Society of Utah, resale of animals through pet stores has been a "contributing factor" in pet overpopulation, because the animals are not spayed or neutered when they're sold. 

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