Sandy City seeks to prohibit puppy store sales

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MURRAY, UT (May 1, 2018) -- Humane Society of Utah supports an ordinance to ban the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits


Sandy City is proposing an ordinance to prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores and encourage a humane model where these animals are obtained from shelters and rescue groups instead. The Humane Society of Utah (HSU) supports this ordinance and encourages other Utah cities and counties to do the same. If passed, this law will not affect any existing pet store in Sandy City but will prevent future pet stores from selling puppies. A local ordinance would not affect responsible breeders selling from their homes. The ordinance will be discussed during the City Council Meeting Tuesday, May 1, at 7 p.m. at Sandy City Hall located at 10000 Centennial Parkway in Sandy.


“Recently, a puppy store sought to open in Sandy City and was met with opposition and protest from the community,” said Gene Baierschmidt, HSU executive director. “The store has since opened in West Jordan. We hope that more cities and counties pass a pet store ordinance like this because we don’t need to produce any more dogs when there are millions of them waiting in shelters across the country who need our help.”


The Humane Society of Utah encourages pet stores to become part of the pet overpopulation solution rather than continuing to add to the problem. PetSmart and Petco, the largest and most successful pet store chains in the country, do not sell puppies and instead allow shelters and rescue groups to adopt out homeless pets from inside their stores.


Pet store ordinances are designed to require pet stores to obtain animals from humane sources and keep documentation of their source, not to put pet stores out of business. Humane model pet store owners credit their success to having a better reputation in the community.


“Pet stores do not obtain dogs from responsible breeders because responsible breeders do not sell puppies to pet stores,” said Baierschmidt. Ninety-six percent of national clubs include statements in their Codes of Ethics that their breeders should not and/or do not sell to pet stores.   


Puppies in pet stores are often sick because they are born into deplorable conditions, exposed to a wide range of diseases, and are susceptible to genetic disorders. “We see dogs who enter our shelter with behavioral problems because they were taken from their mother too young to be sold in a pet store and were never socialized the way they should be,” said Baierschmidt.


“A responsible breeder will invite you to their home to see the puppy’s parents, living conditions, and answer questions about their health because they have invested a lot of time and money into their care,” said Baierschmidt. “Why would responsible breeders send their puppies to a store for someone else to profit from when they can sell directly themselves? We know pet stores obtain their puppies from inhumane sources, and ordinances like this are a step in the right direction to decrease backyard breeding and puppy mills.”


Ordinances encouraging consumers to adopt lessens the burden on shelters that take in pet store dogs. Data show that shelter intake and euthanasia rates decline in cities that prohibit the sale of puppy mill dogs. “City residents should not have to accept the importing of puppies from puppy mills or backyard breeders while their tax dollars are spent housing and euthanizing homeless dogs in their local shelter,” said Baierschmidt.


More than 230 cities in the U.S. have of laws that regulate the sale of companion animals. Pet store ordinances have been upheld in federal district courts in Rhode Island, Florida, Illinois, and Arizona, and in courts in Chicago and New York City, and have never been struck down.


In 2015, Salt Lake County passed an ordinance to end the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores. The law does not affect any existing pet store and only applies to the unincorporated area of the county, but will prohibit any future pet stores from opening.


Animal shelters frequently have purebred animals, puppies and kittens available for adoption throughout the year. Visit to view available animals at the Humane Society of Utah.