Bloomington bans the retail sale of cats and dogs; disgruntled store owner

From 2023, pet stores in Bloomington will be banned from selling cats and dogs.

Bloomington City Council on Wednesday voted 8-0 to ban such sales because the law would “likely” reduce demand for dogs and cats raised in puppy and kitten factories, the law’s sponsors wrote.

“The decrease in demand is part of reducing or completely eliminating puppy / kitten mills,” according to sponsors, board members Susan Sandberg, Isabel Piedmont-Smith and Dave Rollo.

Sandberg said at Wednesday’s council meeting that the city ordinance was taken because community members contacted council members to propose such a law. She said the majority of people who provided comments on the proposal said they supported it. She also stressed that the law would not prevent people from buying any pets they want from responsible breeders.

Stores that break the law can be fined $ 500 per event.

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Delilah’s Pet Shop, Anthony’s Pets in College Mall Affected by Retail Pet Ban

The order will affect two local pet stores: Delilah’s Pet Shop, at 2506 W. Third St., and Anthony’s Pets, at College Mall.

Karene Kidwell, founder and former owner of Delilah’s, told the Herald-Times on Thursday that she would like to hear the city’s definition of a responsible breeder. She said she bought her animals through a buyer who knew the store did not sell mill animals. Most of the animals come from individual breeders, Kidwell said.

The Humane Society says on its website that responsible breeders “never sell” their animals to pet stores and that the dogs and cats sold in those stores come from puppy or kitten factories.

Samantha Morton, state director of the Humane Society, told the council on Wednesday that these factories put profits before animal welfare.

“A lot of times you will see cages stacked up and the animals not getting the proper exercise and enrichment that you would give a family member who is a pet,” she said.

Morton said more than 400 localities and five states have banned the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores. She said Indiana has seen an influx of such stores because Illinois recently passed a law banning pet retailing. She expects more pet stores to appear in Indiana before the Illinois law goes into effect in February.

“We see this as problematic,” Morton said.

According to PAWS, about 90% of puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills. And the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals warns that pet stores often make false claims about the origin of their animals.

Not all breeders are the same, according to a representative of the Kennel Club

However, a spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club, which advocates for purebred dogs, told the Herald-Times that the problem is more complicated, because small and large breeders can operate responsibly – or irresponsibly.

Brandi Hunter Munden, AKC vice president of public relations and communications, said pet stores can certainly have relationships with responsible local small ranchers.

These breeders make sure their animals are healthy, for example by performing health exams, she said. The AKC recommends that buyers who deal with breeders request proof of these screenings, including a certificate from the Orthopedic Animal Foundation and a veterinary ophthalmic screening check, also known as an OFA or CERF exam.

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The AKC said on its website that pet retail bans had “no impact” on cruelty or neglect of animals, in part because only 4% of animals purchased in the states – United came from pet stores.

“These proposals assume that all dogs sold in pet stores were bred in poor conditions, which is simply not correct,” the AKC said. “Instead, they are removing one of the most regulated and controlled sources of pets from the market to favor unregulated pet distributors and randomly sourced pets that lack oversight,” and in fact exacerbate the problems associated with irresponsible players in the retail and retail animal rescue industry. “

Delilah's Pet Shop can be viewed Thursday at 2506 W. Third St. Under a new city ordinance, starting in 2023, the sale of dogs and cats will be banned in all pet stores in Bloomington.

Can local pet stores continue to operate?

Kidwell, of Delilah’s, said she always made sure animals sold in her store were treated well before coming to the store, as she said early animal care was critical to their behavior and how which they managed with families.

She also said that for 45 years, Delilah’s prided itself on providing information to customers and being available to answer questions to ensure animals do not end up in a shelter.

“We don’t just sell. We educate, ”Kidwell said.

She also said that having pets in the store has provided some sort of therapy for many Indiana University students who miss their pets but cannot care for them. ‘them while they are at school. Some of these students have come two to three times a week, which helps them and the animals.

A dog barked in the background as Kidwell spoke with The Herald-Times by phone. Kidwell said it was his daughter’s dog, Lesli Henderson-Miller, who now owns the store.

Kidwell said cat and dog sales generate about 30% of the store’s revenue.

“We’re going to try to stay in business, but, you know, it’s hard to replace that much income,” she said.

Anthony Taboas, owner of the mall store, told the Herald-Times he had no other comment than to say it was “too early to tell” what kind of impact the new law of the city would have on its business.

On Google, Delilah’s has a rating of 4.6 out of five possible stars, based on 241 reviews. Anthony’s has a 2.7 star rating based on 254 reviews.

Boris Ladwig is the municipal government reporter for the Herald-Times. Contact him at [email protected]

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