Atlanta has just made a landmark decision for animal health and safety.
Pet stores in the city are now banned from selling animals, thanks to a unanimous vote by the city council. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed the bill into law after it was drafted by Council member Amir Farokhi and co-sponsored by council members Carla Smith and Natalyn Archibong.
“Atlanta is a humane city and our policies toward animals should reflect that.” Farokhi said. “My wife and I own a rescued dog and two rescued cats. Our city should follow the lead of many others to promote the adoption of rescued animals and reduce demand for inhumane puppy and kitten mills.”
When the ASPCA, Humane Society and other supporters of the measure gathered at the Atlanta City Hall in November, many of them brought their dogs.
“We are pleased to report that the measure to prohibit the retail sale of dogs and cats in Atlanta’s pet stores was passed by the Atlanta City Council and approved last night by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms,” the ASPCA wrote in a statement after the bill’s passing.
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This law does not affect licensed breeders, who are still permitted to sell pets. Though it was passed unanimously by the city council, the measure was not without opposition at higher levels of government. Georgia state representative Rick Jasperse sponsored a bill that would have prohibited cities and counties from regulating pet sales, 11 Alive reports.
“It’s about the free market and for Georgia’s consumers to have the ability to choose what they buy,” Jasperse said. “Taking away consumer choice isn’t the appropriate way to do it,” Jasperse said.
The representative maintains he was not standing up for puppy mills, but merely “standing up for consumer choice.”
As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Elizabeth Kunzelman, Petland director of public affairs, said the company is “shocked that city leaders would ban the only regulated source of puppies in favor of unregulated, black market, puppy mill operators.”
“By passing this ban, the city is encouraging the 83 percent of breeders who have no oversight and no regulation to advertise and sell within the city and they are punishing responsible regulated breeders.”
So far, there have been no attempts to re remove the law from Atlanta’s law books.
“This is a landmark victory for the welfare of animals in Atlanta,” the Humane Society wrote in a statement. “And the Atlanta Humane Society is elated to have been present for the vote and a proponent for more humane legislation.”
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