Score one for our furry friends: A federal judge says a Phoenix law limiting pet sales is constitutional.
This fits right in with a movement toward more humane treatment of animals.
Our state does not allow dog fighting or cockfighting. You don’t see roadside animal carnivals, anymore. Arizona law prohibits steel-jaw traps on public land and bans confining pregnant sows in gestation crates.
Those advances ruffled a few feathers. They required people whose trade involved animals to change how they do business.
But they represent an awareness that our humanity is enhanced by treating animals with kindness.
Phoenix was at the forefront in December 2013, when the City Council passed an ordinance banning pet stores from selling animals from commercial breeders.
It was an important step in shutting off the market for animals produced in wretched conditions. Even though some of these places are licensed by the federal government, rules are lax.
The Humane Society of the United States says the federal regulation “allows dogs to be kept in cramped, wire-floored cages for their entire lives, churning out litter after litter of puppies for the commercial pet trade.”
A 2010 U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspector General report found dogs kept by USDA-licensed breeders were “walking on injured legs, suffering from tick-infestations, eating contaminated food, and living in unsanitary conditions,” according to the court ruling in this case. USDA says it has been working to improve enforcement.
The fewer outlets for puppies bred in such facilities, the better.
There is a strong public interest in this. Taxpayers fund Maricopa County Animal Care and Control, which housed 32,014 dogs and 4,033 cats in the fiscal year that ended June 30. More than 7,400 dogs and 900 cats were euthanized.
The Phoenix ordinance allows dogs and cats obtained from shelters to be sold at pet stores. This can help homeless animals as well as taxpayers.
But it requires a new way of doing business. Some pet stores get it. PetSmart and Petco work with shelters and rescue groups to make dogs and cats available in their stores.
But one local firm cried foul.
Phoenix’s ordinance was challenged in court by Puppies ‘N Love pet store, the only pet store in Phoenix that sells commercially bred dogs. Store owners Frank and Vicki Mineo sued the city, saying the ordinance would force them to close their store at Paradise Valley Mall.
U.S. District Judge David G. Campbell said the Mineos did an exemplary job of assuring they dealt only with caring breeders. But Campbell also said the Phoenix ordinance did not violate the U.S. or Arizona constitutions.
Cities across the nation have enacted bans on the sale of commercially bred puppies. Federal courts in Florida, Illinois and Rhode Island have upheld ordinances similar to Phoenix’s.
Even the publishers of a newly released Dr. Seuss book recognize that times have changed.
Called “What Pet Should I Get?” the story is believed to have been written in the late 1950s or early 1960s when people didn’t think much about where that doggie in the window came from.
But Random House included a “Note from the Publisher” that encourages children to adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue organization instead of a pet store.
Like the Phoenix ordinance, this advice is right for the times.
Source: AZCentral.com / Photo: Charlie Leight - The Republic
A Peaceful Farewell provides compassionate at home pet euthanasia to fellow pet owners in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Scottsdale, and most of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area.
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