An law proposed in Sandy Springs would ban the sale of dogs and cats at pet shops. It is seen as an effort to discourage puppy mills and promote adoption.
Photo: Brant Sanderlin, AJC file
Photo: Brant Sanderlin, AJC file

To encourage adoption, Sandy Springs considering ban on pet shop sales

Animal lovers looking to buy a dog or a cat in Sandy Springs may not be able to purchase one from a pet store soon.

The city council is considering an ordinance that would ban the sale of dogs and cats from pet shops. Folks looking for a pet would have to adopt one from a rescue organization, or buy directly from a private breeder.

The ordinance was presented to the council during a non-voting work session on Nov. 7 by assistant city clerk Kelly Bogner and city attorney Dan Lee as an effort to promote the adoption of rescue animals. If the ordinance is approved, pet stores could face a fine of up to $500 for each dog or cat sold.

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If approved, Sandy Springs would be the sixth city in Georgia to pass a law like this, a group that includes Canton and Holly Springs.

“What this does is actually discourage puppy mills,” Canton mayor Gene Hobgood told Channel 2 Action News.

According to data from the Humane Society of the United States — which was presented to the Sandy Springs council in the proposal — it is estimated that 10,000 puppy mills produce more than 2,400,000 puppies each year and that nearly all pet shop puppies and kittens come from mills.

These so-called mills are classified in the ordinance as “mass-breeding facilities” that put “profit over welfare of the animal” and generally have conditions that are “overcrowded and unsanitary” and don’t come with “adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization.”

According to Georgia SPCA, one of the key causes of pet overpopulation is commercial breeding. Leaders behind this proposal in Sandy Springs hope it controls overpopulation of pets, reduces costs to the city, promotes responsible pet ownership and prevents inhumane breeding conditions.

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“Throughout the country, there have been hundreds of these (laws) passed, and they have all stood up in federal court,” Debra Berger of the Humane Society of the United States told Channel 2.

The ordinance would ban pet stores from selling cats and dogs, but those businesses could still host animals from animal care or rescue organizations for adoption. The shops would have to post signage showing where each animal came from, and the shops couldn’t host cats and dogs under eight weeks old.

“It’s definitely a trend, and we’re hoping it catches on here in Georgia,” Christina Hill of the Atlanta Humane Society told Channel 2. “It’s really something that’s best for the community and best for the animals.”

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