The Senate defeated a measure that would have prohibited local governments from banning the sale of dogs.
The legislation, Senate Bill 418, failed 19-34.
Animal-rights lobbyists have said the measure would strip local control from cities that want to crack down on pet sales and encourage adoption instead. Canton became the first city to enact a local ban last year shortly after a puppy mill was discovered in Cherokee County.
“The efforts that are being made by local city officials to protect their citizens and shut down the bad apples is the essence of local control,” said state Sen. Nan Orrock, D-Atlanta.
State Sen. John Wilkinson, R-Toccoa, said the bill was necessary to “protect the free market.”
Lawmakers frequently debate strengthening or loosening trade of other legal products, such as alcohol and cigarettes.
Animal rights activists urge pet owners to adopt from shelters instead of purchasing them from stores, which many times get the animals from “puppy mills.” Several Georgia cities already have banned pet sales.
Had the bill passed, cities would not have been allowed to “prohibit, ban or otherwise restrict” the sale of anything that is regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or the Georgia Department of Agriculture.
A similar measure, House Bill 948, is pending in the House.
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