Bill would regulate sale of cats, dogs in Georgia

Cheryl Dalton is celebrating 30 years as a Hamilton business owner this year. She started the business as Noah’s Ark at 105 Main Street, moved to a West Side shopping center 18 months later but 20 years ago moved back to the same Main Street storefront and changed the name of the business to Cheri’s Preferred Puppies. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

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Cheryl Dalton is celebrating 30 years as a Hamilton business owner this year. She started the business as Noah’s Ark at 105 Main Street, moved to a West Side shopping center 18 months later but 20 years ago moved back to the same Main Street storefront and changed the name of the business to Cheri’s Preferred Puppies. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Legislation that would institute a set of best practices for the retail sale of cats and dogs was introduced in the state House on Wednesday.

House Bill 144 would require commercial retail stores to vaccinate the animals against diseases and parasites under the supervision of certified veterinarians and standardize return policies for owners.

It's the commercial industry's response to animal rights activists who criticized retailers for not adhering to a set of standard practices. The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, would also restrict local regulation as a compromise with activists who threatened local government action against retailers.

The bill would not affect stores that allow rescue groups on their property to sell animals.

Jeff Drobney, the city manager of Kennesaw, supports the bill. With commercial stores in his district, he views the proposed measures as a protection for consumers.

“By establishing comprehensive best practices that will be applicable statewide, this legislation will provide well-defined protections as well as reduce confusion and misinterpretations,” he said. “The strong standards it will put into place are beneficial to consumers, retailers and animals.”