Proposed Ordinance Would Ban Puppy, Cat Mill Animals From Township Pet Stores

The proposed ordinance would require all animals sold in township pet stores to come from rescue organizations or animal shelters, such as the Franklin Township Animal Shelter, pictured. Photo: Franklin Township.

An ordinance that would prohibit pet stores from selling animals bred in large-scale commercial breeding facilities is making its way to the Township Council.

The ordinance wold be symbolic at this point because the last township pet store that sold dogs and cats – Pets, Pets, Pets, on John F. Kennedy Boulevard – closed its doors several years ago. The newly opened Petsmart on Elizabeth Avenue does not sell pets.

The township Advisory Board of Health at its Feb. 1 meeting voted to recommend the ordinance to the council.

The matter was brought to the board by Patti Elliot, the senior Registered Environmental Health Specialist for the Somerset County Board of Health, and was championed by Mayor Phil Kramer.

Under the ordinance, pet stores located in the township would only be able to offer for sale cats and dogs from an animal rescue facility or an animal rescue organization.

Animals bred in the commercial breeding facilities, known as puppy mills or cat mills, suffer from a number of behavioral and health issues, according to the proposed ordinance. Those issues can “impose exorbitant financial and emotional costs on consumers.”

The proposed ordinance “will not affect a consumer’s ability to obtain a dog or cat of his or her choice directly from a breed-specific rescue organization or shelter, or from a hobby breeder where the consumer can see directly the conditions in which teh dogs are cats are bred.”

Kramer said that he’d originally brought the ordinance to Township Manager Robert Vornlocker, and asked him to have it vetted by Katie Nordhaus, the township’s animal control officer.

“She loved it,” Kramer said, after which he and Vornlocker decided that the Advisory Board of Health should review it and vote on recommending it to the council.

State Sen. Ray Lesniak, (D-20), has proposed a bill that would ban puppy mill animals statewide. That bill, S-63, has been passed by the Senate and is now awaiting consideration by the state Assembly.


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