The Wauwatosa Common Council on Tuesday passed an ordinance prohibiting pet stores in Wauwatosa from selling cats or dogs.
But the ordinance, which aims to draw attention to the negative effects of puppy mills, will not affect any existing pet stores in the city.
Aldus. Nancy Welch proposed the order. It was passed unanimously by the Community Affairs Committee in April.
“What we have in front of us is what we have under our control in our jurisdiction, and I think we should take action,” Welch said at the Common Council meeting.
Under the ordinance, no pet store in the city will be permitted to “sell, deliver, offer for sale, barter, auction, give away, or otherwise transfer or dispose of cats or dogs.”
The order will not prohibit the store from featuring animals from shelters or pet shelters.
The purpose of the ordinance is to encourage consumers to purchase pets from shelters or directly from responsible, reputable breeders. It loosely mirrors a similar prescription written by the Humane Society of the United States.
Puppy mills, which typically raise large numbers of puppies for sale, have long been criticized for having inhumane conditions for the animals.
A 2021 report by The Humane Society estimated that there are approximately 10,000 puppy mills nationwide, many of which are uninspected or unlicensed.
Aldus. Joseph Makhlouf voted in favor of the ordinance.
“I don’t see the need for a pet store to sell them (pets) when there are so many different adoption options,” Makhlouf said.
Currently, only four other municipalities in Wisconsin have a similar “Pet Ordinance” on the books: Beloit, Whitewater, Appleton, and Fort Atkinson. More than 400 municipalities in 30 states across the country also have similar ordinances.
“I think it’s important for us to make a statement about how we want pets to be treated,” Ald said. Margaret Arney said at the council meeting.
The City Council voted 14-2 to approve the ordinance, with Ald. Mike Morgan and Amanda Fuerst voted against its adoption.
Fuerst and Morgan discussed a letter the city received from the Pet Advocacy Network, which urged council not to approve the ordinance.
The organization argued that the order would negatively affect responsible pet breeders and pet stores. He also said it could lead more people to the pet black market.
“While well-intentioned, pet retail bans won’t stop bad breeders who are unregulated, unlicensed and held accountable to no standard of animal care,” the statement says. letter.
This argument sufficiently persuaded Morgan and Fuerst to vote no on the ordinance.
“While I totally respect both sides and expect this to pass, I will be voting against it simply for this reason,” Morgan said of the letter.
No stores in Wauwatosa are currently affected.
No pet stores in Wauwatosa currently sell dogs or cats, but the ordinance would prevent any future pet stores that may come to Wauwatosa from profiting from the sale of cats or dogs.
Wauwatosa City Attorney Alan Kesner said the city currently has no ordinances explicitly banning puppy mills within city limits, but does have ordinances requiring the humane treatment of animals.
A similar state bill, proposed in 2019, that would have banned the sale of dogs or cats in pet stores, did not pass.
This bill, supported by the Wisconsin Humane Society, was intended to reduce the demand for animals from puppy mills. Instead of selling dogs and cats, stores would be mandated to work with animal rescues and humane societies to run adoption events under the legislation.