ATLANTA – The Atlanta City Council is considering new legislation that would ban stores from selling dogs and cats from “puppy and kitty mills.” A city council committee unanimously voted to pass the bill out of committee for a full council vote in November.
If the full city council approves the ordinance, it would make it illegal for pet stores to sell dogs and cats for profit. The way the bill is written, it would not impact breeders with a license -- just pet stores that sell dogs and cats.
Supporters of the bill packed City Hall with puppies on Tuesday to drive the message home. Pet store representatives opposed to the bill were also there -- arguing that people should be able to buy whatever they want.
The bill is supported by ASPCA and the Atlanta Humane Society.
If the bill passes, the full council will vote on whether or not to ban pet stores from selling dogs and cats during the Nov. 5 meeting.
Georgia’s state senate rejected a bill in February that would have overturned laws in cities and counties regulating puppy sales.
"It’s about the free market and for Georgia’s consumers to have the ability to choose what they buy," said the House bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper), at the time.
Jasperse said local governments have no business banning the purchase of otherwise legal retail items, including the purchase of commercially-bred puppies.
"Taking away consumer choice isn’t the appropriate way to do it," Jasperse said. Asked if he was standing up for puppy mills, he responded: "Well, I’m not doing that. I’m standing up for consumer choice."