Late last month, a federal court decided to uphold a city of Phoenix ordinance that bans retail sales of cats and dogs in pet stores unless the animals come from nonprofit rescues or animal shelters. The ruling and the accompanying court documents also brought attention to the number of puppies and adult dogs sold in Arizona, especially in Maricopa County.
The ruling in the case, handed down by U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell, found that one particular pet store in Paradise Valley Mall sells more than 500 puppies every year, making up only 2.2% of the Valley’s dog-selling market. That is the equivalent of about 23,000 dogs being bought and sold every year in Maricopa County alone.
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According to Campbell’s ruling, that same pet store accounts for about 1.2% of the dog-selling market in the state, which means about 41,000 dogs are sold in Arizona each year. Puppies ‘N Love owns the aforementioned store in Paradise Valley Mall and a few other locations around the state.
The company has sued, arguing that the 2013 ordinance is unfair and that it violates the interstate commerce clause of the United States Constitution. Judge Campbell ruled in favor of the city of Phoenix, stating that the ordinance did not step across any constitutional commerce clause laws.
He says that he is sure the burden will fall hard on the pet store, but the court’s place is not to judge the fairness of the city’s decision. The ordinance was passed in 2013 to try and curtail the large amount of puppy mills in the area. Many other U.S. cities including Austin, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Chicago have also banned certain retail pet sails and enacted anti-puppy mill ordinances.
Frank and Vicki Mineo, owners of Puppies ‘N Love, stated that they have never purchased puppies from puppy mills. They said that they only buy dogs from breeders licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture and small breeders with less than four females. They claim that this ruling is going to negatively impact the responsible breeders that they work with.
The couples’ attorney, Bob Schaffer, says that they have until August 24th to decide whether they are going to appeal the decision or not. He also said that the city of Phoenix has agreed not to enforce the new law until the decision on the appeal is made. The pet store remains open for now.