Bark Avenue Puppies owner Gary Hager, seen above in one of his store’s ‘puppy condos’ in 2016, rallied dozens of customers and other supporters in January, when the council introduced an ordinance to limit the sale of dogs sourced from so-called puppy mills.
The proposed law would allow the retail sale of puppies and kittens only if pet stores acquire them from shelters or rescue organizations. Such a requirement, the ordinance states, “is likely to decrease the demand for puppies and kittens bred in puppy and kitten mills, and is likely to increase demand for animals from animal shelters and rescue organizations.”
But Hager, whose shop specializes in French bulldogs (seen in top photo), said he obtains puppies only from “the best-of-breed breeders,” and that shelters and rescue organizations refuse to make dogs available to retailers. He told the council that the law was essentially a ban on businesses like his.
“You really might just dumb it down to a couple of lines and say, ‘no pet stores,'” he said of the law.
Customers of the shop told the council that Bark Avenue does not sell dogs from puppy mills, with one comparing the proposed action to something out of the former Soviet Union.
Supporters of the ordinance, sponsored by Councilwoman Kathy Horgan, include the borough’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. Chairperson Vyolet Savage told the council in January that while reputable breeders exist, “none of them sell their animals to stores,” she said.
She urged to council to look closely at the issue, “not to put someone out of business, but to really look at how animals are treated, how the community is protected without supporting puppy mills.”
The council’s semimonthly meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at borough hall, 90 Monmouth Street. Here’s the full agenda.