Amanda Hager of Bark Avenue Puppies with one of the shop’s French bulldogs in 2016. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


A month after it was tabled to allow for a possible compromise, a controversial proposal to regulate puppy sales may return to the Red Bank council Wednesday night.

As with the previous version of the proposal, which is now in its third iteration, the latest one would require retailers of puppies and kittens to source their animals exclusively from animal shelters or rescue organizations.

The aim of the law, advocated by the borough’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, is to reduce demand for puppies and kittens bred in puppy and kitten mills, where substandard and inhumane treatment is common, proponents say.

But Gary Hager, owner of Bark Avenue Puppies, the town’s sole puppy retail shop, has threatened to sue if the law is adopted. He clains it would put him out of business. His shop deals exclusively with reputable breeders, he contends.

The amendment was tabled May 27 to allow for a possible compromise between the two sides, with a meeting scheduled for June 5. Via text Monday, Hager referred redbankgreen to his attorney, who was not immediately available.

Just because it’s on the agenda doesn’t mean it will be voted on, however. Councilwoman Kathy Horgan, who originally introduced the amendment in January, told redbankgreen via text Monday that “action on the ordinance, with respect to adoption or amendment, is still being reviewed.”

Red Bank RiverCenter opposes enactment, saying it would set a bad precedent for businesses already regulated at the state and federal levels.

Also on the council agenda: a loosening of restrictions on commercial parking lots and a whopping tax appeal settlement with telecom company Verizon concerning its switching facility on Broad Street.

Here’s the full agenda.