After confusion, Jersey City votes down amended version of pet shop ordinance

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The Jersey City Council welcomed Human Society of the United States New Jersey Director Brian Hackett to address some confusion on how the pet ordinance affects pet stores, even after unanimously defeating an amendment to the ordinance (9-0).

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“I think the information that you’ve gotten from some of the actors of this ordinance has been very flawed,” Hackett began.

“The purpose of this ordinance is to get back the retail sale of cats and dogs from cruel inhumane mills, commercial breeders that we call puppy mills. This ordinance does not affect hobby breeders, it does not affect good properly functioning businesses, it does not affect a consumers’ choice of where to get a pet.”

“What it gets at is protecting not only the animals that are from these sources, but it’s to protect the consumers in your city,” explained Hackett.

He further explained that pet stores that source from puppy mills also use lending practices that target lower income consumers, some of whom do not speak English as their first language, and sell them pets who may have behavioral or health problems because they were “breed like chickens, or worse than chickens.”

Hackett shared the story of an unhealthy puppy that was purchased by a non-English speaking consumer using Wags Lending, what he considers a predatory puppy lender, as an example.

He concluded with explaining how the ordinance will act as a “proactive measure to prevent these stores from coming into the city.”

The amendment said “that no pet shops may offer a cat or dog for sale or obtain a cat or dog for the purpose of the sale, unless the cat or dog has been obtained, with or without payment, compensation of any kind from a shelter, pound, kennel operating as a shelter or pound, or an animal rescue organization.”