Roseville, Minnesota is considering joining the roughly 200 other cities nationwide that have banned the sale of commercially bred animals in favor of promoting rescue pets.
The debate was sparked when a federal animal inspector noted “sick dogs, hamsters missing eyes, and a decomposing hedgehog” at one of Roseville’s four pet shops earlier this year.
The owner of HarMar Pet Shoppe, Gary Papineau, has responded to the accusations, saying that the deceased hedgehog was the size of a dime and easily missed; the blind hamster was otherwise healthy and the type of pet he would give away for free; and that one of the “sick” animals was his own pet, not up for sale.
Papineau told the Star Tribune:
“Most of the official issues had to do with rodents, yet the issue with the city has become so-called ‘puppy mills,’ which is an unfair concept. I stand by all the kennels I work with.”
Despite his detailed response, Roseville council members voted heavily in favor of switching to a rescue animals-only model in city pet stores. One reason they cited is their limited ability to perform shop inspections in order to keep an eye on the living conditions of the animals.
Most of the council members are pet owners themselves leading Papineau to suspect that they are biased on the issue. He stated:
“You have stores in this city selling clothes made by little kids overseas and no one is talking about banning them. But pets are close to people’s hearts and I know that’s the way it is — they’re close to my heart too, and I have hundreds of happy customers over many years.”
However the council members maintain that this is not the first time they have received complaints about HarMar Pet Shoppe. A Facebook search of the shop’s name brings up dozens of results for protests against the store and complaints of deplorable conditions. Many refer to the pet store as a “little shop of horrors.”
Although a city ordnance is yet to be drafted, Papineau says he can “see the writing on the wall.” He has not yet decided whether he will change with the times and adopt the newer business model of helping customers connect with rescue animals, or if he will close shop.
Council Member Tammy McGehee has pledged her assistance to Papineau should he decide to stay open:
“I want to terminate puppy mills coming into the city and assist Mr. Papineau in rounding the corner toward having a successful business.”
Featured Image via Facebook/Pet Shop Watch Minnesota
H/T to StarTribune.com
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