WEST JORDAN, Utah - Lizzie Hewlett originally wanted to open her store, Puppy Matchmakers, in Sandy, but when she applied for a business license and went to a town meeting as part of the process, she got a lot of pushback.
“Unfortunately I didn't feel like they knew a lot about me or about my business, which is brand new, and none of them had spoken with me before the meeting; but they came in with an agenda,” said Hewlett.
One of the people who attended that meeting is Deann Shepherd. She's the director of communications for the Humane Society of Utah and a Sandy resident.
Shepherd and other animal activists don't want to see stores like Hewlett’s selling puppies because they often come from inhumane situations.
“We can prevent stores from profiting off of these animals and encourage them to work with shelters and rescues to find homes for the homeless pets,” said Shepherd. “We think of puppy mills, we think of backyard breeders who are simply breeding their animal to sell for profit."
“While I respect 100 percent the agenda of protecting animals, they didn't know who we are and they didn't know what we do that's different,” said Hewlett.
The puppies at Puppy Matchmakers don't come from puppy mills. In fact, they actually have photos up of the parents of the dog, so it’s similar to the experience you would get at the breeder. You get to learn their temperament and play with them without actually having to go to the breeder.
“We go out in person to the homes where puppies were raised and we look at that environment and we make sure it’s an environment where a puppy has been treated well and it’s not this multi, multi, multi-dog facility,” said Hewlett.
Hewlett decided to open up her business in West Jordan instead, but Sandy city is still moving ahead with the ordinance to ban stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits.
“It’s still important to pass this ordinance to prevent any future stores from opening,” said Shepherd.
“I don’t think you can legislate for people what they want to have as a family member,” said Hewlett.