Midvale City Council seeks to ban pet stores within city limits

MIDVALE, Utah -- Midvale City Council gathered Tuesday night to pass a city ordinance banning pet stores. The topic was one of many on the agenda, and follows a similar ordinance passed by Sandy City in May.

“We had good feedback with council members, and they decided to put in on the agenda tonight,” said Deann Shepherd with the Humane Society of Utah. She said the organization first approached the city last month, and says it’s in talks with other cities to follow suit.

The ordinance seeks to ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in city limits. The irony is that there are no pet stores that sell those animals in Midvale.

“It’s a preemptive order to prevent stores from opening to sell puppies,” Shepherd said.  “It is a buyer beware state, and when you buy a pet, the responsibility falls on you as a pet owner,” Shepherd said of not being allowed to returned pets if needed.

Shepherd says that often times pet stores sell animals that are too young and it compromises their immune systems, and behavioral characteristics as a result. She said many times, those dogs end up at the Humane Society.

“I think it’s pretty short sighted,” counters Lizzy Hulet, owner of a pet store in West Jordan.

Hulled argues it’s unfair to paint all pet stores with a broad stroke.

“It’s not a, ‘here’s your puppy. Go home and good luck,” she said of her store. Even though it’s not required by state law, Hulet says she offers refunds for sick animals and even goes beyond the requirements for animals brought into the shelter.

She aknowledges other pet stores may not operate as well as hers, but does offer suggestions to help remedy the problem instead of eliminating pet stores altogether.

“I don’t believe we should be selling mixed breed puppies because I believe that’s what’s contributing to the huge pet overpopulation problems that we got.”