CANTON, Ga. - It has become the first city in Georgia to outlaw the sale of cats and dogs in a retail setting. The move was decided Thursday evening at the Canton City Council meeting.
The mayor and council members publicly stated they supported the ordinance in an effort to prevent sales of puppy and kitty mill animals.
“We’re allowing these puppy mills to breed and breed and breed and sell to pet stores and it doesn’t make any sense,” Jolyn VanCamp told the council from the podium.
On the other side, many people wearing “no pet retail ban” shirts were opposed to the proposed ordinance.
Canton currently does not have any pet stores, so a ban would not affect any existing business.
Several people, like pet store owner Monte Brokate who owns Petland of Dalton and Petland of Rome, said the council is taking the wrong approach.
“If you want to stop puppy mills, you don’t get rid of the pet retail. A lot of puppy mills use the internet and they use flea markets,” Brokate told the council.
One pet store owner sent FOX 5 News pictures of a reputable breeder supplying dogs to his store.
Supporters presented FOX 5 with pictures of deplorable conditions of what they said were out-of-state breeders.
After input from both sides, the council briefly discussed their positions before unanimous approval of the ordinance.
Supporters of the pet store ban erupted in applause. Opponents quickly walked out.
Canton is now the first Georgia city to pass a no pet retail sales law, joining more than 200 cities nationwide with similar laws.
Hunt McDannald, who owns Petland Dunwoody, believes the ban was a political move.
“I find it very unfortunate. This is a pet band that doesn’t anything. This is a political statement by activists,” said McDannald.
Tamara Feliciano, an attorney who represents consumers who have been defrauded in animal sales, said it's a big victory.
“I think this is such a progressive move for Georgia and I'm so happy to see Canton be that trend setter,” said Feliciano.
The mayor of Canton said he expects some sort of a legal challenge to the new law which takes effect immediately.