Louisville Metro Councilman introduces ordinance to prohibit sale of dogs, cats at pet stores

Louisville Metro Councilman introduces ordinance to prohibit sale of dogs, cats at pet stores

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – The Louisville Metro Council is considering an ordinance that would ban the retail sale of cats and dogs in pet stores and outdoor spaces like flea markets and parking lots.

It would give pet stores one year to phase out the sale of pets before it is enacted and would not impact the adoption process at local shelters.

District 20 Councilman Stuart Benson introduced the ordinance.

“This ordinance was created as a result of my work with non-profits and animal advocates as well as constituents who have contacted my office regarding a variety of problems they have had with puppy mills as well as businesses that utilize them,” Benson said in a statement. “This ordinance is focused on improving the living conditions for animals sold within Metro pet stores and encouraging the adoption of rescued and otherwise abandoned dogs and cats.  I appreciate the support this ordinance has already received and hope to have this ordinance passed by the Metro Council’s Safety Committee in the coming weeks”

One of the local pet stores that the city has received complaints about is PuppyGram on Hurstborne Parkway.

The company has locations in Louisville, Indianapolis, and metro Detroit.

PuppyGram claims they do not utilize puppy mills. However, in a Facebook Page encouraging families to boycott PuppyGram and the company’s other store Pet’s Choice, several users claim they’ve purchased puppies from the stores that have later gotten sick.

Brian Halfacre of Mt. Washington said that’s exactly what happened to his family.

He said his kids fell in love with their puppy Kate back in April when they wandered into PuppyGram not knowing anything about the store.

However, shortly after they took Kate home, they noticed her coughing.

“They said there was a case of kennel cough there at the store and that it would resolve on its own usually, so we weren’t overly concerned about it,” Halfacre said. “But we took her to the vet as soon as possible.”

That cough turned out to be a severe case of pneumonia that required Kate to be hospitalized for three days.

“It had stemmed from the Bordetella virus, which is kennel cough,” Halfacre said. “It was never treated at PuppyGram. They didn’t tell us about that.”

He believes the vaccination records he was given by PuppyGram were inaccurate.

“For instance, the Bordetella virus vaccine that she received four or five times, it’s on the document,” Halfacre said. “The puppy should not receive the same vaccine that many times. So when I asked PuppyGram about that they said that’s when it was scheduled, not when it was administered.”

He purchased Kate for $2,900, her hospital stay cost the family another $3,500, and he estimates they’ve spent another $1,000 on vet visits for things like X-rays, medication, and blood work. That makes a grand total estimate of $7,400 he’s had to pay.

He said PuppyGram refused to help with any of those bills.

“They refused to do anything to help,” Halfacre said. “They said they can’t be responsible for what happens after the pet leaves the store. But the problem was, she was sick when she left the store.”

Todd Blevins, the Kentucky State Director with the Humane Society, said pet stores often receive puppies from high-volume, out-of-state breeders, and they’ll often get sick while being transported.

“These puppies are transported in cargo vans or similar vehicles most of the time,” Blevens said. “If one puppy in those crowded conditions is sick, if it has some sort of respiratory illness, then most of the other puppies by the time they arrive at the pet store may very well be sick as well.”

He says it can sometimes be impossible to tell if a puppy is sick at the store.

“When you see the puppy in the pet shop window, it may look perfectly healthy,” Blevens said. “But by the time it gets home, sometimes even within hours of getting home, it’s developed some kind of sickness.”

We reached out to PuppyGram about the ordinance who gave us this statement:

“We are against any ordinance that would reduce individual’s rights to choose where they obtain their pets from, whether that be a shelter, rescue league or PuppyGram. We firmly believe the consumer should have the choice.”

Halfacre believes it’s impossible to make an informed choice when pet stores aren’t honest about a puppy’s medical issues.

Now that Metro Council is taking action, he hopes other families won’t end up in the same situation.

“I’ve come to learn that any business that sells puppies for profit is not properly taking care of these animals,” Halfacre said. “It’s all about profit, and they don’t care. Once it leaves their store, they don’t care what happens to the animal.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *