Ordinance won’t stop root of ‘puppy mill’ problem

Sometimes, bans just scratch the surface of a bigger issue.

Last week, the Columbus City Council approved an ordinance on first reading to prohibit the sale of cats, dogs and rabbits at local pet shops.

In the city, just one business, Rural King, which sells rabbits as livestock, would be impacted by the ordinance.

Currently, all pet shops in Columbus work with adoption groups and rescues when helping cats and dogs find homes. These are fantastic programs that get pets to loving families and off the streets and out of shelters.

It’s hard to argue that “puppy mills,” and associated operations that compromise animal welfare, shouldn’t be condemned, but creating an ordinance for a problem that isn’t prevalent to the city isn’t needed at this time — and won’t solve the overall issue.

The residents of Columbus have ultimately decided they will not support for-profit animal sales. If there was a market for such a business, and puppy mills felt welcomed into the city, they would already have a presence.

In addition, should any new retail pet supply company move into town, 24 out of the top 25 pet stores in North America don’t sell puppies or kittens, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

One of the arguments made by the council was that the ordinance would reduce the number of animals in shelters and promote adoption.

The issue of any overcrowding at the animal shelters isn’t puppy mills, but irresponsible pet owners.

The ordinance means well, but wouldn’t stop puppy mills outside of the city from doing business. If change is to be made, it needs to come at the county and/or state level.

Should the ordinance pass, it wouldn’t prevent someone from driving to the rural part of Bartholomew County and purchasing an animal.

Any time animal rights are brought up, it’s understandably an emotional subject.

At the same time, creating rules for hypothetical issues such as this doesn’t seem necessary. Should an influx of business applications for pet stores pop up, the council could revisit the proposed ordinance.

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