Under Bloomington ordinance, pet stores could sell only rescue, shelter animals

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (WTHR) - Bloomington's animal control commission wants new restrictions put on pet stores selling dogs and cats.

Proponents insist they want to ensure animals are safe and well cared for and not coming from abusive breading operations. But one store owner told Eyewitness News she might be forced out of business.

The goal of the ordinance is to go after puppy mills. Some stores, though, believe they will get caught in the crossfire.

Bloomington's pet stores would still be allowed to sell puppies and cats, but "they would have to come from a shelter or a rescue operation," said Rebecca Warren, chairman of Bloomington animal control commission.

Warren is also executive director of the Monroe County Humane Association. She said the goal is to make sure all animals are safe and well cared for.

"And that includes knowing animals are going to come into our community aren't going to be sourced from a puppy mill or an inhume situation," she said.

The proposal took pet store owners by surprise.

"It is pretty much going to ruin our business," said Karen Kidwell.

Kidwell founded Delilah's Pet Shop almost 30 years ago. She says she buys puppies and kittens from individuals, never pet brokers or puppy mills. Buyers who outgrow a pet can bring it back. Kidwell promises to find the pet a good new home.

"Instead of going to the source of the problem, they are causing grief on the stores because they are an easy mark," she said.

The ordinance, according to Warren, would put more attention on shelters that are always full of pets waiting to be adopted.

"Nationwide and particularly in the midwest, we have a puppy mill problem," Warren said, adding she is not aware of any puppy mills operating in the county. Regulating puppy and kitten sales is part of the solution, she said.

In order for the proposal to become an ordinance, it has to go through the city council for a vote and then onto the mayor's office, a process that could take weeks, possibly months.

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