COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (KRDO) – UPDATE, 8 P.M. TUESDAY
In a close vote after a long meeting, city council failed to pass a proposed pet store ordinance that would have banned the sale of puppies and kittens at the city’s two pet stores.
Just before 7:30 p.m., after four hours of public commentary, council voted 5-4 against passing the ordinance.
The Animal Humane Society and animal rights activists believed that Pet town, located in the city’s two malls, gets his dogs and cats from kennels known for their inhumane treatment and conditions – a charge that Pet town owners have repeatedly denied.
Some council members said they opposed the order because it targeted Pet town, risked bankrupting long-standing family stores and did nothing to address the fundamental problem of clean ranchers in other places.
To that end, Councilor Wayne Williams proposed an amended version of the ordinance that would have included any breeder with annual sales of over $ 10,000, but it narrowly failed by a 5-4 vote.
âI am relieved and upset,â said Bree Maestas, owner of Pet City’s Citadelle shopping center store. “I really listened to what the Council members said today. I think there can be better results by not enacting a ban on businesses.”
Maestas said that a fifth of their animals come from certified breeders and are working hard to increase that percentage by ending associations with questionable breeders and seeing more breeders get certified.
City Councilor Nancy Henjum, who confessed she didn’t know how she would vote until the end, expressed hope that Pet City and animal rights activists in the future would do better to work together to put end to the breeding of pets.
About 400 municipalities in 31 states, including 10 in Colorado, have ordinances regulating the sale of pets in pet stores.
Council President Tom Strand – who introduced the draft ordinance – on Wednesday said he was not giving up the possibility of developing another version in the future.
(PREVIOUS STORY – TUESDAY NOV 9 5:45 PM)
City council is in its third hour of public hearing on a draft ordinance to ban the sale of dogs and cats in local pet stores
The hearing began just before 3 p.m. Tuesday and 41 people were registered to speak on both sides of the issue.
Many supporters of the ordinance wore red shirts with the slogan “Vote yes for the puppies.”
Council members expect to discuss and vote on the ordinance late in the evening.
There were only standing places for the audience, with over 75 people crammed into the Council Chamber; additional chairs were brought in just before.
The first two responders were Amy Jesse of the Animal Humane Society – who helped draft the ordinance – and animal rights activist Julia Archer.
Both back the ordinance, saying many pet stores buy their animals from puppy or kitten factories where they are treated inhumanely.
“We will support you, Pet Town, to support the transition to a humane business model that does no harm – visible or invisible, âsaid Archer.
Pet town owns the only two retail pet stores in town, and the owners have repeatedly denied purchasing animals from top-notch suppliers.
âWe shouldn’t be vetted by special interest groups that are unwilling to work with us,â said Dustin Haworth, owner of Pet town in the Citadelle shopping center. âAll-or-nothing orders like this will do nothing to affect animal welfare in Colorado Springs.
The owners have said the pets they are currently obtaining are from more reliable licensed breeders than getting animals from legitimate shelters and rescues, as the order would require.
KRDO NewsChannel 13 has a team that is attending the hearing and will provide updates.
(PREVIOUS STORY – MONDAY, NOV 8)
The city is getting closer to passing an ordinance banning the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores, and a possible fine of $ 500 for violators.
In a city council working session on Monday, President Tom Strand introduced the draft ordinance that would ban such sales unless the pets come from shelters, rescues, licensed breeders and other legitimate animal organizations.
The proposed ordinance requires stores to display that their animals are from legitimate sources and have documentation to prove it.
During a council discussion on the matter in late February, Strand said an ordinance is needed as many pet stores across the country sell dogs and cats purchased from puppy and kitten mills, and federal laws and states do not provide sufficient prevention or enforcement.
However, the Colorado legislature passed a law that came into effect in September, requiring more transparency from pet stores about where they get their animals – but Stand said that doesn’t go far enough. .
These factories are known for the inhumane treatment of animals and living conditions that promote infection that can be transmitted to humans.
A local pet store, Pet town – with branches in the city’s two malls – has been accused by animal rights activists and concerned citizens of selling pets in factories; these are the only retail stores in town that sell pets.
These reviews have linked Pet town to four dubious factories or ranchers in Kansas, Indiana, and Wisconsin.
Monday, Pet town the owners again denied the charges and said the order would bankrupt their stores.
âWe have tried to work with city council to get back to where we were 18 months ago, for more transparency and reasonable restrictions for pet stores,â said Dustin Haworth, owner of Pet town at Chapel Hills Mall. “We think this ordinance is too strict.”
Bree Maestas, owner of Pet town at Citadel Mall, said the two stores recently passed unannounced state inspections.
âThere are responsible breeders and there are irresponsible breeders,â she said. “We buy our puppies from reputable breeders. It makes no sense to stop doing that and just rely on rescues and shelters where we don’t know the origin of the animals.”
Pet town has been in Colorado Springs for 52 years.
Council expects to vote on the ordinance at Tuesday’s regular meeting after a public hearing in which nearly 30 people registered to speak.
In the remaining cases, the Board considered a revised version of a draft ordinance regulating car shelters.
The latest version emphasizes architectural styles to ensure that a carport is not too intrusive and blends in with the surrounding neighborhood.
City Councilor Nancy Henjum expressed concern that acceptable carports are more expensive than unacceptable models and asked city staff to come back with estimated cost differences.
Some council members feel the revised ordinance is too strict and offers no flexibility to owners whose existing carports may be slightly below the new standard.
“I wouldn’t recommend that we lower our standards,” said Peter Wysocki, the city’s director of planning and community development.
Council will hold a public hearing on the revised order on November 23 and may be ready to vote on the same day; the extended moratorium on citations for carport violations ends on December 4.
During Council’s lunch break, members discussed the process of replacing the soon-to-vacant seat of longtime city councilor Richard Skorman, who announced his resignation last week.
Applicants can start applying on Wednesday, with a deadline of November 23. The Council (with the exception of Skorman) will interview candidates on December 13. The best candidate will be sworn in on January 10.
Last year, the Council appointed Mike O’Malley to serve the remainder of Andy Pico, who was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives. There were eight initial candidates, but four dropped out along the way.
In 2006, Skorman left during his second term to work for former US Senator from Colorado, Ken Salazar. The Board nominated Bernie Herpin from among 30 candidates. Herpin then served as a state senator.