Push for Blaine to prohibit pet stores from selling puppy mill puppies

Community members and humane organizations are calling on the city of Blaine to stop the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores.

At a high kill shelter, Maverick just needed a chance, and he got it with the Backes family - as did his sidekick, Kona.

Now, Kelly and NHL star David Backes are fighting for other dogs as they push for the city of Blaine to adopt what they call a humane pet store ordinance. The change would prohibit pet stores from selling puppies, which many say come from puppy mills.

"The conditions can be awful at these puppy mills and still be within some sort of government guidelines where they can be stacked on top of each other in cages. Some never get to touch grass their whole lives," David Backes said.  

Joining the effort is Angel’s Pet Store in Hudson, Wisconsin. For six years, Angel Duratti sold puppies, but that stopped 11 years ago.

"It gets hard on the heart," said Duratti. "It gets really, really heavy on the heart to be able to go to the consumer - and you want them to be able to trust you - and you can’t even trust the health of the dogs you’re getting," she said.

Duratti is hoping the 10 or so stores in Minnesota that still sell puppies will follow her lead selling products, services and hosting adoption events that save the lives of homeless dogs, cats, sugar gliders and other animals. 

She said if you’re worried about your bottom line, don’t. Business has actually increased as now instead of puppy mills, they partner with rescues who bring in a lot of customers.

"We took a chance," said Duratti. "The chance paid off. We turned to the newspaper, we took out big ads to let everyone know that we weren’t selling puppies anymore, that we were going humane and the future was rescues for us."

So far in Minnesota, the cities of Roseville, Eden Prairie, St. Paul, Carver and Cloquet have adopted humane pet store ordinances. 

The Backes family grew up in Blaine and are hoping the city they love is added to that list.

The issue of whether pet stores should be able to sell puppies in the city of Blaine still has a long way to go. Currently, some city council members that are part of a workshop simply agreed to talk about it some time in the future. What happens after that isn’t yet known.