St. Paul considering banning stores from selling pets from puppy and kitten mills

The city of St. Paul is considering an ordinance that would prevent pet stores from selling pets from puppy and kitten mills.

St. Paul would join Roseville and Eden Prairie in adopting a humane pet store ordinance.

Currently, St. Paul doesn’t have a single pet shop this would impact, but the council member sponsoring the change says it’s about being proactive.

Every day, the owner of Four Paws and a Tail posts adorable videos online of the puppies for sale at her pet shop, which has been in the same Blaine location for 40 years.

“All the puppies come from licensed, regulated breeders. I personally visit each and every one and make sure the puppies I sell to my customers are coming from a place where I would feel comfortable getting my puppy from myself,” said Kristin Smith, the owner of Four Paws and a Tail.

Smith is once again the only person advocating against a pet shop ordinance being proposed, this time in St. Paul.  

It would prevent dogs or cats from being sold at pet stores within the city limits, but would allow pet shops to partner with animal shelters and rescues.

“So, the hope is that ensures there are no sale of animals that have been raised in cruel or neglectful environments, but does encourage pet stores and people to adopt from a shelter,” Smith added.

A number of supporters of the ordinance amendment want more ordinances like this to help reduce the overall demand for mass-produced puppies and kittens, while also protecting animals from various the health and behavior issues often associated with puppy mills.

“It also becomes a consumer issue because they may be uninformed,” said Councilor Rebecca Noecker, a Sponsor of the amendment. “They may not know where the animal came from or the breeding animals left behind.”

Across the Minnesota Animal Humane Society alone, roughly 23,000 animals are looking to be adopted each year, which is perhaps the largest reason why advocates acknowledge the goal is to put puppy and kitten mills out of business, not pet shops.

“There’s many examples, like Chuck and Dons, that have transitioned to this model and are very successful,” said Ann Olson, the founder of Animal Folks.

“People have a lot of questions and they assume the answers rather than asking,” said Kathy Mock, of the Animal Humane Society.

To date, more than 280 jurisdictions across the country, plus two states have similar restrictions.

St Paul is expected to become the third city in the state when its City Council votes next week.