November 14, 2018

Atlanta Outlaws the Retail Sale of Pet Store Puppies and Kittens

Black lab puppies

Last week, the Atlanta City Council passed an ordinance prohibiting the retail sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores. With the Mayor’s approval yesterday, Atlanta joins eight other Georgia cities—along with hundreds of towns and cities across the country—that have taken action to ban pet store sales of commercially bred puppies and kittens in an effort to protect consumers, animals and public health.

Atlanta City Council Member Amir R. Farokhi
Atlanta City Council Members Amir R. Farokhi (sponsor) and Carla Smith (co-sponsor). Puppy from Atlanta Humane Society.

Atlanta-based members of the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade spoke up in support of the measure and Atlanta policymakers responded, passing it into law. We commend this historic decision that will improve the lives of suffering animals trapped in the commercial breeding industry. Atlanta currently has no stores that sell dogs and cats, but this law will ensure that cruelly bred animals are kept out of the city’s pet stores for good.

“Pet stores have been the primary sellers of cruelly bred puppy mill puppies, and these unscrupulous retail outlets profit from breeding practices that can cause animals to suffer from illness and congenital problems,” says Jennifer Hobgood, Director of State Legislation for the ASPCA, Southeast Region. “We thank Councilmember Amir Farokhi for leading this effort to ensure that pet stores that perpetuate the cycle of animal cruelty will not be able to set up shop in the city of Atlanta.”

Atlanta City Councilmembers
Back row left to right: Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore, Atlanta City Council Member Amir R. Farokhi (sponsor); Front row left to right: Atlanta City Council Member Carla Smith (co-sponsor), Jen Hobgood (ASPCA), Tamara Feliciano (ASPCA). Puppies from Atlanta Humane Society.

Most puppies sold in pet stores come from commercial breeding operations that prioritize profit over the wellbeing of the animals or consumers. Dogs at these facilities are generally kept in crowded, unsanitary conditions without adequate access to food, water, veterinary care or socialization. As a result, many of them suffer severe health and behavioral issues—and families are often unprepared for the financial loss and heartbreak that come with buying a sick puppy.

But Atlanta’s major victory proves that public awareness of how animals are treated in our nation’s cruel commercial breeding industry is growing, and thankfully, humane-minded leaders like the measure’s sponsor, Councilmember Farokhi, are taking a stand for animal welfare.

The ASPCA thanks the Atlanta City Council and Mayor Keisha Bottoms for enacting this lifesaving law. For more information on the ASPCA’s efforts to crack down on puppy mill cruelty across the country, please visit aspca.org/barredfromlove.