By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner staff
On June 2, 2020, Whitewater became the first municipality in the state of Wisconsin to prohibit the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores. Similar laws are on the books in many states and municipalities around the nation. Council member Brienne Brown, who initially introduced an ordinance that would only prohibit the sales of cats and dogs, indicated that the prohibition was supported by Me & My Pets, Albert’s Dog Lounge, Community Cat, Touched by a Paw, and the Jefferson County Humane Society. Currently there are no pet stores selling those animals in the city, but Ms. Brown felt that it was appropriate to be proactive on this issue. Local citizens and representatives of several organizations spoke in favor of the ordinance, with no one speaking against.
It was indicated that most of the dogs and cats that are sold in pet stores come from “puppy mills” and “kitten mills,” where the animals are held in confined conditions with little socialization. Oftentimes purchasers buy on impulse, even on credit at a high interest rate, and end up with an animal that is unhealthy and requires large expenditures in vet care, and behavior issues are also frequent. In the course of discussion, it was proposed to add rabbits to the prohibition, as the State Director of the U.S. Humane Society, Megan Nicholson, indicated that especially at Easter time, parents buy rabbits for their children, not recognizing that a rabbit can live for ten years. Ultimately many of the rabbits are surrendered to shelters.
Per the online news site, OnFocus, Megan Nicholson, State Director for the U.S. Humane Society, stated, “We are extremely proud of Whitewater. Residents, local businesses and area rescues and shelters came together to proactively protect their community from puppy-selling pet stores and their predatory lending practices. Pet stores that sell puppies often source them for puppy mills. The good citizens of Whitewater have made it clear that they do not support the cruel puppy mill industry and we hope that more localities follow their lead.” For the article, click here.