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On Monday, March 29, at 1:00pm, residents in Springfield, Massachusetts, can provide comment at the city’s General Government Committee meeting on a proposed ordinance amending Chapter 110, which includes a new section 110-14 to ban pet retail sales.

The new section would ban the sale of purpose-bred pets from state-inspected and licensed facilities, like pet shops, in favor of sales of animals obtained from shelters and rescues.  Approval of section 110-14, would tip the scales in favor of obtaining a dog, cat, or rabbit:

  • Off the internet, without the opportunity to first meet the pet;
  • Of unknown history and randomly sourced; or
  • Imported by a retailer, some of which market their pets as “rescues” and deliver them on a roadside, public right-of-way, commercial parking lot, flea market, or other outdoor market.

Unscrupulous online pet sellers and irresponsible pet importers frequently dupe pet buyers.  In 2019, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey filed lawsuits against two such bad actors.  One resulted in the re-payment of $480,000 to pet buyers deceptively sold sick puppies online that were claimed to be registered with AKC and microchipped but were not.   The other led to charges against an animal rescue operator unable to account for over $360,000 in charitable donations.

In addition, the proposal is inconsistent with state law as determined by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s review of a similar by-law adopted by the town of Holliston last year.  Cities and towns do not have authority to seize animals or establish $500 fines for violations of a pet retail ordinance or by-law.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:  Springfield residents are encouraged to register for the virtual General Government subcommittee meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 1:00pm on March 29, 2021, and share your concerns.  First, click here to insert your name and contact information.  Second, identify section 110-14 as the item you are commenting on.  You will receive an email with the zoom meeting participation information after registering.

AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide additional information as developments warrant.  For more information, contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org.

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