Fayetteville prohibits retail sale of dogs, cats

FAYETTEVILLE — The sale of dogs and cats in retail outlets will be prohibited in the city in 30 days after a City Council vote Tuesday.

The council voted 9-0 on the measure but stopped short of enacting an emergency clause that would have it take effect immediately. The ordinance prohibits the sale of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens in retail stores unless from or in cooperation with the city’s animal shelter or another shelter or nonprofit organization approved by the city’s animal services division.

Council members debated the issue for nearly two hours. Much of the discussion focused on one pet store in particular, Petland, which has a location in Rogers and has plans to open in Fayetteville.

City Attorney Kit Williams said the measure would not prevent a particular business from setting up shop in the city but would prevent a specific kind of sale of dogs and cats. The city already prohibits the sale of animals in parking lots.

Puppies sold in retail outlets often come from high-volume breeding facilities, commonly known as “puppy mills,” said Animal Services Director Justine Lentz. Those facilities often put animals in deplorable conditions, and the retail sale of the animals helps increase demand, she said.

The measure the council adopted will not affect small-scale breeding operations, Lentz said. Stores can still operate as a pet supply business and offer animals through an adoption process. Stores such as Petco and PetSmart have corporate mandates against the sale of dogs and cats and offer pets in partnership with the city’s animal shelter or local nonprofit rescue organizations, she said.

Samantha and Ryan Boyle, owners of the Petland franchise in Rogers, said the store’s animals do not come from puppy mills. The couple said they make sure the animals come from places that take care of them and their care continues once in the store.

Only offering animals from shelters or nonprofit organizations would not follow the store’s business model, Samantha Boyle said. However, she offered to work with the city’s animal shelter to hold adoption events.

Council member Holly Hertzberg said she wasn’t aware of any particular business coming to town when she co-sponsored the measure with council member Sarah Bunch. Hertzberg said the proposal was about the care of animals, and she encouraged the rest of the council to consider the measure based on its merits.

Mayor Lioneld Jordan expressed support for the measure, saying proper care of animals is part of his values.

“I believe this type of ordinance needs to be passed, not because of this business, but because it’s the right thing to do,” he said.

A vote to have the measure take immediate effect failed 4-4. Hertzberg, Bunch, Sonia GutiĆ©rrez Harvey and D’Andre Jones voted in favor. Mark Kinion, Mike Wiederkehr, Sloan Scroggin and Teresa Turk voted against. Wiederkehr said he felt the emergency clause tied the measure too closely to Petland.

In other business, the council voted 9-0 to hold a proposal to adjust water and sewer rates until December. Under the proposal, rates largely would change for customers outside the city limits.

The city provides water service for Farmington, Goshen, Greenland, Wheeler and portions of Johnson. Elkins and West Fork receive wholesale water service. Farmington, Greenland, Johnson and West Fork also receive sewer service through the city, and Elkins also receives wholesale sewer service.

The mayors of West Fork and Farmington spokes to the council. West Fork Mayor Heith Caudle said the proposal would drastically increase the base rate for residents. He said the city would run the risk of defaulting with higher sewer rates in particular. Caudle asked that his city receive wholesale sewer service like it does with water.

Farmington Mayor Ernie Penn questioned the proposed rates. Jordan said the city’s service agreement with Farmington has expired, and the administration needed time to negotiate a new agreement that could affect the proposed rates.

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