I understand Commissioner Gambrill’s concern that a Humane Pet Acquisition Ordinance might not tackle the root of the puppy mill problem, and while I disagree on that point, I also think that perspective overlooks a few important goals of the ordinance.
It is true that one goal of ending the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores is to help put a stop to the puppy mill problem, but that is not the only goal. Pet stores choose to do business with puppy mills, commercial breeding operations that prioritize profit over the welfare of the animals in their care. While bad for animals, this choice is also harmful to consumers and communities.
It is often the case that puppies sold in pet stores are sick because they were born in dirty puppy mills to stressed-out mothers, taken from their moms before they have strong, healthy immune systems, transported hundreds of miles in dark trucks full of other sick puppies, and placed into a store display case with still more sick, vulnerable puppies. This supply chain ends when a consumer purchases the sick puppy for thousands of dollars and then immediately must pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in veterinary bills to save its life, and often the puppy still dies. The puppy selling pet store industry is harmful and clearly doesn’t hold the same values and morals as most Cobb County residents.
Pet stores working with puppy mills also puts the larger community at risk of a disease outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control have released two reports in two years documenting a multidrug-resistant Campylobacter outbreak linked to pet store puppies. The outbreak has infected almost 150 people in over 20 states, causing 27 people to be hospitalized. Five cases have been confirmed in Georgia, including cases originating from the Cobb County pet store. In one case, a teenager who worked at a Petland store in Florida that is owned by the same individual that owns the store in Cobb County fell ill and has had neurological issues and now requires a wheelchair.
A Humane Pet Acquisition Ordinance in Cobb County will help animals, consumers and the community at large. I urge Cobb County Commissioners to pass this ordinance to take a stand against this truly harmful industry.