Cloquet bans sale of dogs, cats in pet stores in effort to curb puppy mills

The change will not affect local responsible breeders, according to Humane Society of the United States representative Wendy Pilot.

File: dogs
Two dogs available for adoption at the now-closed Friends of Animals Humane Society in Cloquet. (Jamie Lund / File / Pine Journal)

In an effort to reduce pet homelessness and mistreatment, a new city ordinance is prohibiting the sale of dogs and cats in Cloquet pet stores in an effort to stop puppy mills.

While Cloquet does not have any pet stores, Humane Society of the United States representative Wendy Pilot said it will protect the city from any future issues regarding irresponsible breeding.

A unanimous vote by the City Council on Tuesday, May 4, put the ordinance into effect, setting an administrative fine of $50 per violation.

"A significant number of puppies and kittens sold at pet stores come from large-scale, commercial-breeding facilities where the health and welfare of the animals are not adequately provided for," read the ordinance background, adding that current state and federal regulations do not properly address the sale of these animals in pet stores.

The ordinance was spearheaded by Ward 2 council member Sheila Lamb, who believes the change will align directly with the "pet-friendly" environment of Cloquet.



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“We have seen too many times where animals are just over and over again spit out by puppy mills without any regard to the health, safety and welfare of individual animals," Lamb said during a first reading of the ordinance April 20. “We need to step up and really be diligent with this issue.”
Lamb emphasized that with no animal shelters operating in Cloquet, it is crucial that the city take additional precautions when it comes to the buying and selling of animals. The city's only animal shelter, Friends of Animals Humane Society, closed in 2018.

Pilot, who specializes in animal policies and issues, explained that similar actions have been taken in other Minnesota cities, and that the ordinance will not affect responsible breeders.

She also mentioned that if pet stores were to open in the city, they could still host adoption events for shelter animals in addition to selling pet supplies.

According to a November story by the St. Paul Pioneer Press , only one pet store in Minnesota — Four Paws and a Tail, in Blaine — sells puppies. It is unclear if any stores in the state sell adult dogs.

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