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Dec 27, 2013 5:27 PM by Nathan O'Neal

Tucson could place ban on puppy-mill sales

TUCSON - While the City of Phoenix is weeks away from banning the sale of so-called "puppy-mill" dogs at pet shops within city limits, local leaders could soon follow suit.

The Phoenix ban requires stores to sell only animals from a shelter or rescue group.

Councilman Steve Kozachik is working up a proposal to keep puppy mills from having a place in the local market. Although he said that the ordinance Phoenix adopted was "too broad", Kozachik said that suppliers that churn out puppies for a profit without any regard for the animals' well-being should not be welcome in Tucson.

"They're just a dog broker... they take dogs from puppy mills and bundle them up and sell them in mass to retail outlets all over the country," Kozachik told News 4 Tucson.

However, he admits that there is some middle ground that needs to be found. Kozachik said if someone's dog has a litter, for example, and they want to take the puppies to a retail store or sell them to a friend, they should still be allowed to do so.

An ordinance that prevents puppy-mills from selling to retail stores could also open up partnerships with retailers to take in more shelter dogs. That is welcome news to volunteers at the Pima Animal Care Center, which is in the middle of an expansion to accommodate the overcrowding.

"Our expansions or attempts to take care of more of them is just a sign of our desire to save every pet that we can save and treat every pet that we can treat," said Kim Janes, of the PACC.

Janes said that the proposed law could be beneficial for the roughly 30,000 animals that flood local shelters each year.

"All I know is we would love to talk to pet stores to consider taking pets from shelters and particularly the Animal Care Center as their source for pets to sell in pet stores. That would be a great benefit to our shelter population," Janes said.

Kozachik is currently working on drafting language for the proposal. He expects to have something to show to the city council within the next few months for consideration.

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