City of Berkley Bans Retail Pet Stores From Selling Dogs, Cats  and Rabbits

The Berkley City Council has approved a new ordinance that prohibits retail pet stores in the city from selling dogs, cats and rabbits.

The ordinance was approved by a unanimous vote during the council’s meeting Sept. 18 following eight months of community feedback and City-led research on retail pet stores. Under the new rules, a retail pet store in Berkley cannot sell, adopt, exchange, transfer or offer for sale, adoption, exchange or transfer dogs, cats and rabbits beginning Oct. 18.

The ordinance enables a retail pet store already operating in the city and in compliance and good standing with applicable state laws and city ordinances that is selling dogs, cats and rabbits to continue to do so at its current location for the duration of its current lease and any optional lease extension at the time of the ordinance adoption.

“Through listening to community members and working to better understand how and where pet retail businesses receive animals, we have learned most of these animals are sourced from large-scale inhumane commercial breeding facilities where their health and welfare are  disregarded in order to maximize profits,” Mayor Bridget Dean said. “We also have learned pet store consumers often end up with sick animals, large veterinary bills and the heartbreak of caring for sick animals or, in some cases, having a new pet die. 

“Absent of federal and state regulations, this new ordinance enables the City of Berkley to address the animal welfare and consumer protection issues associated with the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores. This also establishes Berkley as a model for other communities that may be considering ways to protect animals and consumers.”

Berkley’s new ordinance does not prohibit a retail pet store from collaborating with and providing space to an animal protection shelter or an animal control shelter to showcase dogs, cats or rabbits available for adoption on a not-for-profit basis

In approving the ordinance, the City Council said the ban would not negatively affect the vast majority of pet stores, both large chains and small locally owned shops, since they do not sell dogs, cats and rabbits. These stores sell pet food and products and offer in-demand services. 

A violation of the ordinance is a civil infraction and punishable by a fine of not more than $500 and/or other penalties as authorized in city code. 


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