The Bloomington City Council voted to prohibit the sale of cats and dogs from local pet shops Wednesday. The ordinance would fine each store $500 per violation and go into effect Jan. 1, 2023, to allow local pet shops to adjust to the change.
Council members also finalized a “Sibling City” relationship with the city of Palo Alto, California.
Pet Store Restrictions
First introduced in a council meeting Nov. 17, this ordinance is co-sponsored by councilmembers Susan Sandberg, Isabel Piedmont-Smith and Dave Rollo and attempts to reduce the demand for dogs and cats originating from puppy or kitty mills, according to council documents. The ordinance passed 8-0.
These puppy and kitty mills often ignore the needs of both the parent animals and their offspring in order to maximize the production volume and subsequent profits, Samantha Morton, Indiana State Director at the Humane Society of the United States, said in the council’s Nov. 17 meeting.
“The regulations that we currently have are insufficient to catch those issues,” Piedmont-Smith said. “There's no verification of the humane conditions of breeding.”
Morton said this legislation is especially important now because the Humane Society has evidence to suggest puppy and kitty-selling pet stores are opening just east of the Illinois-Indiana border subsequent to similar prohibition laws passed in Illinois.
“We believe that there will be even more stores that come into the state of Indiana,” Morton said.
Sandberg acknowledged the pushback the council received from members of the public. She argued, however, they heard more of their constituents supporting this initiative and voicing their concerns regarding these mills.
“This has been a community concern for a number of years,” Sandberg said. “A lot of people are urging us to bring this forward.”
The First Domestic Sibling City Relationship
Council members unanimously approved the proposed “Sibling Cities” agreement between Bloomington and the city of Palo Alto, California, essentially finalizing the partnership between the two cities. Mayor John Hamilton’s administration announced plans to form this agreement during a conference Nov. 9.
Sibling Cities USA is a national non-profit organization focused on bridging divides between cities in different parts of the country in order to help reduce the polarization in contemporary social and political spheres.
“The idea really is to help knit our country back together,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said there is uncertainty of success with this new domestic agreement going forward. He said the city plans to form a report that the cities’ councils will review annually.
Although regionally different, Bloomington and Palo Alto are both metropolitan cities that contain major research universities with Stanford University located just outside of Palo Alto. Many council members embraced these differences, hoping they could inform future council legislation and initiatives.
“I’m excited about our two cities leading the way on what we hope to become a national program that would encourage more and more cities to form these relationships,” Palo Alto Mayor Tom DuBois said during the meeting.