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  • Writer's pictureSydney Seegers

Arkansas Law Prevents Cities from Banning the Retail Sale of Pets

On April 14, Gov. Sarah Huckabee-Sanders signed legislation changing a 30 year old law. Starting this August, cities in Arkansas will no longer have the authority to ban pet stores from selling dogs and cats.

HB 1591 is an amendment of the Arkansas Retail Pet Store Consumer Protection Act of 1991, the act “requires certain guarantees from retail pet stores to the citizens who buy dogs and cats. Breeding kennels and catteries are excluded from this act, as are animal shelters and incorporated humane societies.”

This law started from a legal dispute between the city of Fayetteville and Petland of Fayetteville.

In July of last year the Fayetteville City Council without opposition passed a city ordinance that banned retail pet stores from selling dogs and cats unless they come from a shelter or rescue center.

Lions Chronicle reached out to Petland for an interview and their Lawyer George Rozzell replied, “With our client's case with the City of Fayetteville still ongoing, I have advised not to make any comment on the enactment of House Bill 1591.”

Rozzell mentioned how it could affect the Fort Smith area.

“Other than to say that this Act will allow for certainty for Registered (as required by Arkansas Law) Pet Stores to conduct business around the state, As for Fort Smith pet sales in particular, this Act only applies to regulation of Registered Arkansas Retail Pet Stores, and so cities would of course have the liberty to further regulate hobby or other breeders within the city limits if any so chose.”

We asked UAFS students what they think of the House Bill, Adrianne Kuykendall who actively volunteers with local animal shelters and a heart of animals shared, “I do not like that cities will not be able to regulate the retail sale of pets. The reason I don't like this is because it can promote more backyard/unethical breeding of cats and dogs.”

“An example is golden doodles becoming super popular and almost everyone is selling doodles it seems like. Now you’re seeing an increase of shelters posting goldendoodles needing homes because the people thought they were so cute though a pet store and didn't realize how much work it actually is to take care of a doodle breed.”

“I also believe that it will harm shelters more because they are going to be the ones who are having to take in unwanted dogs afterwards and some will have to be euthanized. I like that Fayetteville was trying to only do the retail sale of dogs/cats in the shelters, because it gives those dogs a home or needs a second chance at a home because hardly anyone bats an eye to the shelters, speaking for someone who volunteers at one.”

“Since retail stores now can't be regulated, they can get puppies however they want and that may cause them to reach puppy mills and such.”


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