Berkley Moves Closer to Banning Sale of Pets in Stores
(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 13, 2023)
Berkley, MI – Berkley City Council passed the first reading of an ordinance to prohibit the selling of dogs or cats in stores, leaving off an amendment that would give existing pet-sale businesses six months of time to operate. The ordinance would not impact the operations of nonprofit animal rescue organizations.
At issue is a new business called Puppygram at 28297 Suite B Woodward Ave, just south of 12 Mile Road. Members of the public, including those in the animal rescue world, have been reaching out to City Hall, protesting, and speaking out on social media against Puppygram, with concerns about the care of the animals. The thought of adorable puppies spending hours in brightly lit cages in a store are only overshadowed by the conditions at large-scale breeding operations that activists call puppy mills.
WXYZ investigated owner Miles Handy and found that a past store of his used high-volume suppliers.
Yet Handy says the animals at Puppygram come mainly from licensed breeders, with some coming from hobby breeders as well. “We can agree on one thing. We hate puppy mills just as much as everybody here hates puppy mills,” Handy said at the March 6 council meeting. He said having a store like Puppygram helps those who want a dog to avoid online scams. “Our breeders are licensed and inspected,” he said.
Handy invested over $100,000 in opening Puppygram, with no ordinances against pet stores in place at the time of making his investment. He received his business license and passed inspections. If the ordinance is passed without the amendment, he will immediately have to stop sales. If the six month grace period is allowed, he will have to stop selling animals at that time.
Handy invited members of City Council to talk with him and visit the store before making a final decision.
Several members of the public spoke at the meeting in favor of the ban. Among them was Franklin resident Lauren Delager who is a Humane Policy Volunteer for Humane Society of the United States. “Puppy selling pet stores are part of a greater pipeline which funnels sick and inhumanely bred puppies into the hands of consumers. The whole system lacks transparency. Puppy buyers don’t know the cruelty they’re supporting at puppy mills. There are many recorded animal rights violations and hundreds of dogs confined to small cages for the entirety of their lives.” She suggested the Puppygram could transition their business model to selling pet supplies, not the pets themselves.
March 6 was the first reading of the ordinance. The ban would not be official until a second round of voting by council members, which is expected at the March 20 meeting.
Council members voted unanimously for the ban at first reading.
A handful of cities in Michigan have banned the sale of dogs, which includes neighboring Royal Oak.
Lean more about this and other city council related topics at www.berkleymich.org. Find more local stories on the Berkley News Page.