Following a year long debate, the Cambridge City Council approved a ban on August 7th, prohibiting the retail of commercially bred animals. Over 250 localities have banned the sale of commercially raised dogs and cats. However, Cambridge is striving to leave no pets behind, as their ban includes the retail sale of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, arachnids, and small pets such as hamsters and gerbils, making this measure one of the strongest of its kind. Vice Mayor Marc McGovern, who proposed the ban in 2016 stated, “The pet shop industry cannot and has not been able to weed out bad breeders, and they do business with bad breeders, and I can’t turn a blind eye to that." 'Bad breeders' is putting it mildly, among several cruelty cases regarding puppy-mills, investigations revealing a commercial pet supplier of Petco and PetSmart was guilty of abuse, torture, severe neglect and the freezing of live animals were brought to light last year. According to the Boston Globe, Marcie Whichard, Petco VP of industry and public affairs, stated in a letter to the council, “25 percent of our floor space would be nonoperational," if the ban were approved. The Cambridge Council wisely saw past that argument, acknowledging not only the egregious cruelty committed by commercial breeders but also a point made by McGovern, that according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), live animal purchases made up a mere 3% of the $67 billion spent on pet-related purchases in the US during 2016. The Cambridge Chronicle shared that the ban will take effect in about a year and excludes home breeders, 'such as people who have a litter of dogs in their home and want to sell the puppies.' However, as far as Cambridge retailers are concerned, they will now be contributing to the rehoming of the overwhelming amount of amazing animals that are rescued or surrendered by people who purchase animals from pet stores each year. If stores choose to continue buying and selling animals from inhumane commercial breeders and mills, they will not be welcome in Cambridge any longer.
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