By Andrea Cordle
Petland is coming to Grove City but not all city leaders are pleased about it.
At the Dec. 7 meeting, council approved a special use permit for the pet store, which will be located at 2740-2744 London-Groveport Road. The permit allows the sale of animals.
The measure passed with a 3-1 vote. Council president Ted Berry voted against the plan. Council members Jeff Davis, Maria Klemack-McGraw and Steve Bennett voted for the permit. Councilwoman Laura Lanese was not present at the meeting.
Berry said he could not support the legislation because of his research on Petland and its alleged relations with puppy mills.
“This helps an industry that I do not support,” said Berry. “All the other pet stores in the city do not sell puppies or kittens. They work with rescue groups or adoption agencies.”
Berry said he is now working on legislation that would make it impossible for a special use permit to be used to sell puppies, unless the sale involves an animal rescue group or adoption agency. This would not apply to Petland because its permit has already been approved in Grove City. This would pertain to any new establishment that wanted to sell puppies for profit.
Berry said the new legislation would also revoke any special use permit if it was proven that the company were selling animals obtained from a puppy mill.
“I want Petland to know this is coming down the pipeline,” he said.
Anthony Samples, vice president of corporate stores for Petland, said the company sells rabbits, hampsters, fish, reptiles and puppies.
He assured council that all the puppies sold at Petland are from United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved breeders.
“We do not work with breeders who have received a citation or a direct violation from the USDA,” said Samples. “We are very selective about who we get our puppies from.”
Samples also said Petland inspects its breeders and works with animal welfare groups to find homes for dogs and cats.
Berry said he has heard from many members of the community who are upset about Petland moving into Grove City and selling pure bred puppies.
“This is very personal to me and to many people,” said Berry. “Animals cannot speak for themselves. I want to make sure they are well cared for.”
Kaye Dickson, director of Franklin County Animal Care and Control, is in the business of caring for animals. She said she supports businesses that provide pet-friendly services and products, but said pet overpopulation is a local and national problem.
“It is a fallacy to think pure bred puppies, dogs, cats and kittens do not end up in shelters, because they do every day,” she said.
Dickson said she would support the retail sale of animals in pet stores only if all the animals sold were from local shelters and were spayed or neutered prior to adoption.
“Allowing the sale of unaltered pets simply magnifies the current pet overpopulation problem faced across the nation,” said Dickson. “It is difficult for me to comprehend why anyone would encourage, or support, the sale of unaltered dogs or cats knowing how many are euthanized in shelters across the country every day.”
Berry said he plans to contact State Senator Jim Hughes to propose state legislation that would ban the sale of pure bred puppies in retail stores.
Petland has been family-owned and operated for more than 26 years and is based out of Chillicothe. There are about 70 Petland stores across the country. According to Petland, all its facilities are American Kennel Club approved and inspected.