In an effort to crack down on puppy mills and BYBs (back yard breeders), Tulsa is taking aim at people selling puppies along roadway, right of ways, parking lots and outdoor areas.

Breeders and puppy millers tote boxes of puppies into Tulsa and set up wherever they can to grab the hearts of impulse purchasers who just can’t resist those cute cuddly little puppies. Far too often these impulse purchases wound up in shelters or abandoned when the puppy is no longer cute and little or when people find out just how much work and responsibility a puppy is. Many of the puppies, coming from puppy mills, wound up sick or diseased and the seller is no where to be found.

The problem is that many, if not all, of the breeders are not licensed to engage in outdoor retail sales.

It is illegal to sell retail items outdoors without a proper license. Violators can face up to a $500 fine plus court costs on each sale that is made.

Deputy Mayor Tom Baker signed an executive order Monday authorizing animal control officers to issue citations to animal sellers who do not have outdoor seller’s licenses.

“If you are on a street corner and you are selling animals, you need to have an outdoor vendor’s license and be paying sales tax and meeting other requirements,” said Jean Letcher, the manager of the city’s Animal Shelter.

It takes a special exception from the city’s Board of Adjustment to get an outdoor seller’s license. The Board of Adjustment process costs $700, said Duane Cuthbertson of the Indian Nations Council of Governments.

The city also requires a hobbyist license to breed animals in the city; otherwise, the city mandates that all animals be spayed or neutered after 6 months of age. A hobbyist permit is $25, with a $10 renewal fee.

The city law prohibiting outdoor selling has been on the books for some time and applies to all vendors, no matter the merchandise. It falls under the enforcement of the Police Department.

Susan Neal, who oversees the Animal Shelter for the Mayor’s Office, said animal control officers will work with the Police Department to step up the enforcement effort.

Neal said this is one small step that can be taken toward turning the animal issues around in Tulsa.

“This is another way to use a tool that we already have in place,” she said.

There is an overpopulation of unwanted animals, she said.

Letcher said she sought the executive order after animal control officers approached her about their inability to enforce the law.

“My animal control officers came to me saying that when they come across this situation, all they can do is run off the puppy seller, because they don’t have any enforcement authority,” said Letcher, who began working at the shelter April 1.

Letcher said the officers wanted some consequences for the violators.

“This is a way to give our officers another tool to help regulate the sale of animals and pet overpopulation in the city,” she said.

Letcher said some of these outdoor sellers are puppy mill operators or backyard breeders.

Puppy mills are characterized by a large number of small-breed animals bred for profit and housed in substandard kennels without adequate veterinary care, according to a Tulsa World investigation last year.

Neal said a person may buy an animal and be told that it has had its shots and is healthy, but often the owner finds out later that the animal is not healthy.

Then the owner is faced with the tough decision of whether to spend more money with a veterinarian or perhaps have no choice but to euthanize the animal, and often will bring the animal to the shelter, she said.

Some people, however, just dump those animals, Neal said.

If the animal is left to become a stray and does not die from disease, “it will repopulate or get hurt or hurt somebody,” she said.

“It’s just a cycle that needs to be broken,” she said.

Letcher said there is no way to regulate people who give away animals on rights of way or commercial parking lots.

Animal control officers can, if the puppies’ parents are present, check for a hobbyist permit and, if none exists, cite the owners for not having their adult animals spayed and neutered, she said.

Letcher said the way she views the situation is that every animal that is purchased off a street corner is another home that an adoptable animal doesn’t have.

Letcher is working with the mayor, Neal, and a task force to enlarge the adoption program at the Tulsa shelter.

Neal said the city would continue to look at all available resources to address the animal issues.

“What this all amounts to is a quality of life issue for citizens as well as a desire on the part of the community to make sure animals aren’t mistreated,” she said. (TulsaWorld)

This is just one more step in the right direction to put a end to puppy mills and the abuses and horrors that these dogs endure, year after year. Kudos to Mayor Kathy Taylor!!

Harris County in TX, did something like this last year but they BANNED the roadside sale of puppies. I would love to see more places enact some kind of legislation to stop this or at least regulate it heavily enough that it stops most of it!

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