Roseville is making moves to ban pet shops - a first for Minnesota

After a Roseville pet shop made headlines for mistreating animals, the city may ban pet stores all together.

A pet shop near the Twin Cities made headlines earlier this year for mistreating it's animals, and now the city is considering banning pet stores all together.

Back in June, City Pages wrote about problems at Har Mar Pet Shop, a family-run business located in the Har Mar Mall in Roseville.

According to the article, a federal official found injured and neglected animals during an April inspection, like an English bulldog puppy with a bulging sore on it's eye, hamsters with missing eyes and another dog with respiratory issues.

The article led to backlash - protests were organized and a petition to shut down the store on received thousands of signatures.

Now the city is making moves to ban the sale of bred pets in stores. And if they go through with it, Roseville would become the first city in Minnesota to do so.

Growing concern

Looking at social media, it seems like people have been concerned about Har Mar Pet Shop for quite some time now:

But a ban could still be far away, as an ordinance hasn't been drafted yet. However, there has been "considerable community discussion and concern following the article," according to city council documents.

Documents show that Har Mar Pet Shop owner Gerald Papineau has spoken at council meetings, calling what the USDA found "minor problems" and advising the council to stay out of pet store regulation because he pays property and sales taxes.

City Attorney Mark Gaughan also warned against a ban at a recent meeting, the Star Tribune says.

"When you do that, you are pursuing taking away someone’s liberties and you are held to the highest standard of proof in the world,” Gaughan said, adding that a busy court will “put that case at the bottom of its docket.”

Still, a possible ordinance was presented at a recent council meeting by Minnesota State Director Christine Coughlin of the Humane Society.

The Humane Society's biggest concern, city documents say, is where pet stores get their animals. The proposed ordinance would ban sources like "puppy mills" where "commercial mass production breeding is done with the focus on profits versus animal welfare."

Coughlin said approximately 176 jurisdictions around the country have adopted ordinances against commercial bred dogs and cats. You can find a list of those jurisdictions here.

Coughlin recommended that Roseville adopt a similar ordinance and partner with shelters and rescues to co-host adoption events or provide space for those events.

According to city documents, there are currently four pet stores located in Roseville: PetSmart, PETCO, Chuck and Don's, and Har Mar Pet Store. Har Mar is the only one not offering rescue animals.

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