A proposed ordinance could limit the selling of dogs and cats in retail stores and in parking lots in Elizabethtown.
Proposed Monday at Elizabethtown City Council’s work session by Councilwoman Julia Springsteen, she said, “The primary purpose is to encourage adoptions and to allow legitimate breeders in our community to conduct their business and try to reduce demand for any puppy mill or backyard breeders.”
Calling the measure “preventative” and “narrow in scope,” Springsteen said during the meeting no current Elizabethtown retailers will be affected by the ordinance.
“This is preventative in that our current pet supply stores already feature adoptions and adoptable pets,” she said. “So we’re not stopping any retail store from doing what they currently do at all.”
Springsteen said this measure, which has been passed in 30 other states, could be the first adopted by a municipality in the state.
“It goes along with our community proactiveness in encouraging adoptions,” she said. “In Kentucky that is a huge thing, because we desperately need to continue to battle pet overpopulation.”
Councilman Marty Fulkerson questioned the ability to enforce the ordinance and said he didn’t want an ordinance on the books just for the sake of having it.
“Who enforces this?” he asked. “Because I have had zero luck with the county and enforcement issues. This is not something our police department can enforce. We have to be realistic about that.”
Springsteen said Hardin County Animal Care and Control Director Mike McNutt has seen a draft of the ordinance and supports it.
“He feels like it’s enforceable because the only people that can be in a parking lot or at a retail center with animals, they have to be for adoption and the group has to have a 501©3,” she said. “They will have to prove that to the officer to be allowed to stay.”
McNutt said Tuesday that he supports the ordinance, adding he is working with animal control officers to discuss enforceability scenarios.
“We’re still researching,” he said.
Fulkerson also asked if the ordinance would limit legitimate breeders from doing business within the city.
“Legitimate or responsible breeders don’t sell through pet stores,” Springsteen said. “They sell on their own properties where people can see the conditions.”
Councilman Matt Deneen said it would help keep breeders “above board.”
Fulkerson said he is in favor of the ordinance as long as he has assurances about it being enforced.
“It’s like fireworks,” he said, referring to city regulations which fail to stem overnight pyrotechnic displays in neighbors.
His statement drew laughs from the gallery as Springsteen responded, “It’s not like fireworks.”
Following the meeting, Mayor Jeff Gregory said he was pleased to support the measure.
“I think it’s proactive,” he said. “We look at all different avenues at things we want to do here to make this community better and that includes pets. They’re important to lots of people. They’re important to me.”
Springsteen said the timing for the ordinance is right for the city.
“I think we’re in a good gap where we don’t have businesses doing this right now,” she said. “We do have people selling animals in parking lots every single year. I know animal control gets a lot of calls on that and I think it’s smart to stop it. Since we’re not interfering with any current businesses, we don’t have to grandfather in anybody. It’s just good timing.”
IN OTHER BUSINESSDirector of Facilities Management Scott Reynolds reported to the council that the Freeman Lake Park bandstand is under construction with the footers having been poured.
Reynolds also reported the city is starting to design the fire safety training center to “get a good plan in place” for next year’s budget.
The plan is to renovate the former water plant, which has sat vacant for nearly five years, near Freeman Lake dam, Gregory said.
Councilwoman Cindy Walker requested the city hold a public meeting for residents near the site. She said she fields concerns from residents about the possible disturbances the training center could bring.
“It could be explained to them that the smoke is not like typical smoke,” she said, saying Fire Chief Mark Malone was supportive of the idea. “Otherwise, they just think with a fire station and firetrucks out there, drills going on all day, they don’t like it.”
Gregory and Reynolds said they would speak to Malone to plan a meeting.
Gina Clear can be reached at 270-505-1418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.