FORT COLLINS, Colo. (CBS4)- A student at Colorado State University is taking on puppy mills and kitten factories by focusing on pet stores. Laurie Molitor is behind an effort to put a proposal banning sales of pets at all Fort Collins stores to voters. The proposal would still allow pet adoptions at shelters or in stores and would still allow for the sale of fish.

Molitor is gathering signatures in hopes of getting her ordinance up for a vote in the city’s April ballot. She said that even though puppies are often bred in good conditions, many are not.

“We want to end the commercial breeding. We’re still in support of reputable breeders,” said Molitor.

The owner of Pet City, a store in Fort Collins, told CBS4 puppies for sale in his store come from responsible breeders that he knows.

“We have relationships with everyone who we get our animals from. Some of our animals we breed ourselves,” said Gregg Kinnes.

As for kittens, “Last year we sold 69 kittens, 67 of those came from normal, everyday people who would have taken those cats to a shelter. Instead they brought them to us and we found homes for them,” said Kinnes.

Kinnes says a ban on pet sales would put him out of business without solving the problem of irresponsible commercial breeders.

“They try to group in the bad people with all the good people out there,” said Kinnes.

“It was never our intent to be a direct attack on Pet City and we actually want them to stay in business,” Molitor said. “With this ordinance, you can still have animals in your pet store, but instead of coming from commercial breeders, they’d be coming from local animal rescues.”

Molitor said pets for sale at stores like lizards, rodents and birds are also often collected from the wild.

“It’s the same idea as taking an elk out of Estes Park and putting it in your backyard. Sure, you’re not being mean to it necessarily, but it’s not a great place for it to be,” said Molitor.

Molitor needs 2,517 registered voters to sign the petition to force a vote. She submitted 2,785 signatures but the city clerk rejected half of those for various reasons, leaving the initial petition 1,155 signatures short.

“A lot of students who thought they were registered to vote hadn’t, they hadn’t changed their address when they moved, things like that,” said Molitor, referring to the large number of rejections.

Owners of Pet City say it’s dishonest to use emotional arguments about puppy mills and kitten factories to promote a blanket ban on pet sales.

“Their argument is purely an emotional one. It has no basis in any facts,” said Kinnes.

If Molitor gathers enough signatures by Feb. 16 the Fort Collins City Council would then decide whether to adopt the measure or put it on the April ballot.

Comments (11)
  1. k Cook says:

    Maybe this college student needs to go back to high school and work on basic business education. None of the pets sold are ‘captured in the wild’. Not allowed, nor pratical, nor logical if you think about it at all. They are from small breeders who raise the birds, rodents and lizards for sale as pets in stores. In Colorado that would mean you would be licensed and inspected by PACFA and/or USDA. No wild lizards in Colorado have been harmed by pet shops in this case.

    1. VM says:

      You’re an idiot. Do your research. Thousands of animals are imported legally and illegally just for the pet trade.

  2. Snersia says:

    Actually PACFA and the USDA do little to close down bad pet stores. Google Jeff Fortin if you don’t believe it and yes, many tropical fish cannot reproduce in captivity – so where do you think they come from?
    What a shock ask PACFA for an inspection and complaint report for any Pet City or any pet store in Colorado for that matter.

    1. Alexi says:

      The USDA inspected Jeff Fortin’s operation and found many violations. They are working improving their abilities to shut down the operations with bad records. A good pet store can find breeders like Jeff and stay away from them. Just like a good-hearted animal activist could find the bad one and go after them. That would probably be too much work, though.

  3. marianne says:

    “Their argument is purely an emotional one…” Really Mr. Kinnes? But isn’t that exactly what YOU are doing, using peoples’ emotions (oh what a cute puppy!”) to trigger impulse buying of these animals? If banning sales of puppies would put you out of business, perhaps changing your business model would help. Demonstrate your commitment to the Fort Collins community by eliminating pet sales at your store and replace them with shelter dogs and will be suprised at how much more business you get!

    1. k Cook says:

      So, Marianne, this pet store owner is okay to sell pets, as long as he gets them from a source you approve? What makes those dogs healthier or better than the ones he sells now?

      1. Jennifer says:

        I think it is less about the health of the dog now, and more about how the dogs were treated BEFORE they come to the stores.. puppy mills are terrible places

  4. mkdenver1 says:

    Liberal logic at its finest right here. Instead of going to the source, the appparent solution is to ban these types of sales and put the hard-working independent owners of the pet stores out of business.

    We don’t need any more government running our lives. What’s next? Shutting down PetSmart or PetCo because they charge to adopt (aka sell) dogs and cats??

  5. EPIC FAIL says:

    This is a relief, I thougt she was trying to ban Penthouse Pets. Whew!!!

  6. K Cook says:

    But Jennifer, those same puppies from “puppy mills” are being sold to the public by the rescues and shelters after they seize them. My point is, rather than encourage a pet store to buy from a good breeder whose dogs are well cared for, you force them to buy dogs for sale from shelters and rescues who have seized dogs or had dogs surrendered to them whose health and care may have made them into less than desirable pets. Why not work with the pet stores to identify good sources for their puppies and who treat the parents well, rather than force them to buy from shelters or go out of business. It’s called free trade, and a little bit of common sense thrown in. It is also good business sense for the pet store owner to look for the healthiest pets possible. It would be a win win situation. I know it is hard for the small minded animal rights crowd to absorb, but there are commercial breeders who do a great job of socializing and raising puppies for sale. Some take better care of their dogs and have to meet higher standards of care than most people with one or two pets. There are bad and good in any group of people doing anything. Same with breeders and pet stores. Some shelters and rescues are terrible places. Look at the news last summer about a “rescue” in the Loveland area being shut down by the Agriculture Department. Do you really want this pet store to be forced to buy it’s dogs and cats from such a place? How is that any better than buying from what you call a “puppy mill”? Go after the individuals who are not meeting acceptable standards of care, not businesses who have done nothing wrong.

  7. Amanda Thorne says:

    It’s a shame.