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.

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“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.

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“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.

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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.