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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis city council members are considering passing a city ordinance to prevent retail stores within the city limits from selling puppies and kittens.

The legislation proposed by Memphis Animal Services comes after news that Petland is planning to open a store at The Commons at Wolfcreek.

Petland is the only national pet store chain in this country that still sells dogs and cats.

Over the last several weeks, animal activists have collected over 20,000 signatures on a ‘Say No to Petland in Memphis’ online petition because they say the company has a long history of obtaining animals from puppy mills and mistreating the puppies and kittens sold in their stores.

Tuesday, a council committee discussed the ordinance that would fine businesses $50 per animal, per day, per violation.

“This ordinance does nothing to dissuade or discourage people from buying or working with good breeders,” said Council Member Worth Morgan. “There are plenty of good ones across the city and the Midsouth area.  This is specifically about the retail sale of cats and dogs, and we only have one store in the Memphis area that’s currently interested or known to sell puppies and kittens and that’s Petland,”.

Memphis Animal Services Director Alexis Pugh told council members 450 cities across the country have passed similar ordinances, including Nashville and Franklin, but some council members are concerned the ordinance is aimed at one particular company.

“Seems like we are creating an ordinance to stop one business from coming into the city and making money selling cats and dogs,” said Council Member JB Smiley.

The Humane Society of the United States says 99% of the puppies sold at Petland come from puppy mills and that it has received 1,400 complaints about Petland Puppies.

Petland, in a prepared statement, has denied that claim:

“Petland’s number one priority has always been the health and welfare of its pets. Each Petland store has a state-licensed consulting veterinarian who examines every puppy upon its arrival and establishes a robust program of veterinary care for the store. Petland does not buy from puppy mills, which are unregulated, unlicensed facilities.”

Council members sent the ordinance to the full council for it’s first reading without a recommendation.

Council members said they would like to hear from Petland.

Petland told WREG it did not have a firm opening date yet at The Commons at Wolfcreek.