Submitted by Wendy Stolyarov
Like 85 million families in the United States, my life is blessed with the companionship of animals. I have two beautiful Humane Society rescue cats (Helen and Mina) that I walk on harness and leash almost every day. They bring me more peace and joy than a sunset and a warm cup of tea. I can’t imagine doing anything to hurt them, or supporting any business that contributes to animal abuse. I strongly suspect those 85 million families feel the same way, especially in the lonely era of COVID.
How animal companions come into our lives varies. Sometimes, we find them, lost and lonely, and take them in, never to part. Sometimes, we seek them out at the local animal shelter or rescue group. And some people do what seems like a logical thing to do: they go to a pet store to buy a puppy or a kitten, the same way you would go to the grocery store for a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread.
Unfortunately, retail animal sales rely upon a steady stream of puppies and kittens in order to generate revenue. Cute sells, but cute also grows up. So what do you do if you want to sell puppies and only puppies, or kittens and only kittens? You have to keep on breeding, which means suffering and long-term health consequences for both the animals forced to breed and their babies.
Billy Howard at Puppy Mill Free Reno-Sparks has been working for years to get a municipal ordinance banning this kind of abuse passed in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County–and on July 29, 2020, he finally tasted the victory he has worked so hard for. The Reno City Council voted unanimously for Grady’s Law, banning the retail sale of dogs and cats within Reno city limits.
On Aug. 12, the ordinance had its second reading. If you want a dog or a cat in Washoe County, you can now go to either a certified, reputable breeder, or one of our municipal shelters or local rescue organizations.
Our municipal and local shelters and animal rescue groups are already overburdened, though they do an amazing job with the resources available to them. Whether it’s the Northern Nevada SPCA, the Nevada Humane Society, Wiley Animal Rescue Foundation, Catmandu, or one of our other wonderful local rescue organizations — they’re all amazing places to find a loving friend and give them a forever home (please donate or adopt if you can).
And if you’re set on a specific breed, there are rescues in Nevada and within easy range in Northern California that specialize. There is no reason to turn to a retail animal store when we have organizations like these in our area, all struggling with too many creatures and not enough loving homes.
My campaign has always fought to protect the most vulnerable in our community, and few creatures are more vulnerable than the companion animals with whom we share our lives. That’s why I call on the City of Sparks to follow Reno’s example and introduce an ordinance banning the retail sale of dogs and cats within Sparks city limits. Pass Grady’s Law here, too.
We share a community, and what happens in one affects the other. That’s why I ask all our region’s residents to join me in urging the Sparks City Council to adopt an ordinance parallel to the City of Reno’s. Send an email to the City of Sparks here and sign my petition, which I plan to submit in public comment to the next Sparks City Council meeting. Stand with me in protecting our community’s most vulnerable.
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