South Lake Tahoe bans sale of dogs from retail stores | SierraSun.com

South Lake Tahoe bans sale of dogs from retail stores

Adam Jensen
Sun News Service

The South Lake Tahoe City Council finalized a ban on the retail sale of cats and dogs on Tuesday, but the owner of the lone puppy store in town has threatened to sue.

The city council passed the ban 4-1 as a way to discourage the sale of dogs from unsanitary, high-volume breeders known as “puppy mills.”

The ordinance is scheduled to take effect in May 2011.

Puppy mills became a local issue in May, with the opening of Broc’s Puppies. Pet advocates have alleged that Broc’s gets its puppies from brokers connected to puppy mills. But the owner of Broc’s, Dennis Franks, has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Dawn Armstrong, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society, lauded Tuesday’s move by the council.

“I think they were courageous, they followed through,” Armstrong said, noting the ban has attracted attention from cities around the country.

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But Franks was angered by the decision and has vowed to take legal action against the city and the Humane Society.

Franks said he expects a judge will decide in his favor long before the ordinance’s May 2011 deadline.

“There’s no way they could ever do anything against me because they don’t have the right ” the power to do that,” Franks said. “I’ve done nothing illegal.”

Armstrong said she was not surprised by the threat of legal action, but said the Humane Society would wait to comment until wording of the litigation surfaces.

She said the puppy mill ban has never been about a particular business. The ban is about a “community value,” Armstrong said.

Although Councilman Bill Crawford had previously voted in favor of the ban, he was the lone dissenting vote on Tuesday, saying he thought the legislation was “out of line.”

“There is a question about whether the city can regulate interstate commerce,” Crawford said.

The councilman said he has visited Broc’s and said he thought it is run in a “proper way.”

“How far do you want to go in trying to regulate?” Crawford asked. “I think it’s just going to be a headache.”