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Senate panel advances bill to overrule local bans on dog sales at pet stores

A small dog sits on a lawn while a person holds it leash.
Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
Legislation approved by a Senate committee would eliminate local ordinances that ban pet stores from selling dogs.

Proponents said legislation advanced by a Senate committee ensures dog breeders are held to a high standard, while allowing pet stores anywhere in the state to sell dogs.

Opponents during Monday’s contentious, three-hour hearing said those standards are vague and the bill undercuts local decisions.

HB 1412 requires pet stores to register with the state and only sell dogs from breeders and brokers who meet a canine care certification program developed by Purdue University, with some exceptions for smaller operations.

John Troyer is an animal breeder. He said the bill supports people like him who are doing things the right way.

“We are the ones that deal with those bad actors behind the scenes and this will help us get rid of them,” Troyer said.

READ MORE: How do I follow Indiana’s legislative session? Here’s your guide to demystify the process

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There are about two dozen communities in Indiana that ban pet stores from selling dogs. The bill would eliminate those local ordinances.

Adam Aasen is a Republican city councilor in Carmel, which has one of those ordinances. He said the bill takes away local control before the state knows whether the care standards even work.

“I understand there are rules to benefit the public and to benefit the taxpayer,” Aasen said. “And local municipalities, based on consent from their voters, have the right to make those rules.”

Dr. Candace Croney, director of the Center for Animal Welfare Science at Purdue, developed the program included in the measure. Croney said she’s reluctant to make the guidelines of her program public because she said they can be misused by bad actors to make their operations seem legitimate.

The bill is now headed for the full Senate.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.