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Fayetteville ordinance banning retail sale of puppies could be postponed

Newly opened Petland in Fayetteville could soon be asked to stop selling puppies due to an ordinance, but state law might override that ordinance.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — To promote the adoption of puppies and kittens, the City of Fayetteville passed an ordinance in July banning the retail sale of them.

"Concerned with a pet store being opened up in Fayetteville," said City of Fayetteville Attorney, Kit Williams.

Petland recently opened its doors off Joyce Blvd. in Fayetteville and is selling puppies at its store.

"Which is their legal right to do so now," Williams said. "The ordinance will not be effective until this weekend."

In a statement to 5NEWS, Petland franchise owners Ryan and Samantha Boyle wrote in part, "Petland Fayetteville is an open Retail Pet Store, registered with the Arkansas Department of Health, and fully compliant with Arkansas law."

Williams says he is now suggesting the city council postpone when the ordinance goes into effect.

"We discovered a new state law that was passed last year," Williams said. "That is ambiguous but gives me a little bit of concern."

HB1883, also known as the Working Animal Protection Act, states "An ordinance or resolution shall not be enacted by a municipality that terminates, bans, effectively bans, or creates an undue hardship relating to the job or use of a working animal or animal enterprise in commerce, service, legal hunting, agriculture, husbandry, transportation, ranching, entertainment, education, or exhibition."

Williams says that gives the city two options. 

"Maybe we ought to postpone the effective date of this while I can negotiate with Petland a little bit about that," Williams said. "The other thing that could happen is that Petland has threatened to sue us and they could file suit and then ask for a temporary training or a preliminary injunction."

Petland released a statement saying: 

"Its focus will always be ensuring the health and safety of its animals and it hopes to continue working with Fayetteville toward that end. While that happens, any comment on prospective litigation is premature."

"As city attorney, I want to do what the city council wants to do and the mayor wants to do," Williams said. "But I also want to make sure we follow state law."

Williams says as of now, the decision to postpone the ordinance from taking effect is up to the Fayetteville City Council.

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