A new ordinance in Branford could ban the retail sale of dogs, cats and even rabbits in town and hundreds of residents attended a public meeting on Tuesday night to take part in the debate.
The Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter Commission is proposing the ban and All Pets Club is the only retail store in Branford that would be affected.
"Should you move to a humane business model, we will come to your store and we will spend money and we will increase your revenue and your profit margin," Lori Nicholson, chair of the animal shelter, said.
Around 200 Branford residents and others attended to make their case for or against an ordinance.
At one point the meeting was stopped because there were too many people in the room and the fire marshal was called. The meeting resumed after a 30-minute recess.
"I guess I want to know more about what you feel due diligence is in terms of your breeders," one woman said. "It's my right and responsibility to be able to go out and get the pet I want for my family."
Officials from the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter Commission cited statistics from the Connecticut Humane Society, highlighting that most puppies and kittens sold in pet stores like All Pets Club come from mills, which they said don't foster good environments for animals.
"This is not about getting you out of a job, not at all," Nicholson said.
"This will literally put a local business that employs over 40 people out of business," Charles Sewell, executive vice president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, said.
They insist the U.S. Department of Agriculture inspects All Pets Club and said they have a clean bill of health and run a quality business.
"We want everybody to have a successful pet. We don't want any problems. We try and work with the customer as closely as possible. We follow the law," said Ed Focault, co-owner of All Pets Club, who insists his business is not just about selling animals but also about educating children and families about their pets.
"We do our very best to choose the right breeders," Focault added.
The Ordinance Committee has not made a decision yet. There will be a public hearing in next few months.