How much is that doggie in the window?
Selling dogs or cats may make money for some, but do it in the wrong place and it can cost, too.
A recently-passed state law (R.S. 14:102.27) prohibits the sale of dogs and cats in a number of specific public places.
"This is totally right on," said Webster Humane Association vice president Charlotte Beaird. "I've been waiting a long time for this to happen."
The law prohibits offering for sale or selling dogs and cats on public roads, at flea markets, public parks, public playgrounds, public pools or any other public recreational areas. Properties adjacent to those areas are also forbidden. Selling from commercial parking lots is now forbidden unless the owner gives permission.
The law lists a number of exceptions including animal welfare organization adoptions, sales that occur entirely on private residential property, dog and cat shows and licensed breeders and retail pet stores.
A first offense could bring a fine of up to $250, and a second or subsequent offense, $1,000.
"The concern was we, as buyers, do it by sight," Dare Lott, DVM said. "You go by and if you have any young kids with you, they want them.
"But getting a puppy is a responsibility," he continued. "If people are not ready for that responsibility, these puppies end up getting thrown out, discarded or not taken care of."
Lott said his main concern with the law is that individuals who happen to have a litter of puppies to give away could end up breaking the law without realizing it.
However, the law only specifically mentions offering for sale or selling any dog or cat. It doesn't explicitly say that giving them away in the specified public locations is forbidden.
Beaird agreed that people often get pets on the spur of the moment, not realizing the time and expense required. Then, she said, those animals end up in pounds, shelters or rescues.
However, her hope is the law will curtail what are referred to as "puppy mills."
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals defines puppy mills as breeding operations that place profit over the animal's well being without regard to responsible breeding practices.
"Puppy mills are far from what we try to accomplish," she said. "We try to find helpless and homeless animals homes. We interview people and we check out where the animals are going.
"Puppy mills are selling them to make a profit, and I don't think they care who they sell them to," Beaird continued. "When they sit on the side of the road or a parking lot and try to make money off of them, they're not thinking about the future of the dog. We totally disagree with that."
Lott and his son Foster are both veterinarians of large and small animals and operate Minden Animal Clinic on Sheppard Street.
Webster Humane Association is a group of like-minded people who foster primarily dogs and attempt to find them suitable homes. They also have a spay and neuter program through Webster Parish Police Jury. For more info contact 377-7433.