In an effort to increase the number of adoptions for homeless pets, and prevent the breeding of so-called "puppy mill" dogs, city council members in Chicago, Ill., have voted to halt the sale of commercially bred pets from pet stores in the city, reported Wednesday's Chicago Tribune.
Beginning next March, pet stores will no longer to sell cats, dogs and rabbits from commercial breeding operations.
Retail stores still hoping to sell pets will have to obtain the animals from animal controls, rescues or humane societies instead.
Supporters of the legislation are hopeful that the ban will help stem the flow of poorly bred animals, obtained from inhumane breeding operations, and redirect would-be pet owners towards the thousands of homeless pets who are in need of a place to go.
Critics noted that many pet stores will simply move out of the city limits to set up shop and noted that the bill does not address breeder who utilize the internet to sell puppies, or small "backyard" breeders.
Violators of the new legislation may face fines and possibly, misdemeanor charges.
Other cities across the nation have adopted similar legislation - in January, Coconut Creek, Fla., banned the retail sale of pets, and several cities in California have similar laws on the books.
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