Retailers are banned from selling dogs and cats within Point Borough under the terms of an ordinance unanimously adopted Tuesday night.
The Borough Council amended its animal control code at its regular meeting to prevent stores from selling the pets after public outcry over a store in Brick that was shut down after authorities found a majority of its dogs to be in poor health.
"This is a step in the right direction," Councilman Chris Leitner said.
The amended code states that no pet store will "sell, deliver, offer for sale, barter, auction or otherwise improperly dispose of cats or dogs in the Borough of Point Pleasant.
"The Borough of Point Pleasant has a local responsibility to promote animal welfare and encourage best practices in the breeding and purchasing of dogs and cats," the ordinance states. "The Borough Council finds that the retail sale of dogs and cats in pet stores ... is inconsistent with the Borough's goal to be a community that cares about animal welfare."
Officials in Brick Township are on the sale of such animals after 26 of 39 dogs held at Puppies Galore in the Brick Mall were .
Authorities shut down the store, and owner Maria De Santis of Old Bridge and manager Nathan "Nat" Sladkin of Farmingdale are both in connection with the condition of the Hooper Avenue shop.
Point Borough's ordinance references the existence of "puppy mills" and "kitten factories" while noting that not all dogs and cats sold in retail stores are "products of inhumane breeding conditions." However, it is the "Borough Council's belief that puppy mills and kitten factories continue to exist in part because of public demand for the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores."
Meanwhile, a group of Ocean County lawmakers are doing their part to shut down so-called animal mills throughout the state.
Sen. Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Dave Wolfe and Greg McGuckin introduced the "Healthy Puppies and Kittens Assurance Act," which would establish a state registry of breeders and pet dealers who will have to extensively document the history of each animal sold. The bill also would limit the selling of cats or dogs to 25 animals per year, per breeder.
The Senate bill, S1840, was introduced May 3 and referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee while the Assembly bill, A2746, was introduced May 10 and referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
Point Borough's ordinance is silent on the sale of other common house pets, such as gerbils, rabbits, hamsters and the like, effectively allowing their sale.
However, Leitner said that "if it becomes apparent that we need an ordinance to prohibit the sale of more animals... we can amend."
Brick Patch editor Daniel Nee contributed to this report.