After hearing nearly two weeks of citizen comments, the Mobile City Council’s Public Safety Committee still has yet to make a decision regarding whether or not changes to the city’s animal control law should ban future animal sales at the flea market.
Councilwoman Bess Rich, committee chair, told those in attendance at today’s meeting that she received countless emails from concerned individuals and she took all suggestions into consideration.
In hearing the concerns, Rich said there was a common trend and one item in the proposed amendment certainly generated the most attention — allowing or banning pet sales at the flea market.
“The one common thing is that everyone wants healthy pets and responsible pet owners,” she said.
However, instead of just making an amendment to the city’s previous animal control law, Rich said the committee will now completely rescind the old law and create an entirely new one.
“It’s a brand new code,” she said.
The committee went on to recommend every section for the new code except Sec. 7-26, which dictates animal sales.
A newly created Sec. 7-26 was presented to the audience complete with Sec. 7-26.1, similar to the old ordinance titled “Certain Sales Banned,” and a brand new Section 7-26.2 called “Sales of animals at swap meets,” drafted by Mobile Kennel Club representative Brian Carberry.
The new section says that any animal including birds or reptiles offered for sale, gift or other transfer of ownership at a “swap meet,” defined to include a “flea market” or “park-and-swap,” which is open to the general public “on a temporary basis for the purpose of display and sale, barter or exchange of new or used merchandise,” must meet the following conditions:
• Each animal must have a valid working microchip implanted.
• Seller must have a working microchip reader that is capable of reading the microchip implanted in each animal for sale.
• Each animal must be recorded by an animal control officer prior to being available for sale.
• Each animal available for sale must have a veterinary health certificate showing dates of all shots (including rabies for dogs, cats ferrets or other animals requiring rabies vaccinations) on the veterinarian’s official letterhead listing the animal’s microchip number and a copy of the animal’s health certificate must be provided to any person who purchases or otherwise takes ownership of the animal recorded.
Additionally, the new section states it is the responsibility of the “swap meet” organizer to notify the city animal shelter of any area that is to be used for sale at least 72 hours prior to the start of the sale.
Further, every seller of an animal must pay a shelter-recording fee of $10 per animal, and animals being placed for sale on multiple occasions will be charged for each instance. These shelter-recording fees will be due prior to the animal being placed for sale.
Lastly, only recorded animals may be sold and those who violate any terms of the section are subject to a Class B misdemeanor, the code reads.
Sec. 7-26.1(a-b) maintains that animals sales or transfer of ownership would be banned from any “public street, roadway, right-of-way, sidewalk or park,” and would be allowed “at county fairs, animal exhibitions or shows, 4-H activities, transfers as an activity of a sanctioned rescue organization, other activities or events that are regulated by other state or county agencies.”
Rich reiterated that the goal of the new ordinance is to have healthy pets and responsible pet owners, and while the committee’s decision may not make everyone happy, “it’s a work in progress” and “this is a start.”
Mobile City Councilman John Williams said the decision the committee makes needs to be “just” and believes there is a solution to allow certain animal sales.
“I know it’s important to a lot,” he said.
The Mobile City Council Public Safety Committee will hold another meeting in two weeks.
“We’re not done by any means,” Rich said.