RED BANK — More than 120 municipalities in New Jersey have on their books some type of ban targeting the retail sale of dogs and cats in pet stores.

If passed, an ordinance introduced in Red Bank would add the Monmouth County borough to that list.

The measure requires that pet shops only sell dogs and cats that are sourced from shelters and rescue organizations. The retail sale of dogs obtained from breeders would be prohibited.

Two states — California and Maryland — have similar ordinances in place, targeting "puppy mill" operations that breed dogs inhumanely.

"Some of the conditions that are permitted in these puppy mill facilities, where the 22 remaining pet stores in New Jersey source from, are just absolutely horrid," said Brian Hackett, New Jersey director of the Humane Society of the United States, who supports the Red Bank measure and would like to see a statewide ban on the retail sale of dogs and cats.

"I suspect here in New Jersey, since we have a strong record of animal welfare and consumer protection laws, that we will be seeing a bill this session," Hackett said.

Hackett noted that 24 of the 25 largest pet retailers in the nation do not sell cats or dogs for profit. Instead, they work with shelters and rescues in the community to provide space for showcasing the adoptable animals.

"Pet stores that sell cats and dogs are outliers in their own industry because the pet industry as a whole is moving away from this," he said.

Red Bank's sole puppy retailer, Bark Avenue Puppies, did not return a call or email for comment on Tuesday. But the shop's owner, who spoke to the Asbury Park Press, has said the ordinance would kill his business and he'd be willing to file a lawsuit to stop the ban.

The owner insisted his business deals with only reputable dealers.

According to Hackett, however, "no responsible breeder ever sells to a pet store." Humane and responsible breeders, he said, sell directly to the consumer.

Red Bank's ordinance is slated for a hearing on May 30. If approved, it would take effect May 1, 2019.

More from New Jersey 101.5:

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM