While it has no pet stores, the small town hopes to send a big message to the rest of Colorado.

On June 25, the Berthoud Town Board unanimously approved an ordinance to ban the sale of puppy mill dogs and kittens within the city limits. The vote makes the small community the first one in the state to implement such a ban. While it is largely symbolic – Berthoud doesn't have any pet stores – the board and other animal advocates hope this will spur other towns to follow suit. 

The ban prohibits pet shops from selling, bartering or auctioning dogs raised in commercial breeding facilities and other facilities deemed inhumane. Berthoud, Colorado joins more than 300 jurisdictions across the country which have passed ordinances or laws that restrict the retail sales of dogs and cats.

The ordinance was the culmination of two years of advocating by Harley's Dream, a nonprofit organization founded to shed light on puppy mill practices. It was named after a 10-year-old chihuahua rescued from a commercial breeding facility who thrived despite health problems from his years at the mill.

"Harley’s Dream was established in 2016 to create awareness and educate the public about the cruel commercial dog breeding industry, also known as puppy mills. We believe that a grassroots approach by large groups of concerned citizens is the most effective way to bring about change. And while we do support responsible breeding, as those breeders never sell their puppies to pet stores, a measure such as Berthoud's will positively impact the adoption of shelter and rescue pets," the organization said in a statement.

The ordinance vote was made in front of a packed house of animal advocates and rescue dogs, and it was met with applause when it passed. 

“Berthoud doesn’t have a waitlist for pet shops,” Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Hindman was quoted as saying by the Loveland Reporter-Herald. “We can be upfront and take a stand and hope this will spread to other towns and other pet shops across the state.”

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