Pet-selling permit ordinance in effect
Mesa County Animal Services personnel are counting on the public to help enforce a new ordinance requiring people who sell cats or dogs in public places to carry a permit.
The Public Pet Rehoming Permit ordinance went into effect Saturday. The ordinance requires people to obtain a permit from Mesa County Animal Services before selling cats or dogs in public places within Grand Junction city limits or unincorporated Mesa County. The ordinance does not apply to people who sell pets on private residential property, nonprofits and shelters who have pet adoption events, or pet stores.
Animal Services officers will not patrol parking lots and street corners specifically searching for people selling pets without a permit, according to Mesa County Animal Services Director Penny McCarty. Instead, officers will respond to complaints from community members who see the activity. An officer who responds to a complaint can impound pets if it’s the second time an officer has found a person trying to sell dogs or cats without a permit.
“We need people to call us and let us know,” McCarty said.
McCarty said the ordinance was proposed in response to numerous complaints from community members in recent years of people selling pets who were either sick or too young in public areas such as parking lots and on street corners. Some of those animals came from Delta or Garfield counties or Utah, McCarty said, so people who purchased them had no idea where to return the animals if they were ill or had behavior issues as a result of being detached from their mothers before the recommended age of 8 weeks.
Many of the animals are bought on impulse and end up at the Animal Services shelter, McCarty said. Others have parvo, distemper or genetic issues from inbreeding.
“It is the exception for us to see animals in those situations who have their vaccinations,” McCarty said. “It’s probably 95 percent or more who do not have any vaccination at all, usually because they’re too young. Usually the first shot is at 8 weeks.”
The permit application process is the same whether a person plans to sell in the city or county and requires submitting a permit application. Pet-sellers also have to take all animals they plan to sell to a veterinarian and have the vet examine each animal to make sure they are at least 8 weeks old, certify that all animals have the proper vaccinations for their ages, and declare none of the animals show signs of infectious diseases.
A manager or business owner also has to sign an authorization document granting permission for the pet-seller to operate in front of their business.
All documents must be submitted to Animal Services for review and a permit. If approved, the permit-applicant will be notified within five days that they can come to Animal Services to pick up their permit. The permit must be displayed within 6 feet of where the animals are caged during sale.
McCarty said Animal Services does not have jurisdiction to enforce the ordinance in Fruita, Palisade, Collbran or De Beque. She said she’s open to a conversation with those communities about passing their own ordinances but she doesn’t believe sellers are as likely to travel, especially from out of town, to sell in smaller communities.
“A lot of the people we’ve had contact with are coming from Utah, Delta, and Garfield County because we’re more of an urban hub. If you’re trying to sell an animal for $100, it might be worth it to come here,” she said.