Puppy mill documentary premieres as Tempe considers ban - FOX29 Lake Charles

Puppy mill documentary premieres as Tempe considers ban

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(Source: DogByDogDocumentary.com) (Source: DogByDogDocumentary.com)

Dog by Dog, a documentary that seeks to inform the public about the inhumane practices of puppy mills, made its Arizona debut Wednesday night in Tempe. The premiere falls just about a week before the City Council there is expected to get its first look at an ordinance that would ban the commercial sale of pets.

"The abuse that these dogs live in, that was probably the most shocking thing," James Waters, one of the film's producers, said.

Abuse. Neglect. Filth. Waters says they are all a part of the puppy-mill industry, and it's all exposed in the film. 

"The big focus is to be informative in our documentary," Waters said.

The ASU Global Institute of Sustainability orchestrated Wednesday's premiere event, which included a showing of the film and a panel discussion afterward.

Tempe City Councilor Lauren Kuby works for the Institute and also happens to be spearheading an effort dealing with this very topic.

"We've been working since August on a possible ordinance that would prohibit the commercial sale of pets in Tempe," Kuby said.

That means pets bred in puppy mills could not be sold in pet stores in Tempe.

The city of Phoenix passed a similar ordinance.

"I think if people knew what the conditions were, they would turn away in revulsion and not consider buying a puppy-mill dog," Kuby said.

But critics, some of whom came out to watch the documentary on Wednesday, argue these kinds of bans, while well-intentioned, usually end up punishing the wrong people, pet store owners, and rewarding the behavior they're trying to curb.

"What they're trying to do is put bad breeders out of business and what they're going to end up doing is sending more customers to them," Andy Porter of Companion Pets Inc. said.

Pet shop owners suggest attacking the problem head-on.

"Go after the puppy mills, not to go after the shops that are trying to do everything right and trying to do what's right by the dog," Loni Tyler of Puppies N Love said.

Kuby says they've spent months doing research and engaging with all the stakeholders.

"We're bringing back our research and the results of all that to our fellow council members, and most likely we'll ask them to advance this to a vote in February," Kuby said.

That will happen at the City Council meeting on Jan. 21, at 4 p.m. at Tempe City Hall.

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