Jessica Cejnar Andrews / Friday, Aug. 18, 2023 @ 4:53 p.m. / Animals, Local Government

Curry County Moves Forward With Puppy Mill Ordinance Following Comment-Free Public Hearing

Photo: Hebrew Matio via Wikimedia Commons. Creative Commons License


Owner of Curry County's Only Pet Store Says New Law Aiming to Curtail Puppy Mills Could Shut Her Down


Just before he voted, Commissioner Brad Alcorn said he doesn’t stand to gain financially should regulations governing the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits take effect in Curry County.

For the second time, Alcorn spoke to “ethic-related issues” associated with his vote on the county’s new ordinance, which bans retailers from selling puppies, kittens and rabbits acquired through a commercial breeder.

Without naming the individual, Alcorn said the accusations and misinformation a local pet store owner has circulated via social media against him and his wife has created an apparent conflict. That conflict is nonexistent, however, he said Wednesday.

“There is no nexus between this ordinance and the South Coast Humane Society,” Alcorn said, acknowledging that his wife, Jenifer Alcorn, is the organization’s executive director. “It is not possible to conceive that a humane society somehow will end up benefitting financially due to this ordinance. But even if that somehow happens, my wife’s salary will not be affected because her pay is set by the South Coast Human Society Board (of Directors) and not based on revenue, consignment or any other changeable factor.”

Alcorn also cited Oregon Revised Statute 244.040, which governs the prohibited use of an official position or office. He said he would vote on the ordinance since it wasn’t a violation of government code.

“I will always do everything I can to advocate for the humane treatment of animals. I always have and I always will,” Alcorn said. “I will also do everything I can to protect this community and community members from any type of fraud or deception, and I believe this ordinance stands for both those things.”

Alcorn and his colleagues unanimously approved the ordinance at its third reading following a public hearing. No one spoke out during the hearing.

Under the proposed ordinance, no individual or pet store can sell a dog, cat or rabbit that originated from a commercial breeder or through a broker. According to the ordinance, a commercial breeder is a person or organization that provides dogs, cats or rabbits for sale to commercial retail establishments.

The county’s ordinance prohibits animal rescue organization from buying animals from a broker for the purpose of reselling them.

A broker is someone who transfers a dog, cat or rabbit from a breeder to a retailer for resale, acting as an intermediary.

The ordinance allows pet stores to collaborate with animal rescues to showcase adoptable animals. They can also offer animals for sale that come from a non-commercial breeder.

Curry County’s ordinance largely mirrors Oregon House Bill 2915, which Gov. Tina Kotek signed into law about two weeks ago.

At the Board’s Aug. 2 meeting, South Coast Humane Society board secretary Mary Wood mentioned Brookings pet store, Carson’s Critters, by name, saying that the retailer purchases “a great majority, I not all their puppies” from JAKS Puppies.

The Animal Legal Defense fund is suing JAKS Puppies, alleging that it funneled dogs to pet stores through fake animal rescue organizations to “circumvent state law,” Wood told commissioners.

Carson’s Critters owner Tracy Snyder confirmed that she acquires the puppies she sells from JAKS Puppies. Snyder told the Outpost that the new ordinance could force her to close her store since the puppies make up the bulk of her sales.

Snyder argued that JAKS Puppies is licensed through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the puppies come dual registered, microchipped, current on vaccinations and quarantined to ensure they’re free from Parvo, kennel cough and other diseases.

Snyder said she thinks Curry County’s ordinance benefits Jenifer Alcorn and her husband should have recused himself from the discussion on Aug. 4.

“I think this is highly illegal,” she told the Outpost. “I think she’s using his power to close my doors.”

Snyder said that since the ordinance allows pet stores to exhibit animals from rescue organizations for adoption it favors the South Coast Humane Society.

The ordinance goes into effect Nov. 14.


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