East Providence ban on dog, cat sales heads to federal court


PROVIDENCE —This case has gone to "the dogs."

East Providence and the proprietors of The Perfect Puppy have entered into an agreement suspending the enforcement of a ban on the sale of cats and dogs pending a hearing on the matter, City Solictor Tim Chapman confirmed Monday afternoon, June 9.

Mr. Chapman said the city requested the move of the matter from State Superior Court to Federal District Court, which was granted, earlier Monday.

The Solicitor said the lawyer for Scott Bergantino, who operates the pet store located at 1235 Wampanoag Trail, went to Superior Court late last week where the judge issued a motion delaying the implementation of the dog and cat sale ban ordinance, passed last Tuesday evening, June 3, by the 4-0 vote of the City Council.

Monday's Superior Court hearing was supposed to determine the constitutionality of the ordinance. Mr. Chapman said he and Mr. Bergantion's attorney, Lesley Rich, agreed to allow Perfect Pets to remain open and to not enforce the ordinance until the case is heard in District Court. The City Solicitor said he expects that to take place in "seven to 14 days."

"He can stay open at least until we have a conference with the Federal Court judge," Mr. Chapman added.


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It’s amazing how the Perfect Puppy pet store stated that they only purchase puppies from local breeders and then testified at the East Providence City Council meeting that they go as far as Pennsylvania, which is considered to be the puppy mill capital in the United States.

When you analyze the statements made at the city council meeting, it’s important to take into account those statements that can be backed up with proof. At the Council meeting. the spokesperson for Defenders of Animals, Dennis Tabella, actually named two recent sick puppies and gave the names of the animal hospitals where the sick puppies were treated.

Now, I understand that there were people in the audience that have additional information on other puppies that were purchased from their other store that were also sick.

When you have numerous puppies needing medical attention with different ailments from the same pet store operation, you can be assured that the puppies are coming from puppy mills.

It was also pointed out at the council meeting that reputable breeders do not sell to pet stores. We need to encourage people to adopt not shop when it comes to having a dog or cat. People need to go to their local municipal shelters and private shelters.

The East Providence City Council should be commended for taking a stand on this issue.

As far as this case going to federal court, there are other cases involving this legal issue. The courts elsewhere have determined that when a city/town council passed similar ordinances that those ordinances did not violate anyone’s constitutional rights. The city of East Providence is in the right, and I am sure will prevail.

Perfect Puppy should have cut its losses and moved out of the city because once a federal court rules against them it’s going to have far-reaching results.

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