Residents of the state’s 13 rural counties remain free to sell dogs, cats, chickens, rabbits and just about any other pet from the side of the road.
On a 15-5 vote Monday the state Senate rejected a proposal by Sen. Al Melvin, R-Tucson, to expand statewide an existing law that restricts the roadside sale of animals. That law now applies only in Maricopa and Pima counties.
Rep. Frank Pratt, R-Casa Grande, said he asked Melvin, whose district extends into Pinal County, to offer the amendment to a related bill on animal cruelty. Pratt said animal control officers from his county say there are problems with people pulling onto the side of the road and creating traffic hazards.
What is also happening, Pratt said, is that those who are buying animals on the side of the road, perhaps on impulse, are not keeping them.
“They have determined that many of the animals that are sold on those roadsides usually wind up in animal control centers and euthanized,” he said.
It’s not just dogs and cats.
“Many times we’re dealing with people that will go down and sell turtles and chickens and rabbits along about Easter,” Pratt said. He also said buyers who end up with problems with the pets they buy, who can carry diseases, have no recourse because they do not know where the seller lives.
But the idea brought sharp opposition from other rural legislators.
“The things that apply to urban counties don’t necessarily work in rural counties,” said Sen. Ron Gould, R-Lake Havasu City. He said that’s probably why the original law was crafted to apply only in the two largest counties.
Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake, called Melvin’s proposal “a terrible assault against individual rights and freedoms.”