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Panel OKs ban of roadside puppy, turtle sales

Roadside sales of puppies and turtles would be banned statewide under a proposal that easily cleared a House panel.

Currently, Arizona law prohibits such animal sales only in Maricopa and Pima counties. The law, which was passed in 2008, was limited to only the state’s largest two counties in order to garner the votes needed for the bill to pass the Senate.

But this year, lawmakers are showing strong support for expanding the law. The bill, S1125, was approved by the House Commerce Committee unanimously. Last month, it was approved 17-13 by the full Senate.

Animal rights advocates say expanding the law will protect animals and consumers.

“We need to get a handle on this overpopulation crisis,” said Kari Nienstedt, the Arizona state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

The past few years have been “record years” for rabies, she told the committee. Because most of the animals sold on the sides of roads are not vaccinated, they are especially vulnerable.

And if the animals do develop health problems, said Karen Michael of the Animal Defense League of Arizona, consumers have no recourse because the sales are unregulated.

The bill moves now to the Rules Committee for a constitutional check before advancing to the House floor.

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