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Zoning Committee agrees to remove breeding

January 13, 2019

HUNTINGTON — Members of Huntington’s Planning and Zoning Committee agreed to remove breeding as an acceptable definition within the city’s zoning ordinances Tuesday, which would effectively end the practice in city limits.

The move, which will need to be approved by City Council, comes on the heels of a landmark ruling in California that banned the sale of non-shelter dogs, cats and rabbits at pet stores and commercial kennels. The item is not an outright ban on breeding, but would make clear that breeding is not acceptable at kennels and animal hospitals within the city. The move is supported by the Huntington Planning Commission.

In November, the Planning Commission agreed to establish a new set of definitions for several items that are permitted in the city’s various commercial, industrial and residential districts. Among them were kennels and animal hospitals, which made reference to “breeding,” or the intentional mating of pets to promote specific desired traits in their offspring.

The practice has come under fire in recent years from animal advocates who say it leads to “puppy mills” and promotes breeding in inhumane conditions. Pets that are also extensively bred have been shown to suffer from a variety of health problems, advocates said.

“The planning department was to contact the animal shelter to determine their feelings on that because that was on the heels of the historic ruling in California about dealing with puppy mills and whatnot,” said Chairwoman Jennifer Wheeler. “That question was brought forward if the word ‘breeding’ should be stricken.”

Earlier this month, California became the first state in the nation to ban pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits unless they come from a public animal control agency or shelter, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals shelter, humane society shelter or rescue group in cooperation with an animal shelter.

“After investigating, they determined to strike the word ‘breeding,’” Wheeler said.

Wheeler, along with fellow committee members Alex Vence and Mike Shockley, unanimously voted to forward the item to the full City Council with a favorable recommendation. City Council could consider the item during a future meeting.

Also during Tuesday ’s meeting, committee members unanimously agreed to amend the definition of “microblading” to allow the procedure to be performed in the city’s various districts.

Microblading is a form of semi-permanent tattooing that involves using tiny needles on eyebrows, instead of a tattoo gun. The needles are small blades to help deposit pigment under the skin and is used to fill in eyebrows. It is performed by an esthetician.

When the practice was emerging, the city previously listed microblading along with tattoo parlors, which are not allowed in the city’s neighborhood commercial districts, highway commercial districts, central business districts and general industrial districts.

“This simply addresses that microblading is a separate act from tattooing, and it is classifying it more as a salon service,” Wheeler said.

Committee members agreed to forward the item to City Council with a favorable recommendation.

Travis Crum is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch. He may be reached by phone at 304-526-2801.

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