The Henderson County Board of Commissioners is considering lifting a ban on pet sales at open-air markets, farmers markets, and flea markets. The ban has been in place since April 2009.
The issue is contentious because animal rights activists support the ban. They want to make it harder for animal lovers to buy pets, arguing that lowering barriers to pet purchase will lead to impulse buying, buyers’ remorse, and, subsequently, abandonment and euthanasia.
On the other hand, flea market supporters cast the issue as one of individual rights and too much government regulation. The co-owner of a big local flea market, Smiley’s Flea Market, made this point clear in an interview with the Citizen-Times of Asheville, N.C. “On behalf of the American people, if you will, and the people of Henderson County in particular, I think it’s right to provide people a place to do free enterprise,” Ben Campen, of Smiley’s, told the local newspaper.
So far, the Board of Commissioners has punted the issue, saying it requires more study. Topics that the Board is considering include requiring animal sellers to have a vet’s proof of shots, in addition to possible effects on the county’s animal shelter. The Board is expected to take about two months to study the issues.