Protesters ask for ban on retail pets to try and shut down The Barking Boutique

Posted at 11:30 PM, May 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-08 23:32:55-04

GRANDVILLE, Mich. – It’s a controversial designer and purebred pet store that opponents are hoping to shut down.

Monday night’s city council meeting in Grandville had opponents of 'The Barking Boutique’ trying to convince the council to consider an ordinance that would ban the retail sale of puppies.

Public comment got a little heated as both sides expressed their views, with protesters saying the business supports puppy mills.

But in the end the council decided to not take any action on considering the ordinance.

“Yeah this is definitely a victory for us,” says David Boelkes, the owner of 'The Barking Boutique'. "We are going to be able to operate our legitimate business. This takes a lot of weight off my shoulders.”

This is the owner’s third attempt in the past year to get his business off the ground, after trying to set up shop at the Lakes Mall in Muskegon and the Woodland Mall in Kentwood.

Some recent customers said it was a pleasant experience to buy from the store, including a local veteran who suffers from PTSD.

“I have PTSD and severe anxiety. I need a dog that is going to be a lap dog and cuddle with me,” said John Wiley. “Their service while I was there was excellent. Very nice people, very knowledgeable on the different breeds.”

While some of those against the idea say they are against 'The Barking Boutique' because they are against puppy mills.

“In order to stop puppy mills we have to stop the stores,” says Tanelle McFadyen. “And his store supports USDA breeders which are puppy mills. Don’t get them confused they are one in the same.”

The owner of 'The Barking Boutique' maintains he gets his animals from reputable breeders and encourages anyone with concerns to come into his store and have a conversation with him. He even said he would take people for tours of the facilities.

Those against 'The Barking Boutique' say they are not stopping their fight, and plan to propose another ordinance at a later time.