So the city of East Providence has gone so far as to ban the sale of dogs and cats. Worse, it did so in a way that looks like the ordinance targeted a specific business:
The owners of an East Providence pet store asked a federal judge Thursday to strike down as unconstitutional a city ordinance banning the sale of cats and dogs.
The City Council on June 3 passed an ordinance making it a criminal offense to sell cats or dogs, just weeks after the Perfect Puppy opened its doors at 1235 Wampanoag Trail.
You know, folks are railing against mayoral candidate Vincent Cianci, saying that it would send a terrible signal about Rhode Island governance to elect him as mayor of Providence, once again, but I have to wonder whether that’s worse than headlines suggesting that people starting businesses around here might find themselves suddenly targeted by city ordinances and state laws that pull the rug out from under their investments.
Ultimately, I don’t think the courts should interfere with the ability of representatives to pursue such horrible policies and practices. That just moves them to a venue over which the people have less control.
Rather, the people of East Providence should take responsibility for their contribution to the bad reputation that’s driving Rhode Island into the ground and replace their city council with one that doesn’t see government as a way to pick and choose what our neighbors can do for a living.