PET shops in a US city have been banned from selling animals not obtained from shelters.
Council chiefs in Cambridge Massachusetts passed the law which store owners now fear will shut them down.
They claim the move is the tip of the iceberg because they say activists object to animals being kept as pets.
The law comes into force in 2018 and bans the sale of any mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and arachnids not obtained from rescue shelters.
A representative for the pet shop industry appealed to Massachusetts City Council not to pass the law claiming the move was designed to close the city’s two pet stores.
Mike Bobber, president and CEO of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, said: “It quickly became clear, however, that the proponents of this proposition were intent on banning the sale of almost all companion animals within the city.
“Upon first learning about the proposed prohibition on the retail sale of companion animals other than fish, we were convinced that a mistake had been made.
“After all, there are only two stores operating in Cambridge, and both of them are operated by national corporations who lead by example when it comes to responsible sourcing, consumer education and animal welfare.”
Bober said the backers of the restrictions were not willing to work with the two pet shops in Cambridge.
An advisory committee made up of representatives of the Cambridge Animal Commission, local pet shops, the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Rescue League of Boston and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) will meet for 18 months after the move becomes law to help shelters and pet shops work more closely.