McPherson's Board of Zoning Appeals granted a permit Thursday night to Tami and Dan Wilson to operate a pet store at 200 N. Main St. after the couple made a concession not to sell kittens.
The Wilsons already own and operate one pet store in Hutchinson, and in addition to selling pets such as lizards, chinchillas, mice, birds and fish, they also will operate a pet grooming service on the premises.
Tami Wilson informed the board that animals that are being groomed would not be kept overnight, and she would  be open to transporting the animals to their owners should circumstances prevent them from picking them up. Furthermore, Wilson said no animal would be in the store long enough to worry about disposal of their waste.
Mary Steffes and Debbie Gray of the McPherson Humane Society were on hand to express opposition to the store selling kittens. The pair pointed out that the animal shelter already has 85 cats on hand waiting to be adopted, and they felt that selling kittens would worsen McPherson’s feral cat problem, as the store would not spay or neuter the animals prior to sale. Wilson pointed out that spaying or neutering cats for sale would dramatically increase the cost of the kittens.
As a compromise, Wilson agreed not to sell kittens. She went on to say she would work with the Humane Society by posting information on cat adoption in her store.
The compromise also pleased McPherson Main Street Director Ann Engle, who, while being pleased that a new business would be coming to main street, had reservations about noise and odors from the store. However, Engle noted, there was no opposition to the store from other Main Street businesses.
The board approved the store on a vote of three to one, with board member Bob Harder voting against, saying he didn’t believe a pet store in the middle of downtown was a good for the area. The Wilsons now have 180 days to file the appropriate permits.