Animal Welfare Blog: Assisting Animals Through Legislation
Tuesday, May 12, 2020
By: Carol Whaley, Senior Director of Clinic and Community Services
What can be a more enticing display than adorable puppies of every breed in the pet store?
It can be very difficult to pass by and not be tempted to make an impulse purchase. But save those impulse purchases for more expendable items such as gum or candy.
Those puppies in the pet store come at a steep price financially and emotionally for consumers and an even steeper price for the puppies and the breeding dogs you don’t see.
Most pet stores which sell purebred puppies for several hundred or even thousands of dollars purchase their puppies from commercial breeding facilities (or puppy mills) and have them shipped hundreds of miles in some cases and in less than ideal conditions. The breeding dogs are left behind to continue producing litter after litter in cramped, unsanitary conditions with little human contact.
These puppies, having been raised without human contact and often in unsanitary conditions, may have difficulty transitioning to a home or worse, may become extremely ill or even die just days after coming home. Some of these illnesses are zoonotic which are transmissible to humans and can cause the family to get sick as well.
Commercial breeding facilities do not uphold animal welfare standards which most pet owners would be comfortable with. And if consumers continue to purchase from pet stores or online sellers which source from these facilities, there is no incentive for these operators to stop these cruel practices.
Pennsylvania commercial breeding facilities consistently make the yearly list of the Humane Society of the United States’ Horrible Hundred puppy broker or puppy breeders. Those who, again and again, are handed welfare violations but continue to operate. In 2020, Pennsylvania made the Horrible Hundred list with six dealers.
But we have the power to change the lives of companion animals by advocating for the passage of The Pet Retail Sales Ban (SB #44), Victoria’s Law. The law will prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores unless sourced from shelters and rescues, close the loophole in the outdoor sales law and require advertisers to include license numbers. It will promote animal welfare, adoption and responsible breeders.
You can also show your support by joining advocates across the state as we “Get Moving for Victoria’s Law” the weekend of May 16-17. Take a picture of you and your dog (foster dog or shelter dog) taking a walk and post to social media with the hashtag #VictoriasLaw. We encourage all advocates to follow COVID-19 social distancing protocols when walking their pet. Sign up for the event here.