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How Much Is That Puppy in the Window?


Animal welfare advocates across the country are showing that they have some bite, as well as bark, because they are gaining legal victories against one of their long-standing foes: puppy mills.

  • Around the country State and Local Legislatures are passing laws aimed at shutting down large commercial pet-breeding operations that many say impose inhumane and intolerable living conditions on dogs and puppies that ultimately fill pet store windows. Many cities, including Chicago and San Diego, as well as, approximately 43 others, have adopted bans aimed at preventing pet stores from buying their puppies from large commercial breeders. What this tactic does is cut off demand for the puppy mill puppies. The Chicago ordinance requires that pet stores purchase their puppy stock from shelters or humane nonprofit organizations.
  • Critics of the puppy mills contend that buyers don't realize or understand that if they buy a dog from a pet store that purchases from these commercial breeding facilities that the dogs there are terribly treated.
  • The puppy mills are not opposed to fighting back. They have, in fact, gained so me victories of their own. Phoenix, for example, in a recent action adopted an anti-puppy mill ordinance and was sued by owners of a local pet store, arguing that the ordinance would put them out of business. In April of this year a federal Court granted a preliminary injunction, that is, they stopped the ordinance's enforcement, arguing, in part, that the pet store showed a likelihood of suffering irreparable harm.
  • The Federal Government has long been involved in regulating commercial sales of animals. Under the 1966 ANIMAL WELFARE ACT large breeders are required to obtain a license insuring minimal standards for care of their animals. But due to budget constraints, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been unable to enforce the rules. Also, large breeders that sold puppies over the internet were free from the regulations as the U.S. Department of Agriculture did not have jurisdiction over them. Those online breeders were able to claim special status under the Animal Welfare Act because it was designed to deal with actual brick and mortar pet shops. Recently, a growing number of large scale breeders, who have been selling puppies online, sight unseen, and still claiming the pet store exemption, have alarmed regulators from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Last year, under pressure from animal advocates, the U.S. Department of Agriculture changed the definition of "retail pet store" to encompass many of those on-line retailers.
  • To sum up, animal advocates are making in-roads to regulate what most Americans believe is a very dirty business. Americans love their pets and want to insure that all animals used by breeders do not receive cruel and inhumane treatment.

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Davis & Davis Attorneys at Law

Davis & Davis Attorneys At Law