Way to go, New Jersey! The state that gave the world Bruce Springsteen recently passed a law requiring pet stores sell only rescue animals, North Jersey reports.
Buying puppies, rather than rescuing puppies in shelters, has been a pet peeve (yes, pun intended) for many animal rights activists for years. And it’s not just because every time someone goes to a pet store and purchases a puppy, another puppy wastes away in a shelter with a chance of being euthanized. Pet stores and their puppy policies contribute greatly to puppy mills, which is a constant, growing, and inhumane problem.
In fact, the Humane Society estimates that there are at least 10,000 individual puppy mills in the United States, and those puppy mills are producing more than 2.4 million dogs a year. And of those 10,000 puppy mills, less than 3,000 of them are actually regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, meaning that more than 7,000 puppy mills are left free and unchecked to do whatever they want, which all too frequently results in inhumane conditions and rampant dog abuse. The Humane Society states that currently, 99 percent of dogs and cats sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, where animals are basically mass-produced, forced to live in inhumane, unsanitary environments, and given little to no medical attention.
The Human Society quotes heartbreaking statistics and realities faced by dogs forced to live in puppy mills.
“Mother dogs remain locked in cages their whole lives and have half the life expectancy of the average dog. Twenty percent of their puppies don’t even make it to stores. They die in terrible conditions. And the ones who do get sold often have undisclosed health issues.”
Meanwhile, as these 10,000 puppy mills crunch out 2.4 million dogs annually, the ASPCA reports that approximately 3.9 million dogs enter shelters every year. And of those 3.9 million dogs who are sheltered, 1.2 million are euthanized.
The statistics for both puppy mills and shelter dogs are stunning and sobering, and New Jersey has decided to do something about it.
Earlier this week, the New Jersey State Senate approved a bill that will require pet stores licensed after January 12, 2016, sell only dogs and cats that the stores have obtained from shelters and animal rescue organizations, Good Housekeeping reported.
Senator Raymond Lesniak introduced the bill.
“These puppy mills have gained a notorious reputation for putting profits ahead of the humane treatment of dogs and cats. Their mass breeding has created inbred health and behavioral problems and the inhumane conditions have left too many of these pets to suffer from neglect and mistreatment.”
The bill, which passed 27-8, will now make its way to the Assembly to be debated. A representative of the pet industry, Mike Bober, President and CEO of the Washington-based Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, opposes the bill and believes it to be misguided.
“It’s a bill that comes from a good place, but unfortunately does some very bad things,” said Bober. He claims the bill will make it difficult for any new store to open and insists that it will weaken a pet protection law that has been a model for the rest of the country.
Lesniak continues to argue that the bill is needed in order to end the rampant abuse and gross negligence that occurs in the puppy mills.
“This is a national movement. It cannot be stopped,” he recently told a Senate committee in June. “We will not be going away.”
The bill would prohibit shelters, pounds, and rescue organizations from purchasing dogs or cats from breeders or brokers. It also requires rescue organizations to be licensed in the town in which they are located.
What do you think of the bill that would require pet stores sell cats and dogs only from local shelter organizations? Is it too restrictive for potential business owners, or is it a model that the rest of the country should adopt? Let us know!
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