Sighting in on Puppy Mills

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Coming soon to a City Hall near you: advocates in Portland and the Willamette Valley hope to pass local ordinances barring pet stores from selling pets from so-called puppy mills. Stores would offer adoptable dogs and cats from shelters and rescues rather than sell animals bred in facilities known for unhealthy and inhumane conditions.

At an April meeting in Portland, organizers from Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of the United States shared experiences gleaned from passing 270+ similar bills now on the books across the US. “Some lawmakers worry that people won’t be able to buy purebreds if the bill passes,” said one organizer, “but this doesn’t ban breeding, and reputable breeders don’t sell their puppies in pet stores.”

Advocates are gathering support to introduce a bill in the next legislative session. Learn more at PuppiesArentProducts.org.

Puppy mill pair rescue others

National Mill Dog Rescue (NMDR) traveled through the Midwest recently, saving more than 85 dogs from puppy mills. Along for the journey were Harley and Teddy, Chihuahuas who were rescued after years of being kept as breeder dogs. The pair now lives in comfort while helping raise awareness and funds to rescue others like them. The organization was founded in 2007, and to date has rescued more than 9500 puppy mill survivors. Follow Harley at Facebook.com/HarleyFreightTrainTaylor and Teddy at Facebook.com/TeddyBearBurchfield. Learn more about NMDR at MillDogRescue.org.

Chicago passes anti-puppy mill ordinance

The Chicago City Council passed an ordinance banning the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits obtained through large-scale breeding operations in March.  Pet stores will still be able to offer animals to customers, but the pets must come from shelters or rescue groups.  Chicago aldermen passed the ordinance 49 to 1, signifying a growing trend toward legislation that supports animal welfare.  The Chicago ruling follows similar laws put forth in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and 43 other communities throughout the nation.

New York announces Animal Protection Initiative

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NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman had launched a new program aimed at protecting animals from fighting rings, puppy mills and being sold by retail operations.  According to the AG’s website, the initiative will work through civil and criminal avenues to target animal cruelty as well as unscrupulous” sales of pets and other animals, striving to bring the perpetrators of these and other animal crimes to justice.” 

Stacy Wolf, vice president and chief counsel of the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement and Legal Advocacy Department, says, We are thankful to Attorney General Schneiderman for his persistent leadership in combating some of the worst forms of animal cruelty.” 

One more down

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Thanks to a dedicated effort by the ASPCA and other animal rights organizations, Lambriar, Inc, one of the largest puppy brokers in the United States, has closed shop.  While the Kansas-based business was not a puppy mill in itself, it brokered sales of thousands of puppies each year between mills and pet stores nationwide, and had been cited by the USDA in 2008 for keeping unhealthy animals in its facility.  Lambriar owner Roger Lambert cited “increasing rules and regulations and increased pressure from animal rights activists” as reasons for folding the business.  For more information on eradicating puppy mills visit NoPetStorePuppies.com.

HSUS applauds USDA’s stance against puppy mills

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The Humane Society of the United States is lauding “a very significant proposed federal action” issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The action would close a loophole in the Animal Welfare act that has allowed puppy mills to sidestep regulations to continue operations without inspections or oversight.  According the proposed legislation, the rule would revise the definition of “retail pet store” in order to “bring more pet animal retailers under the Animal Welfare Act requirements.”   In 2011 a petition circulated by HSUS and the ASPCA garnered more than 32,000 signatures asking the White House to begin cracking down on unregulated puppy mills.  See the proposed legislation at HumaneSociety.org.

Facebook says “no” to puppy mills

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Following an ASPCA campaign, Facebook has begun removing puppy mill ads from its Marketplace online classifieds.  According to the ASPCA, individuals can still use the service to help re-home dogs, but large-scale commercial breeders will no longer be able to list dogs on the popular community forum. 

ASPCA welcomes the change, says president and CEO Ed Sayres.  “Removing an online platform for the cruel puppy mill industry sets a positive example of corporate citizenship and will help improve the lives of countless dogs.”