Florida and Georgia lawmakers make shameful attempts to protect puppy mills

By on February 22, 2018 with 6 Comments

Staff members of the HSUS puppy mills campaign frequently hear from individuals who have had bad experiences with dogs sourced from puppy mills. For example, they heard from a pet owner who had bought an English bulldog puppy from a pet store in Miami. The owner reported being told to return to the store a week later to pick up the puppy because he had a cold. A week after bringing him home, the puppy’s condition got worse and he had to be rushed to the pet clinic because he could barely breathe. The owners learned he had severe pneumonia and over the next few weeks, they incurred more than $5,000 in vet bills.

Another pet owner bought a puppy at a pet store in Largo, Florida, only to realize that the dog was extremely sick and had to be admitted to the hospital where he was fighting for his life.

Around the country, growing awareness about puppy mills and their terrible conditions, which often cause sickness in the animals, has led to more than 250 localities enacting laws banning the sales of puppy mill dogs and requiring pet stores to source animals from shelters or rescues only. Last year, the state of California enacted a law, and similar bills have recently been introduced in Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, Oregon, Illinois, and Nebraska. Major cities like Chicago, Boston, and Austin have also enacted these laws.

But lawmakers in two states – Florida and Georgia – are bucking that trend by taking up bills that would preempt local laws to protect puppy mill sales.

In Florida, there are nearly 60 local ordinances banning the sale of mill puppies, including in Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg, while Georgia has eight localities with such ordinances. The bills include radical, overly broad language prohibiting local governments from regulating where pet stores source puppies. These pro-puppy mill bills are the result of pet store lobbyists going state-to-state, asking legislators to shield them from local control. Surely, a better option for these pet stores is to clean up their act, stop sourcing from cruel mills, and stop selling sick puppies so local governments won’t need to regulate them.

In Florida, lawmakers introduced an amendment to an unrelated tax bill (H.B. 7087) this week that would prevent local governments from prohibiting the sale of personal property subject to sales tax, which includes puppies. The amendment would prevent localities from banning the sale of mill puppies and void the nearly 60 existing ordinances in that state. This amendment would have far-reaching consequences well beyond pet store regulation.

In Georgia, bills recently introduced in both chambers (S.B. 418 & H.B. 948) would prevent local governments from restricting the sale of goods regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Beyond stripping localities of their right to prohibit puppy mill sales, this would prevent local regulation of thousands, possibly millions, of goods and products.

The dangerous bills in Florida and Georgia must be stopped. The HSUS is doing all that it can to stop them, but residents of these states must also speak up and demand that their elected state officials vote “no” on these bills. Lawmakers protecting the outdated, socially unacceptable, and destructive puppy-selling pet store industry at the expense of animal welfare should know their constituents disapprove.

If you live in Florida or Georgia, please call and email your state representative and senator and urge a “no” vote on Florida’s H.B. 7087 or Georgia’s S.B. 418 & H.B. 948. And no matter where you live, make sure your local, state, and federal lawmakers know you’d like to see an end to the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores.

P.S. Our Puppy Mills Campaign is working on a study that looks back on 10 years of sick puppy complaints received by The HSUS – more than 5,000 complaints. Florida tops that list for pet store puppy complaints, and for consumer complaints about sick puppies overall. We will bring you more on that study when it is complete.

States need to be more proactive in stopping spread of chronic wasting disease among deer

By on February 21, 2018 with 3 Comments
States need to be more proactive in stopping spread of chronic wasting disease among deer

Captive deer farms are breeding grounds for the deadly chronic wasting disease, which has now spread to 24 states. While some states have wisely banned such facilities, others have done nothing, even as the disease spreads and costs taxpayers millions of dollars in response efforts. On the blog today, I have invited Samantha Hagio, director . . . 

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HSUS and HSI programs helping dogs here and abroad

By on February 20, 2018 with 1 Comment
HSUS and HSI programs helping dogs here and abroad

So many of you, like so many of us within the HSUS family, care about dogs and their well-being. I’m proud of the work we’re doing to help dogs here and abroad, and wanted to share some news of our activities in this arena. The HSUS and Humane Society International work hands-on each day to . . . 

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Mexico’s Chihuahua state along U.S. border bans dogfighting

By on February 16, 2018 with 0 Comments
Mexico’s Chihuahua state along U.S. border bans dogfighting

In just two short years since its founding, our Humane Society International/Mexico office has made its mark in the protection of animals. Last year, when Mexico was hit by two earthquakes, team members deployed to hard-hit areas, bringing relief to more than 6,200 animals. We have conducted an investigation into the sale of horse meat . . . 

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Florida high school shooter bragged about killing animals

By on February 15, 2018 with 39 Comments
Florida high school shooter bragged about killing animals

Once again, our country is in collective mourning over a senseless, gruesome massacre at a school, this time in Parkland, Florida. As the mother of a high schooler myself, I am heartbroken and worried for every child, for every family, and for every community that has to endure such suffering and pain. Beyond the shared . . . 

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Bills in Iowa would force grocery stores to sell eggs from caged hens

By on February 13, 2018 with 6 Comments
Bills in Iowa would force grocery stores to sell eggs from caged hens

The HSUS works year-round to secure the passage of animal protection bills in state legislatures, and to block bad ones advanced by lobbyists for Big Ag. Some lawmakers in Iowa have recently introduced two retrograde bills that seek to reverse the good work done by animal protection advocates in improving conditions for hens in battery . . . 

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As world watches Pyeongchang, HSI focuses attention on Korea’s grisly dog meat trade

By on February 12, 2018 with 3 Comments
As world watches Pyeongchang, HSI focuses attention on Korea’s grisly dog meat trade

By Kitty Block A new generation of heroes has emerged in South Korea, and they are my friends and colleagues. This weekend, as viewers around the world tuned in to watch skating, skiing, hockey, and other sports at the Winter Games, I waited for news from the Humane Society International rescue team working just down . . . 

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Making progress for animals: a message from HSUS’ acting president and CEO

By on February 9, 2018 with 10 Comments
Making progress for animals: a message from HSUS’ acting president and CEO

By Kitty Block Today, as the Winter Games begin in Pyeongchang, my colleagues in Humane Society International are on the ground in South Korea, extending their important work against the dog meat trade. Three years ago, The HSUS and HSI embarked on an important campaign in that nation, the only one in the world where . . . 

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Taking on a Mexican spectacle of cruelty

By on February 1, 2018 with 7 Comments
Taking on a Mexican spectacle of cruelty

It is almost unfathomably monstrous, and it is repeated around the year, year after year, in the municipalities of Yucatan, Mexico. Men riding bulls goad the animals to chase horses in arenas. The bulls charge at the horses, injuring and eviscerating them. The horses, their guts hanging loose, die a slow and painful death even . . . 

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Thousands of commercial deer farms in U.S. are looming danger for wildlife and even people

By on January 31, 2018 with 5 Comments
Thousands of commercial deer farms in U.S. are looming danger for wildlife and even people

In Montana, hunters are fanning out across two large swaths of land in the state to shoot deer to be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD). The disease was detected for the first time in wild deer populations in Montana last fall, marking the steady advance of CWD into vast tracts of land throughout the . . . 

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