Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday cemented California’s status as the leading state on animal welfare by signing into law AB 485, a bill that makes California the first state to ban the sale of puppies, kittens, and rabbits in pet stores, unless shelters or qualified rescue organizations supply the animals. Pet stores will have one year to transition to a more humane model by choosing to sell only pet supplies and small animals, or begin working with qualified nonprofits to place homeless animals into new homes. The HSUS and a large coalition of groups backed the bill, which was sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation.
This public policy debate has been playing out at the local level, with more than 240 towns and cities nationwide, and dozens in California alone, banning the sale of puppies in pet stores in recent years. Maine came extremely close to passing a similar statewide ban, and the action in California could spark that state and others to try to replicate the policy. Massachusetts is considering a similar bill right now.
While California lawmakers have cut off the puppy-mill-pet-store supply chain, lawmakers in some other states are considering protecting that pipeline by way of preemption bills that would prohibit localities from banning the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores. We are gearing up to fight those efforts.
The HSUS has converted a number of local pet store chains, including Pets Plus Natural, to forswear the idea of selling puppy mill dogs and to instead work with shelters to adopt out homeless animals. For pet stores, this is a best practice, since selling dogs from mills tarnishes the reputation of their businesses and courts protests, investigations, and other forms of activism.
Just a few weeks ago, a Manhattan puppy store closed its doors two months after The HSUS exposed mistreatment of its puppies, so the debate is playing out directly in the marketplace too. Earlier this month, the CDC expanded a disease outbreak advisory linked to pet store puppies, with 55 human victims now identified, 13 of whom became sick enough to be hospitalized. The CDC is now reporting that the current strain of the human disease linked to pet store puppies, Campylobacter infection, is resistant to many common antibiotics. If that disease pathway is confirmed, it will only accelerate the national movement away from commerce from puppy mills.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal agency in charge of inspecting puppy mills that sell to pet stores, has routinely relicensed pet breeders who have dozens of animal welfare violations – including the very same pet breeders who might be linked to the current outbreak. The HSUS, Humane Society Legislative Fund, and other groups have asked American citizens to write to the USDA to urge that the agency crack down on operators who game the system by failing to comply with basic animal care standards, but who get licensed under the name of a family member or in some other duplicitous manner. You can make your voice heard by taking action here.
Whether it’s at the local, state, or federal level, reform in the large-scale commercial dog breeding world must happen. These mills operate here in the United States, and they cause harm to dogs. They bring too many risks and too few rewards, and it’s time for the American public to embrace a new model of bringing pets into their lives in a humane way.
Amidst the tragedy and suffering wrought by Maria in Puerto Rico – and that toll exacted on animals and people is incalculable — there are also extraordinary demonstrations of the power and durability of the human bond with animals. Adam Parascandola, director of animal protection and crisis response at Humane Society International (HSI), reports that . . .
Today marks another milestone in our global campaign to improve the lives of animals in agriculture, with Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, demanding changes in the way chickens are raised for their meat. Nestlé will require a specific set of important reforms from all of its suppliers and will phase out its use of . . .
Two summers ago, a color photograph of Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer and his hunting guide kneeling over Cecil, an African lion they’d slain, found its way onto social media platforms and ricocheted across the planet. In response, 45 of the world’s biggest airlines – including all major U.S. carriers – said they’d no longer ship . . .
In what is perhaps the most meaningful fur-free announcement worldwide to date, luxury fashion brand Gucci has proclaimed that its future is fur-free. After working with The HSUS and the Italian-based animal welfare group LAV (a member, with The HSUS, of the Fur Free Alliance), Gucci’s president and CEO Marco Bizzarri shared the news today . . .
One of Humane Society International’s most high-impact programs, Street Dog Defender, has the ambitious goal of improving the lives of 300 million street dogs around the world. These are animals who typically survive outside of homes or commercial locations and often live on the edge, without regular sources of food or water, let alone any . . .
“On animal welfare we will take the tough action necessary to deal with those whose callousness or greed inflicts pain and suffering on innocent creatures. At the moment the maximum sentence for animal cruelty is just six months. I believe that when we face deliberate, calculating and sadistic behavior, we need to deploy the full . . .
Last week, the Kansas City Star reported that an elementary school worker in Springfield was being investigated by federal authorities for pornography involving sexual acts between that individual, a four-year-old child, and a dog. The facts in this case as we understand them are deeply disturbing and, by all appearances, the U.S. attorney in the . . .
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., announced yesterday that the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act is not going to come up for consideration on the House floor anytime soon. That’s a relief. But let’s be clear: this disgraceful bill should never be revived or resuscitated. It’s an appalling package of reckless items on gun . . .
Lawmakers, Indian tribes, HSUS call for national ban on trophy hunting of grizzly bears in lower 48 states
Today, I stood shoulder to shoulder with leaders from some of the best known Native American tribes in the West – the Shoshone Bannock, Hopi, and the Crow Creek Sioux, among others – to support the introduction of federal legislation that will establish special protections for grizzly bears in the lower 48 states. Wildlife advocate . . .