Yesterday, a federal U.S. District Court rejected a pet store’s challenge to the City of East Providence’s ordinance restricting the sale of dogs produced in commercial, large-scale puppy mills, providing an important legal precedent in our national effort to crack down on abusive mills. More than 70 local governments now restrict the retail sale of puppy mill dogs, including Cook County, Ill., Los Angeles, and Phoenix. We should see that number grow as advocates are energized by the court ruling and take action in their communities, helping to drive the market toward pet adoption and responsible dog breeders.
But there’s other good news on the anti-puppy mill front.
Late last week, Virginia became the latest state to pass a law prohibiting pet stores from purchasing from breeders with recent and severe Animal Welfare Act violations.
We are also working directly with pet stores to promote the humane economy and change their business models for the better, including the latest conversion of Pets Plus of Gibbstown, N.J. Within a week of its grand reopening on March 14, 2015, all 11 of the former shelter dogs and puppies in this pet store had been adopted, and it was eagerly accepting more rescued animals from shelters to meet the needs of the community. So far, 2,800 former shelter dogs have been saved as a direct result of these partnerships with 12 pet stores we’ve worked with to make changes in their supply chain.
In the Rhode Island case, The HSUS’ litigation team coordinated the filing of an amicus brief by the local Rhode Island animal protection group, Ocean State Animal Coalition, with representation by Boston firm Goodwin Procter. In his ruling, Chief Judge William E. Smith, Federal District Court for the District of Rhode Island said: “A government’s interest in preventing the evils associated with ‘puppy mills’ that both parties cite to, including inhumane treatment of animals and overpopulation, are plainly legitimate ends.”