The people have spoken: No more puppy mill dogs in pet stores

By on April 16, 2019 with 22 Comments

The pursuit and promotion of humane business models for pet stores carries so much promise in our work, and we’re gaining ground in our campaign to halt the sale of puppy mill puppies in retail settings. To date, 300 local governments—cities, towns and counties—of all sizes and demographics across twenty-four states, have enacted such policies at the urging of concerned residents.

The movement to prohibit the sale of commercially-raised dogs, cats and sometimes rabbits, in pet stores has been community-driven from the beginning, when the first such ordinance passed in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2006. In case after case, people who learned the truth about where the puppies in the pet store windows came from and how often they were sick took the issue to elected officials. And those officials have listened.

This local movement also paved the way for state laws on the subject. When California enacted this policy statewide in 2017, thirty-six localities including, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco had already done so. And, last year, when Maryland became the second state to ban the sale of puppies and kittens in pet stores, its largest county—Montgomery County—had already placed a similar law on the books.

The HSUS Stop Puppy Mills Campaign has strongly backed these local and state efforts, assisting local advocates and lawmakers, and our attorneys have successfully defended many of these laws. Now, we’ve turned our attention to New York, the state with the largest number of puppy-selling pet stores. We are working closely with New York State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens and Assemblywoman Linda B. Rosenthal of Manhattan, as well as coalition of national and New York-based animal protection organizations, to ensure their legislation (S. 4234/A.6298) becomes law. It would require over 80 pet stores in the state to convert to a business model that does not rely on the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits raised in cruel mills. Instead, stores would strengthen their profit centers by selling products and offering services. They’d also be encouraged to host adoption events with shelters and rescues.

The primary goal of these state and local laws is to decrease the demand for puppy mill puppies until it is no longer profitable for commercial breeders to confine hundreds of dogs to small, wire cages and breed them continually to churn out as many puppies as possible. These laws also spare young puppies the trauma of spending their early lives in a retail store. And none of these laws would prevent people from getting a puppy directly from a responsible breeder in person.

Our recent investigations of pet stores in Georgia, Nevada, New York, Virginia and other areas have demonstrated that pet stores often hide information concerning the source of their animals and those animals’ poor treatment from the public.

Instead of cleaning up its act, and respecting the will of the people in localities that have said no to puppy mills, puppy selling pet stores have been lobbying behind the scenes to overturn local ordinances. Petland has invested heavily in nearly a dozen states this year, trying to pass legislation that would strip localities of their right to set standards for pet stores, and void existing local laws. So far, these efforts have backfired, as state after state has rejected these counterattacks. For our part, we’ve made sure that the resulting media coverage continues to put a spotlight on puppy mills and the stores that sell their puppies.

If you live in New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts or Maine please let your state lawmakers know you support legislation prohibiting the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores. And wherever you live, please talk to your local elected officials and to other citizens about the challenge of puppy mills and the important work that we’re doing to end their abuses. This campaign has a true grassroots spirit and energy, and it’s sweeping the nation. Let’s keep it that way.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. David says:

    I won”t tell you what I think of your misinformation campaign on this issue because the last time I testified against a HSUS misinformation campaign, I received a personal letter from a “special secretary of the President of the HSUS” which gave me the impression it was intended to intimidate me!

    • Karen says:

      This article is accurate. Pet store owners lie, and their ONLY interest is making money while dogs suffer and die. This cycle of abuse needs to end. Adopt don’t shop is the ONLY way to go.

    • Kathleen Bossart says:

      No misinformation, if you love respect lifeline in any form. Have you ever visited a puppy MILL? If not you should, you would change your mind real fast, it is deplorable what happens there.

      • Wayne Strickland says:

        Have You visited one? If so the name please

        • Jaci presby says:

          I got my best friend at mainly puppies I’m so thankful I did. Who knows what would of happened to her. I got her when she was nine weeks lie. She had already had her tail cropped!!! What a vicious man. She was 1 pound. 4 oz. I had her for 12 thanks to God and a gall stone surgery would’ve killed her. We had her go to sleep today at 4 pounds..

    • Deborah I Kurkoski says:

      Please keep it up until every one of these pet stores and filthy backyard breeders around this country are shut down for good. So no more of our beautiful precious animals have to suffer at the hands of these evil vile filthy monsters. God bless everyone of you involved in this very compassionate and important issue.

    • dee says:

      Awe. Poor baby 👶

  2. Vivian Shirazi says:


  3. Sarah Bird says:

    No more pippy mills…

  4. Jacqueline Whitney says:

    How does a breeder differ from a puppy mill? How many dogs can you breed and for how long?

    • Kathleen Bossart says:

      You are right, I believe there should be guidelines to follow. But I do not want any form of government getting involved, cause any time they do, they screw it up, and try to make money off of it for themselves. This marijuana is a perfect example of this.

      • Michell Weaver says:

        How on earth could lawmakers make money off stopping the sale of pets in pet stores. We want to stop puppy mills forever!!

        • Mats says:

          When they control the means of how, when and where dogs are sold, they also can control fees, licensing, special taxes, etc…
          It is a racket.

          And what happens to the good sellers? The ones who buy from reputable breeders and take good care of their dogs. I know of one personally. I guess they just close the doors of the business that they spent a lifetime building. You can’t sell a business that has lost it’s ability to make a profit.

    • Michell Weaver says:

      If they are USDA regulated they are a puppy mill. Online breeders are puppy mills.

    • Kat says:

      Responsible breeders don’t harm their animals, and they are in clean, comfortable nice conditions and don’t just churn out puppies or cats continuously. That’s why you have to get to know your breeder and be able to see how the animals are raised, also they don’t just send the puppies or kittens off to a store they personally raise them until they are ready to be placed in a new home. But I would not buy from any breeder I would adopt from a shelter or an organization where you can adopt rescue animals, no one should buy pure bread animals because they have a lot of health issues from inbreeding etc.

  5. Ivana Kinsley says:

    why Maryland stop selling puppy mill?

  6. Betty says:

    We purchased a puppy from Mainely Puppies in So. Paris, ME. After reading the Better Business Bureau gave them an A+ rating, we thought it was safe. Little did we know it’s nothing more than a puppy mill, the owner has 250+ dogs kept in cages in a barn. These dogs will live their entire lives in cages. The puppy we bought had serious medical problems, wouldn’t eat, drink and turned out to be a very vicious dog. The owner of this place won’t let you see the mother’s & father’s of the pups he’s selling, he tells people, “you don’t need to see them.” Someone once asked him, “why are your mixed puppies so expensive,” he replied, “because their cute and people will pay.” He’s known for being careless, rude and not caring about the hundreds of dogs he has in cages, he’s in it for the almighty dollar. Maine’s government needs to do something about puppy mills, hundreds of dogs need to be saved!!!!

    • Kate says:

      I just purchased a dog from them yesterday and it seemed like a puppy mill when I got there. What kind of issues did your puppy have? I’m really scared!

  7. Michell Weaver says:

    An employee at PETLAND in Rockford,IL told a news reporter about the puppies that they get from puppy mills stating that some puppies arrive dead and all are very sick. NOTHING was done and they are still selling puppies!! The Governor won’t answer letters and is not interested!!😠😪

  8. Michell Weaver says:

    September 21st is National Puppy Mill Awareness day!! We all need to stand up and fight these inhumane MONSTERS!! Please, please write your lawmakers and ask them to stop the sale of pets in pet stores. The lives of these animals are counting on you!! 💕😇

  9. Mary Hasnas says:

    Mainly puppies in south Paris Maine is a terrible place. The owner Steve is money hungry. We are very lucky to have purchased Maggie Mae and she is the best dog ever. But was supposed to be a Schnoodle. Half poodle and half shnauzer. DNA shows 5 breeds. We love her and it does not manner but Steve is terrible. I look now on his website and way to many puppies. Some so much older. Poor pups. And he mixes 4 breeds and sells for so much money. He should be shut down and people need to be aware. We were very lucky though to get our pup. August of 2020.

  10. Arielle Curtis says:

    Mainely Puppies Plus LLC and Pawz and Clawz in Maine needs to go. Mainely puppies runs his own puppy mill and sells from his own store. Pawz and clawz buys pups and kittens from puppy mills. PLEASE SHUT THEM DOWN

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.