Big win! 400 communities across the U.S. now stand up against puppy mills

By on November 2, 2021 with 14 Comments

Our campaign to stop puppy mill cruelty just reached an important milestone with the passage of the 400th local ordinance prohibiting the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores. And this is something to celebrate, as it shows so many people coming together to make the world a more humane place for animals.

More and more communities are seeing the cute puppy or kitten frolicking in the pet store window very differently, thanks to a heightened awareness about the puppy mill industry. In this industry, dog and cat mothers and fathers are treated like moneymaking machines, bred over and over with little regard for their health or well-being, what to speak of lack of love and comfort. The passage of a humane pet store ordinance in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, not only got us to this new benchmark of 400 local ordinances but is also the first of its kind in the state.

USDA Dogs at puppy mills can suffer sickness and injuries, like this cocker spaniel with matted fur and an ear condition, discovered at a U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed puppy mill in Iowa that sold to dozens of pet stores. USDA inspectors also found some dead puppies on the property on different dates in 2021.

One of the most inspiring parts of advocating for animal issues, like ending puppy mill sales, is how nonpartisan the work can be: These 400 cities, towns and counties across 31 different states that have cut off the puppy-mill-to-pet-store pipeline represent a diverse array of urban and rural areas in all parts of the country. For instance, in Florida this year, progressive-leaning Orange County and conservative-leaning Manatee County both enacted humane pet store ordinances, and together they will stop 10 pet stores from selling puppy mill puppies.

Laws on the state level paint a similar picture. Just this year, Illinois and Washington enacted humane pet store laws—both with strong bipartisan support. And in Republican-controlled Texas, similar legislation got within a razor-thin margin of passing. Not only are we seeing more laws enacted and making progress in some of the most unlikely places, but we’re also witnessing the strong enforcement of such laws. The Maryland Attorney General announced last month that the state settled its lawsuit against a small chain that refused to comply with Maryland’s prohibition on the sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. Just Puppies agreed to stop selling puppies and to pay at least $100,000 in fines for selling puppies for over a year after the law went into effect.

The message is clear: The days of selling commercially raised puppies in pet stores are numbered. But this industry is not going down without a fight. Rather than starting the transition to a products and services business model, two pet store chains in Illinois—Petland and Furry Babies, and a team of their hired lobbyists—spent the last couple of weeks trying to get lawmakers to repeal the new pet store law during a special “veto session.” We were able to stop this last-ditch effort by reminding lawmakers how popular the new law is with the people of their districts.

Whether elected officials care most about animal welfare, consumer protection, public health or deceptive lending practices, we have evidence to show humane pet store laws satisfy so many priorities that are important to people. That’s why this issue resonates with so many, from so many different walks of life.

Everyone can join in the effort to stop puppy mills: Check out our puppy mills research page and our Advocates Guide to Stopping Puppy Mills. You can also see these tips on how to get a dog from a humane source.

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Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Jeane Camargo da Silva says:

    Que alegria esta notícia! Já havia passado da hora de acabar com esta prática cruel e desumana! Obrigada aos envolvidos nesta vitória!

  2. Ulrich Stolarczyk says:

    More than time to stop this kind of brutality and stupid behaviour, there are a lot of dogs and cats round the world looking for help and someone who cares about the animals. There is no need for puppy mills and it means torture for the animals. So the government has to shut done this places now!

  3. David Flynn says:


  4. Elaine ward says:

    Puppy mills must stop somebody stand up for our precious animals you people who can and have the power to do so look the other way we are their voice and will never stop!! Take note it’s past time to make this happen

  5. Barbara says:

    I am happy to hear this, now let’s get all puppy mills gone

  6. Luisa green says:

    Enough is enough stop banned this insanity nightmare now 🙏🙏🙏💔💔💔💔💔💔

  7. Diana Lewis says:

    Adopt! So many, many wonderful companions await you at rescue sights!

  8. Carol Kinsey says:

    Carol Kinsey
    Doug Kinsey

    All the countries around the world have dogs running free! They eat scrapes they can find and find water where they can. No medical treatment; no home for dry, warmth, food and human touch & LOVE!
    WHY ARE THERE PUPPY MILLS? THERE PLENTY PUPPIES AND ADULT DOGS, CATS AND MORE looking for a loving human to give them gentle love, warmth, food & water, as well as medical care.

  9. Julie says:

    I think the majority of people who purchase puppies never inquire about who is raising these puppies or how their living conditions are. I would hope if they knew they would not purchase them at all. We got our poodle mix from a no kill shelter. That was her second shelter as she lingered in a shelter in East Washington. This east WA shelter found her just walking along a road alone, no tags. After an exam she was found to have had several litters, probably from an illegal puppy mill. They were done with her and put her “out”. It breaks my heart how animals are treated. Our girl brings us so much love and joy. We just want to return that love and let her know she is safe and deeply cared for. All animals deserve that right. Also please spay and neuter your pets.

  10. Bunny Newman says:

    I bought a puppy from a pet store in 2004, and she was my wonderful companion for 16 years.

  11. Cheryl J Marshall says:

    It’s long overdue for the puppy mills to be stopped from over breeding these animals that live in deplorable conditions in crates stacked on top of each other in filth. They don’t even receive the bare minimum of care – food, water, and adequate shelter. Lack of vet care is part of the puppy mills GREED. They are stuck in places that are difficult to locate, and locked in warehouses in the sweltering heat. Elected officials need to shut these places down, including the pet stores selling sick, and neglected animals.

  12. Rocco says:

    Pet stores should not sell puppies. There kept in small cages and the pet store owners only care about the money. There are to many animals in shelters.

  13. Carol shaffoe says:

    Puppy mills need to be closed down permanently…. ASAP. Those poor dogs suffer day in and day out, being bred time after time. The puppies are often born with terrible issues. These cruel breeders only want to make money at the dogs expense. There are so many dogs that need homes and over breeding is making it much worse.

  14. Denise Sciallo says:

    Puppy mills should be illegal and shut down! Period.! It’s greed! The animals cannot defend themselves! They are not pets to them! They are property that brings in lots of money! it’s cruel and must have consequences! Bottom line they need to be illegal and shut down! Now!

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