Major win: 450 local communities have banned the sale of puppies in pet stores

By on March 8, 2023 with 12 Comments

This week, Indianapolis became the 450th locality in the nation to prohibit the sale of puppy mill puppies in pet stores. The passage of this ordinance also means that half of the 20 largest cities in the nation won’t allow puppy mill puppies to be sold in retail pet stores—a strong statement to those who profit from this cruelty.

Humane pet store laws at both the local and state level are having a noticeable impact on the puppy mill industry, with public records showing that an estimated 32,000 fewer breeding dogs are caged in U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed facilities than 10 years ago. As about one-third of puppy-selling pet stores have stopped selling puppies due to humane pet store laws, the average USDA-licensed breeding facility now holds approximately one-third fewer dogs. And we expect the industry to shrink even further when New York state’s law goes into effect, preventing more than 60 stores from selling puppies.

In the fight to end the puppy mill industry, it’s clear that we are winning, and the days of selling puppies in pet stores are numbered. Yet Petland—the largest puppy-selling pet store chain in the U.S.—continues to double down on its controversial business model. The win in Indianapolis came just days after the Indiana Senate passed SB 134, a bill designed to strip cities of their authority to do exactly what the state’s largest city just did—enact a law that stops pet stores from selling commercially raised puppies. We’re confident we can stop this shortsighted, unpopular bill in the Indiana House of Representatives, but it will be a battle, as Petland seems to be putting all it has into insulating its three puppy-selling stores in the state from local jurisdiction.

Similar Petland-led legislation has also been introduced in Missouri, and we expect to see it elsewhere, too, unfortunately. These efforts to strip cities of their right to regulate puppy-selling pet stores are a direct result of our work. Petland can’t win in city halls, so it hopes to influence (often with campaign contributions) certain key lawmakers to choose business interests above all else.

What we find, however, is that state lawmakers routinely reject Petland’s efforts to stop local regulation of its stores, especially after we educate them on the major animal welfare and consumer protection problems posed by puppy-selling pet stores. For instance, SB 134 only passed by a narrow majority, with Petland losing votes it thought it had secured, and only after significant amendments were made, including one allowing 14 humane pet store ordinances already on the books to stay intact.

However, the new Indianapolis ordinance is a target of this legislation and no additional ordinances could be enacted, which is why we’re continuing to fight this bill.

This year, we’re not only making sure lawmakers know who Petland really is, but we’re also exposing the company’s disregard for existing laws. A Petland in Houston, Texas, is racking up citations from the city for selling commercially bred puppies in violation of the ordinance that went into effect earlier this year. And, in late 2022, a Petland store in Batavia, Illinois, received a notice from the Illinois Department of Agriculture that it was charged with violating the Illinois Animal Welfare Act for operating without the proper license and selling dogs at retail in violation of state law.

This disregard seems to be the new normal for Petland. In 2021, Petland’s San Antonio store received numerous citations totaling $42,000 for selling commercially raised puppies in violation of the local ordinance. Late last year, the Florida attorney general announced that she secured financial relief for Petland customers who were deceived and sold sick or dying puppies. An Orlando, Florida, Petland store was ordered to pay more than $200,000 in monetary relief to its customers and is permanently banned from selling any puppy who is known to be sick. The store is also prohibited from misrepresenting a puppy’s health, purebred status, purchase price or warranty.

We are up for whatever Petland throws our way, and we know that in the end we will prevail. We’ll continue to push for state and local humane pet store laws and won’t stop until puppy mills have nowhere left to sell and the cages where mother dogs are forced to give birth to litter after litter are finally empty.

You can take a stand against puppy mills in your community by contacting; we’ll connect you with our team and your state director to help you get started.

Follow Kitty Block on Twitter @HSUSKittyBlock.

Companion Animals

Subscribe to the Blog

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


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Karin Erker says:

    Das ist so schrecklich … was sind das für brutale Menschen … Hilfe für die kleinen Hündchen .. Stop und bestraft tierquäler … es bricht mein ♥️Karin erker

  2. Karin Erker says:

    Stop das furchtbare Grauen mitdenken armen Hündchen …Hilfe für die Armen Hündchen …

  3. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Gracias a Dios es un progreso solo falta que más estados y todo el mundo actúen para acabar con esta situación tan cruel

  4. Olga says:

    Thank you for continuing the fight to give our pets and animals the good treatment they should have. Way to go, Indianapolis!

  5. Cherie Davis says:

    Thank you for the work and the reporting of the closure of pet stores. We are in a fight in Washington County Utah to close our 3 remains pet stores. Your stories and victories help us in our efforts.

    • Jessica Naab says:

      I’m so glad to hear this! Have you supplied them with the pet store puppy mill sources? This comes from

      Puppy House- 875 W Red Cliffs Dr #7, Washington, UT 84780

      42 S River Road Unit 12, St. George, Utah

      Curt and Lori Conrad, Conrad’s Cuddly Canine’s. Frankford, Missouri- Large puppy broker.
      Phil Hoover, Show Me Puppies . Memphis, Missouri- 370 adult breeding dogs and 131 puppies.
      Pinnacle Pet . Neosho, Missouri- 256 puppies (notorious puppy broker)
      Tom Steffensmeier and Carla Steffensmeier, T & C Steffensmeier Kennels. West Point, Iowa- 176 adult breeding dogs and 143 puppies.
      Tony Schindler, QD Kennels. Frankford, Missouri- 68 adult breeding dogs.

      Sue’s Pet Castle- 695 N Bluff St C, St. George, UT 84770

      Brittani and Jesse Hedgpeth, Empire Pets. Iberia, Missouri- 31 adult breeding dogs. The Hedgbeths also own a transport company, Transport Central, with Josh and Kallie Bateman. The Batemans have been named one of the worst puppy mill transport companies in the country twice due to violations. Hedgpeth is also related to Allison Hedgbeth who operates the sham rescue “Mother Dog Rescue” in Iberia, Missouri.
      Candy Fields, Fields Farm. Green City, Missouri- 53 adult breeding dogs and 22 puppies.
      Darlene Whitman, O’ My Heart Kennels. Mountain Grove, Missouri- 100 adult breeding dogs and 46 puppies.
      Deborah Warren, Misty Dew Kennels. Pierce City, Missouri- 106 adult breeding dogs and 69 puppies. Warren has a history of violations that resulted in her receiving an official warning from the USDA. This breeder was also named one of the worst puppy mills in the nation.
      Delmar Mc Crorey, Crane Creek Kennel. Crane, Missouri- 130 adult breeding dogs and 50 puppies.
      Dennis Walles and Judy Walles, Ox Arks Kennels. Galena, Missouri- 144 adult breeding dogs and 92 puppies.
      Dorothy Audsley and Leonard Audsley, Len Dee Kennels. Carrollton, Missouri- 58 adult breeding dogs and 30 puppies.
      Doug McFadin. Lebanon, Missouri- 10 adult breeding dogs.
      James Bixenman and Marilyn Bixenman, Circle B Farms. New Cambria, Missouri- 106 adult breeding dogs and 60 puppies.
      Lynn Sartin, Sartin Kennel. Granby, Missouri- 65 adult breeding dogs and 29 puppies. This facility was named one of the worst puppy mills in the country.
      Mark Terrill and Susan Terrill, Timberline Kennel. Seymour, Missouri- 62 adult breeding dogs and 26 puppies.
      Mary Smith, Smiths Kennels. Salem, Missouri- 121 adult breeding dogs and 15 puppies.
      Raymond Lawson, The Silver Spur. Clifton Hill, Missouri- 72 adult breeding dogs and 12 puppies. This breeder was named one of the worst puppy mills in the nation in 2020.
      Ruth Ann and Gary Goostree, Rafter G Kennel. Rocky Comfort, Missouri- 35 adult breeding dogs with a history of violations that caused them to be named one of the worst puppy mills in the country.
      Shelley Cox and Lonnie Cox, Big Creek Kennel. Pocahontas, Arkansas- 148 adult breeding dogs and 57 puppies.
      Shonda Madison and Heath Madison, Cassville Missouri- 135 adult breeding dogs and 126 puppies.
      Teresa Good and Calvin Good, CT Kennels. Memphis, Missouri-126 adult breeding dogs and 71 puppies.
      Valente Rios, Rios Kennel. Galt, Missouri- 281 adult breeding dogs and 143 puppies, with a history of violations including: excessively thin dogs (could see hips and ribs, dogs so matted they are unable to poop, dogs with feces stuck in fur, dogs with injuries, sharp points on dog food bowls, kennels unsafe and many, many more. Rios was also listed as one of the worst puppy mills in the entire country twice.
      Rachel Davis, Vicki Davis and Virgil Davis , Davis Kennel. Seymour, Missouri- 90 adult breeding dogs and 20 puppies. This facility was also named one of the worst puppy mills in the country.

      If they want additional info you can look these breeders up on the USDA public search tool

      Thank you for your efforts! Keep going!

  6. Michell Weaver says:

    We should all write letters to President Biden asking him to make puppy mills illegal in the USA!! We have to be the voice for the abuse these dogs and cats endure daily. Please save our furbabies.

    • Jessica Naab says:

      Start by emailing local city council members and county commissioners asking them to ban the retail sale of dogs and cats. You can provide them sample ordinances from who has all of the ordinances in every state listed out. You can also find puppy mill documentation on if there’s a store in your area you’ll be able to see where they get their puppies. Search for your city website and find the council members emails and email them all at once to be most effective. Then search for your county website and find the county commissioners emails and do the same.

  7. Ann standish Standish says:

    Please continue with your very important work. Animal welfare must win at all times.

  8. Cindy Lynch says:

    Puppy mills need to banned world wide, the treatment of dogs is inhumane and driven by greed of the puppy mill owner, No animal should be living in a cage for breeding or lab testing. Puppies they aren’t sold are dumped or killed, Elkhart and Lagrange counties in Indiana are safe havens for puppy mill breeders,Please stop puppy mills

  9. Sandy C says:

    I’m very mad with my hometown, Teaneck NJ. They recently granted a license to a Puppy store to open in the main business area. Oddly, you cannot sell live animals in Teaneck so to get around this law they will have puppies at this location but to actually purchase the puppy you’ll have to go to a different store a half hour away. I fear for these innocent animals.

  10. Kristen Newburn says:

    Not all Pet Stores buy from Puppy Mills! Nor Closing Legit Pet Stores, is not going to stop puppy mills. Think about it if anything it will only give them fuel! And the consumer will have no choice but to go to puppy mills or get ripped off by scammers. Which have not regulations.

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.