In an effort to curtail the operations of inhumane puppy and kitten mills, the New Jersey Senate recently passed a bill by a vote of 27-8 that would require pet stores to solely sell pets obtained from animal shelters and rescue facilities.
The bill was introduced by long-time Senator Raymond Lesniak (D), who also happens to be a well-known animal welfare advocate, and is set to soon go before the Assembly for what is expected to be a hotly debated vote.
“These puppy mills have gained a notorious reputation for putting profits ahead of the humane treatment of dogs and cats,” Lesniak told the press, after introducing the bill in December 2015. “Their mass breeding has created inbred health and behavioral problems and the inhumane conditions have left too many of these pets to suffer from neglect and mistreatment.”
While Bill S.63 would only prohibit new pet stores from selling pets from mass breeders, it would require that all New Jersey pet dealers be licensed by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and free of certain Animal Welfare Act violations in order to sell pets, according to the American Humane Society website.
While the banning of selling pets for profit has been gaining steam in municipalities across the country for some time, this would be the first statewide legislation of its kind.
Meanwhile, pet industry lobbyists such as the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) decry that the bill would negatively impact pet retailers. However, the sales of pets for profit in pet stores has been declining across the U.S. for years, as an increasing number of responsible pet store operators opt to partner with pet shelters and rescue organizations to provide adoption events instead.
While this should not impact responsible animal breeders, who offer pets for sale privately and rarely if ever sell pets through third parties such as pet stores, legislation such as this would surely help to take a bite out of pet mills.
If you’d like to offer your support for this legislation, you may sign a petition via Change.org by clicking here. I am all for this bill, and hope that my fellow New Jerseyans will join me in expressing support for ending pet mills, for once and for all.