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2015 Legislative Issues and Trends: Retail Pet Sales Bans Can Hurt Breeders And The Public

Three puppies being held

A major push for extreme anti-breeder groups seen in dozens of communities throughout the country is for local bills to ban the sale of pets at retail pet stores in that community and require pet stores to sell only “shelter or rescue pets.”

On the face of it, this sounds like something that AKC and other animal welfare advocates might support, so many people do not realize that these measures have hidden consequences that hurt all owners, breeders, and the future of quality purpose-bred dogs. Sadly, this is exactly what anti-breeder extremists are depending on. The purpose of these measures is to get at not only retailers, but also breeders. Typically, the proposals equate being a USDA-licensed breeder with being a “puppy mill” and prohibit all pet sellers except shelters from obtaining pets from USDA licensed breeders.

In the fine print of the proposals, the definitions of breeders/retailers often include anyone who breeds or sells more than a few pets a year. Ironically, these measures actually ban the most regulated and vetted sources of pets (including breeders and handlers subject to federal licensing) while urging the sales or adoption of pets obtained from sources that have little or no regulatory oversight and that are not subject to federal oversight, state consumer protection laws or other guarantees. Learn more here.