By: Sheila Goffe, Director, Government Relations Over the last year, AKC Government Relations has seen a rapid increase in the number of bills designed to restrict the sales of pets.
Most are being introduced at the local level —and nearly all are packaged as “anti-puppy mill” or anti “pet shop” measures.
Sounds good, right? Wrong. Most of these measures are offered in cities where there are few local breeders, and almost all of the bills restrict how future pet owners can acquire a pet. They limit the ability of pet owners to acquire an appropriate pet of their choice, fail to distinguish between hobby and commercial breeders or breeders and pet shops, and limit the ability of purchasers to take advantage of regulated sources of purpose-bred pets covered by consumer protection laws. For example:
- In New York City, four separate proposals have been introduced that would require anyone (except an animal shelter) who sell even a single pet be licensed and regulated as a “pet shop”. Intro. #136 further requires that all “pet shops” sterilize all pets before they are transferred– despite scientific evidence juvenile sterilization can lead to detrimental long term health impacts on puppies.
- In Illinois, House Floor Amendment 1 to HB 4056 is designed to prohibit pet stores from obtaining pets from breeders and require that they only sell pets distributed by in-state shelters. The measure also repeals recently-passed strong consumer protection laws that protect puppy purchasers.
In recent months, bills like these have gained traction in Chicago; New York City; Philadelphia; Phoenix, San Diego, Milwaukee, Cook County, Illinois; Suffolk County, New York; Sarasota, Florida; and numerous other communities throughout the country. As part of our mission to promote responsible dog ownership and preserve the future of the purebred dogs, AKC supports freedom of choice for pet purchasers, programs to advance canine health and wellbeing, and strong consumer protection laws that protect pet buyers. The AKC believes the best way for a person to obtain a new pet is through personal interaction with the pet’s breeder and the pet under consideration. An important part of ensuring the success of a pet with a new owner is to ensure that it is an appropriate fit with the owner’s lifestyle and circumstances. Unfortunately, many communities lack sufficient local breeders to provide choices that meet the demand for such pets. Treasured pets may be obtained from a variety of sources, including breeders, pet stores, rescue, and local shelters. But if measures like these pass, families around the country will lose an important source for choosing a pet that is the best fit for their circumstances.
Those seeking a puppy of a particular breed or from a breeder who is regulated by federal or state animal welfare standards may be out of luck or forced to take their chances in purchasing a pet sight unseen and absent consumer protection regulation. When consumers cannot acquire a pet that is an appropriate fit for their lifestyle, that animal is more likely to end up in the shelter system. A better solution is to ensure that consumers are educated, understand the demands of responsible ownership, and have access to a variety of pets so that they can make educated choices. The AKC urges you to join us in working to advance responsible dog ownership and oppose arbitrary measures that limit the future of pet ownership and restrict the ability of individuals to choose the best pet for them. For more information about these measures contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-816-3720.