A bill has been introduced in the Washington State House of Representatives that would ban the sale of pets in pet stores and restrict pet choice and consumer protections in the state. The House Committee on Consumer Protection and Business is scheduled to consider the bill on Friday, January 31.
Washington residents are strongly encouraged to contact your State Representative, as well as the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Business, today and express your concerns with House Bill 2344 (Scroll down for contact information).
Supporters of House Bill 2344, are claiming this bill will protect animals in Washington. However, there are numerous concerns, including:
- False and misleading legislative findings – The proposal begins with legislative findings that perpetuate the mistruth that any animal coming from a professional breeder has lived in substandard and inhumane conditions and has been subjected to abuse. The bill makes broad claims, including that all higher-volume breeders are “puppy mills” and that animal rescues need only meet vaguely worded “minimum standards” to ensure animals are properly matched to the right owner. Pet stores are encouraged to donate the retail space for which they pay rent to facilitate the adoption of animals coming from rescues.
- Preventing pet stores from selling dogs and cats – All who breed and sell dogs should be concerned with this provision, even if you do not personally source dogs to pet stores. The implication is that should this pass, the state is declaring that the best – and only – place to get a dog is from a shelter/ rescue. It would essentially gut the state’s consumer protection laws, as shelters and rescues cannot provide the guarantees necessary for consumer protection. Additionally, it would limit the ability of future pet owners to obtain the type or breed of dog they wish. There are residents in Washington who may not have access to a local breeder of the breed they’d like to acquire and may not want to be put on a long waiting list, etc. Instead, they may wish to purchase a dog from a regulated, licensed pet store where they can still get the consumer protections, the health history, and ongoing professional relationships they desire.
- Ignoring the health issues and dangers that can arise from importing dogs for rescue – AKC is the largest purebred rescue network in the United States, and we are proud that our national breed clubs take great care of the animals that come into their rescues. However, there are rescues and transports that unfortunately do not care as diligently for the animals. This is a significant concern that can impact both the public health and the health of animals. AKC believes the better solution is strong enforcement of current Washington laws and regulations for breeders, and regulating shelters, rescues, and transports to ensure those dogs receive the same level of humane care and oversight.
What You Can Do:
- Contact your Washington State Representative and express concerns with House Bill 2344. Visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to get the name and contact information for your State Representative.
- Contact the Washington State House Committee on Consumer Protection and Business and express concerns with House Bill 2344:
Representative Sharon Tomiko Santos
Phone: (360) 786-7944
For questions or more information, contact AKC Government Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.