The suppliers of pet store puppies are largely “puppy mills,” commercial facilities that mass-produce puppies for sale in pet stores and over the Internet. Puppy mills commonly house many animals in overcrowded, filthy, and inhumane conditions with inadequate shelter and care.
Pet stores often do not disclose the origin of the puppies they sell. Most pet stores do not disclose the true origins of their puppies, instead using deceptive sales pitches about “USDA licensed” or “professional” breeders. Unfortunately, USDA standards are minimal—not optimal—standards, and investigations and USDA reports have repeatedly shown that many USDA-licensed breeders fail to meet even these minimum standards, yet they often remain licensed and continue selling to pet stores year after year.
Puppies sold at pet stores often have serious health or psychological problems that can lead to huge vet bills. These health problems are often the direct result of poor breeding practices and unsanitary conditions at puppy mills. Conditions commonly reported include parasitic diseases, respiratory infections, pneumonia, and even deadly Parvovirus. Some of the illnesses common to pet store puppies include Giardia and other zoonotic diseases, which can be spread to other pets as well as to humans. Buyers are often faced with enormous vet bills or even the death of the puppy within days or weeks of purchase.
Puppies sold at Pennsylvania pet stores come from all over the country—and many come from breeders with numerous Animal Welfare Act violations.
According to a report recently issued by the Auditor General, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Dog Law Enforcement Office has failed to adequately enforce many provisions of the state’s puppy mill law, Act 119, which would ensure basic standards of care at commercial breeding kennels. But even if PA’s standards are more stringently enforced, dogs will still be available at pet shops from breeding facilities that many would consider less than ideal, since many pet shops also obtain their dogs from breeding facilities outside of the Commonwealth, some of which have no commercial kennel laws at all. Consumers have a right to obtain valuable information about a puppy’s health and origins before making the decision to add a new member to their family.
What does this legislation do?
To provide consumers with valuable information to help them make better-informed decisions, this law will:
• Require pet stores to disclose information to consumers about the origin of their puppies, including the state in which the puppy was born and the breeder’s licensing information;
• Require pet stores to provide documentation of a puppy’s medical history, including vaccinations, worming treatments, and other medical care given;
• Require pet stores to document the age, breed and date of birth of the dog.