New NJ Law Seeks To Ban Sale Of Puppy Mill Dogs
It’s an uncomfortable and unfortunate truth: those adorable puppies you see in the window of your local pet shop? There’s a good chance they came from a puppy mill, raised in deplorable conditions by someone whose only concern is how much money can be made off the back of each pup.
And sadly, the statistics are staggering: there are an estimated 10,000 puppy mills in the United States alone, producing some 2,000,000 puppies per year.
New Jersey Senator Ray Lesniak is hoping to change all that with the introduction of bill S63, which passed a vote in the state’s Senate Budget Committee last week, and will likely be voted on this coming Thursday by the full Senate.
If the bill passes the Senate — which it’s expected to — it will introduce a deservedly harsh set of new regulations banning the sale of puppy mill pooches in New Jersey pet stores and beyond.
Current law in NJ states places sets requirements some requirements for pet stores: they cannot sell dogs or cats from a breeder not licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, or from breeders who have a number of Animal Welfare act violations. Still, it’s not enough — and this is where bill S63 comes in.
The bill targets the increasingly popular world of online puppy sales. The law would require anyone who sells five or more dogs or cats “sight unseen” to people inside the state of New Jersey to comply with the law’s requirements. “Sight unseen” means that the new owner hasn’t met the animal before purchasing them, which would absolutely apply to online pet sales.
On top of that, the bill also prohibits outdoor pet sales, such as at flea markets and in parking lots — very sketchy and unregulated places to purchase a pet, making them prime locations for puppy mill and backyard breeders.
Additionally, S63 would require that any new pet stores could only sell animals from shelters and rescue groups (YAY!). Existing pet stores would eventually be grandfathered in. This would make New Jersey the first state to enact these kind of animal welfare laws at the state level — most similar laws are only enacted at the city or county level.
A representative from the Humane Society of the United States calls bill S63 “the most comprehensive puppy mill sales bill to ever be introduced”.
All in all, this is a huge step forward for animal protection. We can only hope that other states will follow suit in the very near future.
Christina Peden is a lifelong animal lover and avid wordsmith. She lives in Toronto with her boyfriend Ryan where they are proud pet parents to puppy, Matilda and cat, Oscar. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying Toronto, Canada's all-too-short patio season, taking advantage of the city's numerous parks or curled up with a good book.
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