When I was growing up pet stores were the place to get a puppy. I never imagined that people would treat animals the way that they are treated in puppy mills (or factory farms either), but since learning about puppy mills I’ve avoided pet stores and opted to adopt from rescue organizations.

Earlier in 2016 Grove City joined Toledo in deciding that pet stores can only sell dogs that come from shelters and rescues. I was excited. Petland, the only top 25 pet store that continues to sell puppies, was outraged. In addition to suing members of Grove City Council they introduced legislation with Senate Bill 331 and House Bill 573 that will not only undo what Grove City and Toledo have put in place, but it will result in the inability for any local community to establish their own standards.

Petland is selling this legislation as the gold standard of pet store sourcing regulations, but if you read the bills it becomes clear that there are significant loop holes in the legislation that will open the door wider for Petland and other pet stores to purchase puppies from wherever they choose.

“This bill contains a massive loophole that would allow pet stores to source puppies from the worst puppy mills in the country—those that are completely unregulated and unlicensed.” Testimony during a Senate Finance Committee hearing from Amy Jesse, The Humane Society of the United States

The loophole isn’t the entire story. These laws are unenforceable and will add $800,000 to the annual operating budget for Ohio.

“To make matters worse, it will be nearing impossible for ODA (Ohio Department of Agriculture) to enforce this bill because even if a pet store clearly violated the provisions, enforcement agents would have to prove that a pet store owner or employee did so negligently. Most pet stores laws across the country are enforced by obtaining paper work on where the pet store puppies came from. But, that would not be enough under this bill. Proving the mental state of the person who violated the law would be nearly impossible, and the pet stores will have little incentive to comply.” Testimony during a Senate Finance Committee hearing from Amy Jesse, The Humane Society of the United States

Despite over 20 parties providing testimony against this bill, Senate Bill 331 was fast-tracked and passed the Ohio Senate just before the summer break. All indications are that this legislation is likely to move through the Ohio House before this General Assembly ends on December 31.

If you aren’t convinced by the information above and you want to learn more, please check out www.StopPetlandBill.com, especially the legislative details section, and make your own decision. Please use the contact us page on the site to ask questions.

However, if you believe that:

  • local communities have a right to set their own standards…
  • $800,000 is too much to spend on trying to enforce an unenforceable law…
  • that this legislation is not the gold standard and that animals are not products to be exploited for the profit of humans…

…then I urge you to make the phone call your elected officials and the House Finance Committee, and send emails asking your elected officials to not support Senate Bill 331 and House Bill 573 and please be sure to share this post and the www.StopPetlandBill.com across your networks.

If you’ve never done this before, a link to a script for the call with the key talking points is provided, and all of the information about the bills is provided for you to do your own research and provide any points that are especially important to you. It also provides links and instructions for how to find your representative, and the names and phone numbers of the members of the House Finance Committee.

Together, as a community, we can stop these bills from becoming law and help protect the lives of the dogs that are suffering in puppy mills. –Chris Niehoff

Chris is a Central Ohio animal lover who wants to see the lives of non-human animals, and human animals, improve individually and collectively. He believes this will happen only when human animals recognize the interconnection of all life and begin to act accordingly. He knows he has a lot to learn and hopes to connect with others on a similar journey.

Photo credit: Toby Partridge