A bill currently making its way through Salem could ban Oregon pet stores from selling pets from breeders in an effort to cut down on puppy mills. The bill would require pet stores to only sell animals from local humane societies or pet rescue groups or face fines up to $500.
Proponents of House Bill 4045 hope it would lead to more adoptions of shelter animals and cut off the demand for puppies from puppy mills, which are known for housing dogs in inhumane conditions.
“Anything that gets more shelter animals adopted is a good thing,” said Karen Burns of the Humane Society of Central Oregon. “Hopefully it’s going to deter the owners of those puppy mills from overbreeding their animals and hopefully this is a starting point of getting those puppy mills shut down.”
However, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council says that pet stores are already required to purchase pets from registered breeders. Currently those breeders are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Advisory Council also pointed out that rescue dogs don’t always come with health history or warrants.
“This bill does companion animals, per care professionals and prospective dog owners alike no good and plenty of harm,” said Mike Bober, president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council. “Rescues and shelters do great work, but are not as highly regulated for animal welfare and consumer protection.”
Burns argues that dogs from puppy mills tend to have more health problems down the road due to overbreeding than many of the pets found in local shelters. Shelters also provide vaccines, spay and neuter services and vet checks for all of their animals.
A similar bill was passed in California and applies to dogs, cats and rabbits and is scheduled to take effect in January 2019. Oregon humane societies are pushing for cats to be included in House Bill 4045 as well.