ASPCA Commends Boston Mayor for Signing Pet Welfare Bill

Citywide ordinance will ban the sale of animals in pet stores
March 3, 2016

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the Boston City Council for passing an ordinance prohibiting Boston pet stores from selling puppies, kittens and rabbits. It also bans the sale of these animals in city parks and on streets. Introduced by Councilor Matt O’Malley on February 22, the ordinance was passed quickly by the Boston City Council yesterday, and immediately signed by Mayor Marty Walsh.

“The passage of this ordinance will enable consumers and pet stores to obtain wonderful, loving animals from shelters and other humane sources without supporting the cruel puppy mill industry,” said Bill Ketzer, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region. “The ASPCA thanks Councilor O’Malley for championing this measure and Boston City Council members for their swift action, and applauds Mayor Walsh for wasting no time signing this into law.”

Boston is the first locality in Massachusetts to ban the sale of commercially bred puppies and kittens from pet shops, and joins more than 120 localities nationwide that have passed similar laws. This ordinance received support from local and national animal welfare groups including the ASPCA, the MSPCA, Animal Rescue League of Boston, Massachusetts Coalition to End Puppy Mills, Best Friends Animal Society and the Humane Society of the United States. The prohibition will apply immediately to new pet stores selling animals, but existing pet stores will have until December 31, 2017 to comply with the new law. The roadside sales ban also takes effect immediately.

Many consumers don’t know that most pet store puppies come from puppy mills – large-scale commercial breeding operations where profit is given priority over the well-being of the animals. These facilities house animals in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water, or socialization. Many of these inherently cruel conditions are legal under federal law, which the USDA regularly fails to enforce.

To raise awareness of the cruel conditions found in puppy mills, the ASPCA has a tool on their “No Pet Store Puppies” website that links pet stores with the USDA-licensed commercial dog breeders that supply them with puppies. The database features over 21,000 photos taken during routine USDA inspections, allowing the public to see first-hand where pet store puppies really come from.

For more information about the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit