Retail Pet Sale Bans: Standing Against Puppy Mill Cruelty

In response to growing awareness about the cruel puppy mill industry and lack of protections for the adult dogs who spend their entire lives in commercial breeding facilities, cities and towns across the country are passing laws that prevent puppy mill-bred puppies from being sold at community pet stores.

These local-level bans are critical to reducing the demand for cruelly sourced puppies. By limiting where puppy mills can sell their dogs, we can limit their ability to profit from cruelty and improve the lives of thousands of dogs.

All dogs deserve the good life, with plenty of food, shelter, socialization and veterinary care. But dogs in puppy mills will never know this kind of life. Dogs are often kept in small, filthy wire cages in crowded, unsanitary conditions. Puppies bred in these harsh environments are frequently physically or emotionally compromised. Consumers are left bearing the financial loss and heartbreak that can occur when they unknowingly buy a sick pup from a seemingly sanitary pet store.

Close to 300 U.S. municipalities have passed retail pet sales ban legislation, including the cities of Atlanta and Boston. California and Maryland made history in 2017 and 2018, respectively, as the first states to do so. (In addition to puppies, some of these bans also prevent the sales of kittens and rabbits at retail pet stores.) This trend is growing, with bills to ban the retail sale of pets expected in many additional jurisdictions across the U.S.

Retail pet sales bans often include language promoting partnerships between animal shelters/rescues and pet stores, so that stores can encourage the adoption of homeless pets instead of stocking commercially bred puppies. Of course, families can also seek out responsible breeders who give puppies the right start.

Visit the ASPCA’s Barred From Love page to find out how you can stand up to cruelty and make a difference for puppy mill dogs.