Boston Bans the Sale of Puppies, Kittens and Rabbits in Pet Stores

March 4, 2016

Boston Bans the Sale of Puppies, Kittens and Rabbits in Pet Stores

History was made on March 2 when the 13-member Boston City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that bans the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits in pet stores. The bill also bans the sale of these animals on public grounds, in parking lots and outdoor markets. The measure was signed into law the same day by Mayor Marty Walsh. Adoptions of animals from shelters and rescue groups hosted in retail settings will still be permitted.

The City of Boston joins more than 100 localities nationwide that have passed similar laws restricting the retail sale of pets. Most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, where dogs are generally kept in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate veterinary care, food, water or socialization. Puppies born in mills are prone to illnesses that can be life-threatening and expensive to treat, and the unwitting consumers who purchase them are often left heartbroken.

By adding the outdoor sales ban, Boston’s new law simultaneously tackles the issues of puppy mill cruelty, unscrupulous “backyard” breeding and shelter overcrowding.

This is a huge step forward for animal welfare in Boston, the third-largest city in the Northeast. The ASPCA wishes to thank Councillor Matt O’Malley for championing this measure and the members of the Boston City Council for their swift action, and we applaud Mayor Walsh for wasting no time in signing the measure into law. We also thank our Boston advocates for speaking up in favor of this bill. You can play a role in passing animal-friendly laws where you live by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.