WRIGHTSVILLE – Two Pennsylvania lawmakers are sponsoring a bill to crack down on the sale of puppy mill animals at pet stores.
The number, 260, is inside Franklin’s ear from being in a Lancaster County puppy mill, and Yankee was debarked during his time in the mill.
“They’re filthy. The dogs are literally living in their own excrement,” said Kate DePasquale, of A Tail to Tell Puppy Mill Rescue.
DePasquale rescued the two puppy mill dogs. Yankee spent around five years in a puppy mill. He now enjoys a good life at a Wrightsville home.
Pennsylvania has 12 of the 100 puppy mills on the Humane Society of the United States Horrible Hundred List. Seven of those are in Lancaster County.
“People really don’t understand where the puppies are coming from,” DePasquale said. “I think a lot of people ask the right questions, and I think that they’re misled.”
“Sen. (Guy) Reschenthaler (R-Allegheny) and Rep. (Jason) Ortitay’s (R-Allegheny) Puppy Retail Sales Bill is currently getting co-sponsors,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania director for the Humane Society of the United States.
Yankee is the poster dog for that bill and will campaign for it at the state Capitol.
The bill would do three things. The first is require pet stores to sell dogs, cats and rabbits from shelters and rescues. They could not come from large-scale puppy mills.
“No longer would you be able to sell dogs, cats and rabbits at outdoor venues like flea markets,” Tullo said.
That’s the second element of the bill.
“Any licensed breeder would be required to advertise that license when advertising an animal,” Tullo said when discussing the third item.
The bill would not prohibit mom-and-pop stores from breeding.
“Responsible breeders and mom-and-pop stores do not sell to pet stores,” Tullo said.
“Some of these puppy mill animals live by themselves in tiny wire cages without windows. It’s completely dark in there. It’s just completely unacceptable,” DePasquale said.
The House bill already has dozens of co-sponsors. Both the Senate and House bills are expected to be introduced within the next few weeks. New York and New Jersey have similar bills.
Petco sent ABC27 News the following statement:
“Petco has never sold dogs or cats in our stores and we stopped selling rabbits in 2008. We believe in a ‘Think Adoption First’ philosophy, which means we encourage anyone looking to add a new pet to their family to consider adopting a homeless animal. Together, Petco and the Petco Foundation partner with thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 400,000 animals every year.”
Erin Gray, senior corporate communications manager with PetSmart, sent ABC27 News this statement:
“We understand the love a pet can bring to a family, and we partner with more than 4,000 animal welfare organizations to offer pets for adoption in every PetSmart store, facilitating over half a million adoptions every year. We believe that enhanced regulations on breeders to ensure that all animals are raised in humane environments are more effective than measures that restrict pet parents’ choices.”