Bill Tracker: Banning pet stores from selling animals from puppy mills
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State Government

Bill Tracker: Banning pet stores from selling animals from puppy mills


Each legislative session thousands of bills and amendments are introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Only a fraction become law, and an even smaller portion receive wide media coverage.

These bills impact the lives of people living in Pennsylvania every day. Each week The Sentinel will highlight one bill that has not received widespread attention.

About the bill

Advocates for the humane treatment of pets scored a major victory in Pennsylvania in 2017 when the Legislature passed Libre’s Law, increasing penalties for cruelty to animals.

Several state senators now want to go farther in combating puppy mills, this time by targeting pet stores.

Named “Victoria’s Law” after a German Shepherd rescued from a Lancaster County puppy mill, Senate Bill 44 would prohibit pet stores from selling dogs, cats and rabbits unless they are obtained from or in cooperation with animal rescues or shelters.

“It is well-documented that ‘puppy mills,’ inhumane commercial dog breeding facilities, frequently supply pet stores with puppies,” Sens. Thomas Killion, R-Brookhaven, and Andrew Dinniman, D-West Chester, said in a co-sponsorship memo.

Responsible breeders will not be impacted because they typically demand to meet buyers in person and sell to them directly, the senators said. As for pet stores, the proposed law would hopefully incentivize them to form partnerships with overburdened shelters and rescues.

“The majority of pet stores, including the largest and most successful chains and small mom and pop shops, do not sell puppies, proving that pet stores do not need to sell puppies to be successful,” Killion and Dinniman wrote.

The bill, which is supported by Humane PA, would also mandate anyone advertising the sale of a dog to include any required federal, state or local licenses in advertisements. Pet shops will additionally be required to keep records of the source of each dog, cat or rabbit acquired for at least two years.

Pennsylvania took several others steps to combat animal cruelty in 2017 with Libre’s Law. The law created a felony charge of aggravated cruelty for torture of an animal or cruelty resulting in serious bodily injury or death, punishable with a fine of up to seven years of imprisonment and a $15,000 fine.

Libre’s Law also placed limits on tethering dogs and provided civil immunity for veterinarians, vet-techs and Humane Society Police Officers when reporting and investigating animal cruelty.

Daniel Walmer covers public safety for The Sentinel. You can reach him by email at or by phone at 717-218-0021.


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