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Pet Store Owner Representatives Urge Lawmakers to Oppose Legislation Targeting Puppy Mills

Pet store representatives say proposals unfairly target responsible vendors, while pet advocates say animals are born in inhumane conditions.

Photo credit: Jayne Keedle
Photo credit: Jayne Keedle

Representatives of pet store owners implored state legislators on Wednesday to oppose a ban on the sale of dogs from commercial breeders, according to CT News Junkie.

The representatives appeared before a legislative task force that is weighing several options to curb or prohibit the sale of cats or dogs from pet stores, according to CT News Junkie.

Backers of the potential legislation, who also appeared before the task force, say that dogs bred in puppy mills - described by the Connecticut Humane Society as commercial enterprises that place a priority on profit over animals’ well-being - are born and sold in inhumane conditions.

But Michael Stokely, the director of corporate sales of the Missouri-based Hunte Corporation, said that the problem is the result of a handful of unregulated “bad actors,” CT New Junkie reported.

Stokely said that his company, which places dogs with pet stores, only works with breeders that are licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“I think every puppy that’s sold, from any place, including shelters, should be coming from a U.S.D.A.-licensed professional breeder,” Stokley said. “The holes in the system right now are because that is not necessarily the case.”

Stokely said that licensed breeders are subject to inspections and, therefore, are more apt to produce healthy, well-cared-for dogs.

But the Connecticut Humane Society’s website said that Stokely’s solution still does not address the issue entirely.

“Responsible breeders would never sell a puppy through a pet store because they want to screen potential buyers to ensure their puppies receive good homes,” the Humane Society’s website says. “This means that most stores do, in fact, get their puppies from mills.”

The Connecticut Humane Society, quoting the ASPCA, says that there could be up to 10,000 puppy mills in the United States.   

Puppies born in many mills, which are concentrated in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio and upstate New York,, have numerous congenital, health and behavior problems, according to the Humane Society. In addition, the puppies receive substandard veterinary health care and are not well fed.

In addition, puppy mills breed females too frequently, with little time between litters.

CT News Junkie reported that the legislative panel “is expected to make recommendations to the General Assembly to inform legislation to be drafted next year on the sale of dogs and cats.”

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