VIRGINIA PET STORES- Prohibit the sale of milled puppies and kittens in Pet Stores
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There are over 10,000 puppy mills in the country that produce over 2.4 million puppies a year and some of them end up in Virginia's pet stores. It has been proven that in Virginia, by the HSUS 2014 investigation of our pets stores, that OUR pet stores repeatedly break the laws. (http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/virginia-puppy-sales-investigation-2014.pdf)
Our Virginia pet stores purchase from large puppy mills in the midwest that have been cited for AWA violations during the past three years and or are linked with massive out of state brokers working directly with puppy mills. In 2014, over 2000 puppies were shipped into Virginia from out of state in just a seven month period. Puppy mills add to the burden of the shelters that are already overpopulated. As of now, more than 225 communities in America ,(http://bestfriends.org/resources/puppy-mills/jurisdictions-retail-pet-sale-bans) have passed city ordinances to prohibit the retail sale of puppy and kitten milled animals in pet stores.
The Virginia General Assembly needs to pass a pre-emption bill in 2018 giving Cities and Counties in Virginia the authority to decide for themselves if they want to continue to have pets in their towns that are exposed to horrible breeding practices. This is a consumer rights issue as well as an animal rights issue. Keep in mind that taxpayers money goes towards most of our intake shelters in each city in Virginia. Puppies and kittens infiltrating our systems from other states coming from inhumane breeding practices also causes an up hill financial battle for the state of Virginia.
There is a viable and proven business model that shows a pre-emption bill would not affect responsible hobby breeders nor would it preclude pet stores from staying in business as they can offer pets from shelters, pounds, kennels, and rescue organizations for adoption.
In 2018, this is now more important than ever. On February 3, 2017,all of the animal welfare inspection reports and most of the enforcement records were removed from the USDA website. Virginia's current pet store laws depended on this information to protect Virginia consumers against bad breeding habits. The Dreamy Puppy pet store seize in Fairfax in 2017 ended up costing the city $145,000 of taxpayers money. Combine that with the outbreak and recent warning from the CDC of Campylobacter in 97 cases in 17 states, which can be proven came from contact with puppies in pet stores, it's time Virginia makes positive changes to protect consumers even more.
Please identify your local Delegate and Senator and be ready to send emails starting January 10th 2018. We need everyone's participation. Together we can save them all!
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