Great news! In a unanimous vote on Monday, March 13, Roseville became the first city in Minnesota to shift to a humane pet store model that bans the pet store sale of dogs and cats obtained from puppy and kitten mills.
Animal Humane Society worked closely with Animal Folks MN, the Humane Society of the United States, and countless concerned Roseville residents to achieve this victory.
The Roseville ordinance prohibits pet stores from selling dogs and cats acquired from commercial breeding facilities while allowing the stores to host adoption events with animal shelters and rescues. More than 220 jurisdictions throughout the nation have recognized the need to address the problem of selling dogs and cats through pet stores that have been obtained from puppy and kitten mills.
A big thank you to the Roseville city council members for their thoughtful discussion and action on this issue. Please consider sending them a quick note of appreciation!
We’d also like to thank all of the Roseville residents and supporters who wrote emails, spoke to their neighbors, called the city council members, and testified, and to all Minnesotans who help raise awareness about puppy mills and encourage positive change for animals.
The Roseville city council was spurred to act following an April 2016 inspection report conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) which revealed animals inside the Har Mar Pet Store in Roseville suffering from a variety of distressing conditions as a result of inadequate care. In addition, the store had purchased puppies from various dog breeders and brokers that have been cited for violations of the Animal Welfare Act.
Puppy and kitten mills are inhumane commercial breeding facilities that disregard the health and well-being of the animals to maintain a low overhead and increase profits. The focus of such facilities is the mass production of animals for re-sale to pet stores. These pet stores buy from both licensed and unlicensed pet breeders and brokers. Federal licensing does not ensure healthy and safe conditions for the animals. USDA requirements are known as “survival standards,” allowing dogs to be kept in cramped, stacked, wire cages for their entire lives, often in extreme temperatures, denied basic veterinary care, and bred continuously.
There is a well-documented link between puppy and kitten mills (mass commercial breeding facilities) and pet stores. Puppy and kitten mills thrive on pet store sales because pet stores, as the distribution outlet, allow cruelty to remain hidden from the public. Investigations consistently reveal that some pet stores mislead consumers by claiming they obtain puppies from small-scale humane breeders. In reality that option rarely exists, because responsible breeders do not sell to pet stores. A review of the Codes of Ethics for the National Breed Clubs representing all 178 dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club found that 96% of those National Clubs include statements that their breeders should not and/or do not sell to pet stores.
Not only are pet store consumers unknowingly supporting puppy and kitten mills, they often end up dealing with the financial and emotional burden of having a sick or difficult pet. Pet store puppies may be sick because they are born into substandard conditions, taken from their mothers very early, exposed to a wide range of diseases, and are susceptible to genetic disorders. In addition, a study from the Journal of Veterinary Medicine concluded that puppies should not be obtained from pet stores because dogs are more likely to exhibit many undesirable behavioral characteristics, including aggression and biting.
An alternative humane model has been adopted by numerous pet stores in Minnesota and throughout the nation, where, instead of acquiring and selling dogs and cats obtained from puppy and kitten mills, the pet store hosts adoption events by working with local animal rescues and shelters. These events help decrease pet overpopulation and homelessness, and encourage those who adopt to use the products and services offered at the store. Pet stores that convert to such a model have proven success as well as a better reputation in the community. There is also a great community of shelters, rescues, and truly responsible breeders in Minnesota, providing numerous options for a consumer to obtain the dog or cat of his or her choice.