Last month Bainbridge Island became the first city in Washington to ban the sale of dogs (and cats) bred and raised at puppy mills/kitten mills. The Bainbridge Island City Council adopted the new ordinance by consent on June 27 and it went into effect on July 2.
Approximately 230 cities around the county have adopted similar bans.
In case you haven’t heard of puppy mills, the ASPCA defines them as “a large-scale commercial dog breeding facility where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.”
The breeding dogs are keeping in crowded, unsanitary wire cages stacked on top of each other in a basement or barn. The cages usually don’t have floors so the dogs often sustain painful injuries to their feet and legs. The dogs are forced to breed as often as possible until they die or are killed. The puppies get no socialization and often have congenital or hereditary health problems.
Although Bainbridge Island currently has no pet shops that sell dogs or cats from puppy/kitten mills, the Council noted that “there has been such a pet shop in the past and that pet shop misled Bainbridge citizens regarding the source of the puppies and cats and Bainbridge citizens suffered emotional distress due to this pet shop’s actions.”
Kitsap Animal Advocates is the group that worked with Bainbridge Island Mayor Val Tollefson and Councilor Kol Medina to get the ordinance passed.
The group was created to educate consumers about the sale of puppy mill puppies at Farmland Pets in Silverdale (Kitsap County group wants Silverdale pet store to stop selling puppies, 12/18/14).
It then approached the Kitsap County Council about passing a puppy/kitten mill ban, but the Council said it couldn’t “due to existing workload of legal staff.”
Specifically, the Council anticipated that passing the ban would be challenged in court and “almost certainly lead to a protracted legal process that will require expending substantial prosecutor effort at local, state and potentially federal court levels.”
After the Kitsap Council Council rebuffed its proposal, Kitsap Animal Advocates then approached Bainbridge Island officials.
The group plans to approach other cities in Kitsap County about enacting their own bans. So does a new organization called Their Voice.
Formed by Kim Siebans last May, the group’s mission is to “reach out and teach our communities about the inherent cruelty associated with puppy mills and the pet stores who support them.”
Ms. Siebans is currently working to educate members of the Bremerton County Council about puppy/kitten mills and encourage them to adopt their own ban while Kitsap Animal Advocates will focus its attention on officials in Poulsbo.
If more Jurisdictions pass their own bans, they will send a strong message to the people running puppy/kitten mills that Washington citizens will not tolerate their efforts to make money through their torturous, cruel treatment of animals.
Here’s the entire ordinance. You can use it as a model to encourage your local officials to puppy/kitten mill bans in your own communities:
Section 1. A new Section 6.04.113 of the Animal Control Chapter of the Bainbridge Island Municipal Code is hereby adopted in its entirety to read as follows:
6.04.113 Selling Animals from Puppy or Kitten Mills Prohibited
To supplement the definitions found at Section 6.04.010, for the purposes of this Section the following words shall have the following meanings unless the context indicates otherwise. If there is a conflict between a definition in this Section and a definition in Section 6.04.010, the definition in this Section shall control for the purposes of this Section:
1. “Offer for sale” means to sell, offer for sale or adoption, advertise for the sale of, barter, auction, give away, or otherwise dispose of a dog or cat.
2. “Pet shop” means a retail establishment where dogs and cats are sold, exchanged, bartered, or offered for sale as pet animals to the general public at retail. Such definition shall not include an animal shelter or animal rescue league, as defined.
B. Restrictions on the Sale of Animals.
1. A pet shop may offer for sale only those dogs and cats that the pet shop has obtained from or displays in cooperation with an animal shelter or an animal rescue league.
2. A pet shop shall not offer for sale a dog or cat that is younger than eight weeks old.
C. Record Keeping and Disclosure.
A pet shop shall maintain records stating the name and address of the animal shelter or animal rescue league that each cat or dog was obtained from for at least two years following the date of acquisition. Such records shall be made available, immediately upon request, to the city or animal control authority. Each pet shop shall display on each cage a label stating the name and address of the animal shelter or animal rescue league of each animal kept in the cage.
Section 2. Severability. If any section, subsection, paragraph, sentence, clause, or phrase of this ordinance shall be declared invalid for any reason whatsoever, such decision shall not affect the remaining portions of this ordinance, which shall continue in full force and effect, and to this end the provisions of this ordinance are hereby declared to be severable.
Section 3. This ordinance shall take effect and be in force five (5) days from its passage and publication as required by law.”