Last week the Poulsbo City Council unanimously passed an ordinance banning the sale of dogs and cats from puppy mills (and kitten mills). The ordinance says a pet store can’t sell dogs and cats unless it “obtained from or displays in cooperation with an animal shelter or an animal rescue league.”
Poulsbo is the 3rd city in Kitsap County to pass a ban. Bremerton passed a similar ordinance last September. Bainbridge Island passed one last July.
The ASPCA defines puppy mills as “a large-scale commercial dog breeding facility where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.”
Puppy mill owners keep breeding dogs in crowded, unsanitary wire cages stacked on top of each other in a basement or barn. The cages often don’t have floors so the dogs often sustain painful injuries to their feet and legs. Owners force the dogs to breed as often as possible. The puppies get no socialization and often have congenital or hereditary health problems.
The groups Kitsap Animal Advocates and Their Voice proposed the bans and worked with mayors and city councils to support them. Advocates created them initially to educate consumers about the sale of dogs from puppy mills at Farmland Pets in Silverdale.
None of the 3 cities that passed bans have any pet stores that sell puppies and kittens; however, enacting the ban sends a strong message that elected officials don’t want their communities to support puppy mills.
“Even though there are no pet stores in Poulsbo that support the puppy mill industry that doesn’t mean they won’t come in someday, said Their Voice founder Kimmy Siebends. “Now Poulsbo, like Bainbridge Island and Bremerton, is protected.”
Siebends also noted that “no is the time to protect our communities” because, rather than adopting humane business models, many of the pet stores dealing in the puppy mill trade are moving to other states.
The groups plans to continue working with local officials to pass bans in other cities in Kitsap County.