Last week the Bremerton City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that bans the sale of dogs and cats from puppy mills (and kitten mills). Pet stores can’t sell dogs and cats unless “they’re in partnership with animal welfare groups like (the) Kitsap Humane Society.
Bremerton is the second city in Washington to ban pet sales from puppy mills. Bainbridge Island passed a similar ordinance last July.
If you aren’t familiar with 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.”
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.
Like Bainbridge Island, Bremerton doesn’t currently have any pet stores that sell puppies and kittens, but enacting the ban sends a strong message to pet stores that do sell them in our state that elected officials are beginning to heed the warnings from pet advocates regarding how badly puppy mills treat their dogs.
Kitsap Animal Advocates 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).
“We are very proud of Bremerton for passing this retail pet store ordinance,” said Their Voice founder Kimmy Siebends. “Ordinances like these help eliminate one of the major sales outlets for puppy mills. Bremerton and Bainbridge Island have shown that they are a leader in this issue and we plan to educate other communities about this as well.”
She also explained the importance of passing bans in cities without pet stores.
“A very common tactic used by pet stores is – if a ban is passed in their city – they move to the next city over that doesn’t have a ban yet,” she said. “Removing them after they are there is very difficult. These ordinances are purely preventative.”
Ms. Siebends said Port Orchard and Poulsbo will be the next Kitsap County cities where they will work with to pass a puppy mill ban.