Arizona Rules All Dogs Sold In Pet Stores To Come From Shelters

Mandates like this will help cut "puppy mill" profits.

Credit: LATimes

Credit: LATimes

Good news for rescue groups, shelter volunteers, and animal lovers everywhere: efforts to put “puppy mills” out of business are paying off!

On July 30, 2015, a federal judge in Phoenix, Arizona upheld a city law requiring all dogs sold in pet stores to come only from shelters or non-profit rescues. The ruling was mandated to help cut “puppy mill” profits.

If you’re not aware, “puppy mills” are notoriously cruel for a number of reasons. First, they focus on breeding solely for profit, therefore, the welfare of the animal is rarely a priority. Second, female dogs spend a good portion of their life impregnated with little time for recovery in between litters. In addition, many dogs live in cramped cages with little room to play or exercise. 

If that’s not enough, while millions of animals end up homeless and are later euthanized in shelters, the same number of dogs are bred and sold in pet stores.

At present, Phoenix is one of about 60 cities in the United States that have similar laws in place to put an end to puppy mills by driving potential pet buyers toward homeless animals and reputable breeders.

With an estimated 23,000 dogs sold in Phoenix area pet stores ever year, this law will no doubt benefit many animals’ lives. Shelter dogs can spend months or even years waiting for adoption so mandates like this can cut that wait time in half and reduce overcrowding in shelters.

Said Phoenix City Councilwoman Thelma Williams, “We have so many dogs in Arizona that need homes, we don’t need to import them.” 

The Phoenix Business Journal reports that certain pet stores, including Puppies N’ Love have challenged the ordinance. However, it is “not [the court’s] place to judge the wisdom or fairness of the city’s decision to pass the ordinance,” said the U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell.

Said Maureen Beyers, a Phoenix-Based attorney representing the Humane Society of the United States:

 “The ruling is a great victory, not just for the city of Phoenix, but also for the Humane Society of the United States, which has worked tirelessly to help municipalities throughout the U.S. enact these laws (and defend challenges to them) to stem the trade of puppy and kitten mill animals and decrease animal euthanasia and overpopulation.” 

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