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November 2, 2012

Los Angeles Cracks Down on Puppy Mill Outlets

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the City Council for steps to increase adoptions of homeless animals

puppy in cage

Kathy Milani/The HSUS

The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Los Angeles City Council for approving an ordinance to place a moratorium on the retail sales of dogs, cats and rabbits obtained from commercial breeders. The move places Los Angeles among the more than 25 cities in the U.S. and Canada that have enacted this type of ordinance, designed to increase the placement of homeless pets in permanent homes and decrease the number euthanized in the city’s shelters. The new ordinance will still allow people to buy directly from breeders, and permit pet stores to hold adoptions of animals that come from shelters and rescue groups.

The ordinance closes off a primary channel for the sale of dogs produced in puppy mills since dogs from these mills are typically sold through pet stores and over the Internet. The sellers often have little knowledge of where the dogs are from, and often provide false assurances to purchasers.

“We commend the humane leaders of Los Angeles for recognizing the direct link between inhumane puppy mills and the cute puppies seen in pet store windows," said Melanie Kahn, senior director of The HSUS’ Puppy Mills Campaign. “By shrinking the supply of puppy mill dogs in the retail marketplace, the ordinance is expected to boost adoptions for homeless animals and increase sales for small, responsible dog breeders.”

“The City Council has taken a strong stand against pet stores that purchase pets from puppy mills,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, who championed the ordinance. “Los Angeles euthanizes tens of thousands of animals a year, at a significant cost to taxpayers, and there is no reason to ship in hundreds of commercially produced animals from out of state. The city wants to encourage people to adopt homeless animals here in Los Angeles.”

The financial success of companies that refuse to sell puppies and kittens, such as the nation's largest retail pet supply store chains PETCO and PetSmart, is proof that a humane business model is successful. In addition to the large retail chains, more than 1,900 independent pet shops around the country have voluntarily signed The HSUS' Puppy Friendly Pet Store Pledge, agreeing to make it their official policy not to sell puppies in their stores. A list of these stores is available here.

Facts:

•    Cities with a similar ordinance in effect include Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Lake Worth, Fla. and Irvine, Calf.
•    A puppy mill is an inhumane, commercial dog breeding facility in which the health of the dogs is disregarded in order to maintain a low overhead and maximize profits.
•    The HSUS estimates that there are about ten thousand puppy mills in the United States that churn out two to four million puppies for the pet trade every year.
•    Read more about how to get a puppy from a humane source at humanesociety.org/puppy.

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Media Contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras: 301-721-6440; rcontreras@humanesociety.org.

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