It’s no secret that puppy and kitten mills treat dog and cat mothers and fathers like moneymaking machines, bred over and over with little to no regard for their health or well-being. It is simply no way for a dog or cat to live.

The suffering of these animal families is what drives us in our work toward a future in which the public understands the injustices done to these animals, and puppy mills no longer have anywhere to sell their “products.” Because of an increasing awareness of these dismal facilities, the image of the puppy or kitten frolicking behind a pet shop window is becoming more chilling than adorable.

Thankfully, we and so many of our supporters are ardent in our fight to be a voice for these animals. In 2021, we prevailed in several key battles against the powerful, well-funded puppy-selling pet store lobby in states and localities across the nation and helped push enforcement agencies into raising standards and shutting down bad breeders.

Here’s a closer look at just a few of our top victories this year:

Dogs in puppy mills are often confined to bare wire cages with little shelter or comfort from the elements.

How to help

Although it should be clear to the puppy-selling pet store sector that its days are numbered, its leaders are not going down without a fight. We are gearing up for a major battle in Florida, where Petland has already introduced 2022 legislation that would prevent any additional localities from regulating pet stores and void the Manatee and Orange County ordinances that passed in 2021. We are also expecting legislation in Illinois, backed by Petland and Furry Babies, a local chain, that would repeal the Humane Pet Store Law that passed in 2021.

We’ve stopped preemption bills—state bills that would prevent localities from regulating pet stores and overturn existing ordinances —and repeal efforts before, and we’re confident we’ll do it again, but we must take these well-funded threats seriously. Florida residents can help by calling their state lawmakers to ask them to oppose SB 994 (Petland’s preemption bill), and Illinois residents can help by asking their state lawmakers to oppose any effort to repeal the Humane Pet Store Law next year. Residents of other states can urge lawmakers to support the Puppy Protection Act.

Everyone can join in the effort to stop puppy mills: Check out our puppy mills research page and our Advocates Guide to Stopping Puppy Mills. Follow our Stop Puppy Mills team on social media and connect with your HSUS state director to stay appraised of the big fights against puppy mills we are taking on in 2022.

Sara Amundson is president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.