The Humane Society of the United States is urging Pennsylvania lawmakers to support a bill that would prohibit the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores unless the animals are sourced from shelters and rescues. If enacted, the legislation would drive the pet market in Pennsylvania toward more humane sources, and ensure that puppy mill puppies were no longer sold in the state’s pet stores. Similar laws were passed in Maryland and California, and inover 280 localities across the nation, including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

The goal of the Pennsylvania legislation and similar laws is to promote animal welfare and protect consumers. The consumer protection aspect is now more serious than ever, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting that due to widespread antibiotic use by pet stores, transporters and commercial breeders, some pet store puppies have been infected with an antibiotic resistant strain of Campylobacter infection, which was then transmitted to humans.

The CDC recently released a report detailing its two-year investigation into multistate, multidrug-resistant outbreak of Campylobacter infections that is linked to contact with pet store puppies. This CDC previous issued outbreak advisories on this same issue, most recently in Jan. 2018.

A Senate version of the bill—S.B. 1154—is sponsored by Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Jefferson Hills, and H.B. 2610 and Rep. Jason Ortitay, R-Washington/Allegheny, is sponsoring the House version, H.B. 2610.

“Cutting off the puppy mill to pet store pipeline is the right thing to do for animals and consumers,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “The recent outbreak of Campylobacter, as reported by the CDC, underscores that puppy-selling pet stores pose serious risks to both humans and animals. We urge Pennsylvania lawmakers to support S.B. 1154 and H.B. 2610.”

Key information from the report and advisories include: 

Puppies from breeders and distributors sold through pet stores are source of multistate, multidrug-resistant outbreak of Campylobacter infections.

  • 118 persons, including 29 pet store employees, in 18 states, were identified with illness onset from Jan. 5, 2016 to Feb. 4, 2018, and at least 23 were hospitalized.
  • At least six Pennsylania residents were infected.
  • Six pet store companies were linked to the out-break. Petland stores specifically were linked to the majority of cases. Petland has three locations in Pennsylvania that sell puppies.

Pennsylvania legislators are in a unique position to solve this problem in the Commonwealth and protect their constituents by supporting S.B. 1154 and H.B. 2610 in the coming weeks.

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