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IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR THE HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE UNITED STATES - A rescued puppy abandoned in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, neighborhood kisses Jennifer Kulina-Lanese, field responder with The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue Team, before she takes the puppy to the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control Center for care and shelter. The Humane Society of the United States collaborated with the Emergency Operations Center and local animal welfare agencies to rescue animals from flooded areas on Aug. 16, 2016, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Tyler Kaufman/AP Images for The Humane Society)

The New Jersey State Senate has passed a law that forbids pet stores in the state from selling dogs and cats acquired from brokers or breeders, called “puppy mills” by opponents of the industry.

The measure, which is a revision of New Jersey’s Pet Protection Act, applies to any pet store licensed after Jan. 12 of this year. It was introduced by State Senator Raymond Lesniak, D-Union.

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Lawmakers in favor of the legislation see two goals: cracking down on controversial “puppy mills” and finding homes for shelter animals. From the bill (S 63):

The Legislature further finds and declares that New Jersey consumers routinely report purchasing sick dogs from pet shops; that hundreds of the dogs sold annually in New Jersey pet shops come from large-scale commercial breeders with significant and multiple USDA violations; that current federal Animal Welfare Act regulations promulgated by the USDA are inadequate to protect the health and welfare of breeding cats and their kittens or breeding dogs and their puppies […]

If passed, New Jersey would be the first state to ban commercial breeders from selling to intermediaries. The law still allows residents to buy cats and dogs directly from breeders and brokers, however.

Not everyone is convinced it’s a good idea. CBS New York published a statement from the American Kennel Club (AKC):

The AKC believes the best way for a person to obtain a new pet is through personal interaction with a pet’s breeder and the pet under consideration. This helps a prospective pet buyer find a pet that is a good fit for their lifestyle.

However, finding a local breeder isn’t always possible for everyone. Regulated pet shops provide a safe and legitimate option for new pet owners who want a specific breed of pet with predictable type, temperament, care requirements and health checks; that has been bred by a licensed and regulated professional; and is subject to NJ’s consumer protection laws.

The AKC opposes S 63 becaue it would remove that option. It repeals excellent new consumer protection laws put in place last session to protect people.”

It goes to the New Jersey Assembly next.


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