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Friday, 24 November 2017

L.D 335: An Act to Prohibit the Sale of Dogs and Cats in Pet Shops - Fact Sheet
Written by MFOA   
Tuesday, 27 January 2015

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MFOA is excited to partner with Maine Citizens Against Puppy Mills (MCAPM) this legislative session, through our joint submission of “An Act to Prohibit the Sale of Dogs and Cats in Pet Shops.” If enacted, this bill will ban the retail sales of puppies and kittens in Maine pet shops. 

Following is a "Fact Sheet" about this Bill which can be shared with legislators, friends and family members interested in learning how this Bill will benefit Maine.

 

L.D 335: “An Act to Prohibit the Sale of Dogs and Cats in Pet Shops”

FACT SHEET


Why is a ban on the sale of puppies and kittens by pet shops an important initiative for Maine?

  • By allowing Maine pet stores to sell puppies and kittens, we enable and support out-of-state puppy mills and kitten mills (primarily in the mid-west), thereby promoting the inhumane treatment of companion animals.  

  • A review of the importation certificates on file at the Maine Department of Agriculture reveals that the vast majority (over 95%) of puppies and kittens sold by Maine pet shops are obtained from out-of-state, large scale commercial breeding facilities (aka puppy/kitten mills), most of which were cited for significant violations during their 2014 USDA inspections.

  • The lack of basic care at these breeding facilities is inhumane and can contribute to poor health of the puppies and kittens that are transported and sold to pet shops. If these animals survive the transport (some do not), they often arrive suffering from contagious parasites and transmittable diseases, as well as behavioral disorders. A pet shop in Scarborough closed after two occasions of a state quarantine and the death of three puppies.  

 

What is a large scale commercial breeding facility (aka puppy/kitten mill)?

  • Large scale commercial breeding facilities mass produce puppies/kittens for the sole purpose of selling to pet shops and online buyers. These facilities operate to maximize profits at the expense of the health of the breeding animals and resultant litters.

  • In most of these facilities, there is little regard for the physical health or mental well being of the animals. Dogs are often forced to live in filthy living conditions in wire-floored cages, causing injury to toes and feet; little or no medical care; exposed to the elements; lack of nutritious food or potable water; and without access to exercise or social interaction with humans.

  • Female dogs are routinely bred at every heat cycle, about twice a year. They care and nurture their young only for them to end up in a pet shop cage. Due to over breeding, the breeding "stock" generally stops producing at age 5–6, at which point, they are deemed useless, and are discarded - often relinquished to animal shelters, shot or sold to research laboratories.
     
  • Puppy mill operators are in business solely for money. The animals are a commodity. Pet shops want to obtain product at the lowest possible price to maximize profit. To accomplish this, the puppy mill operators skimp on housing, food and veterinary care to keep overhead down. It is also cheaper to let an animal die than provide proper medical care.  

 

Are there laws already in place to protect these companion animals?

  • Wholesale dog/cat breeding and the shipment of live animals are regulated federally by the USDA under the 1970 Animal Welfare Act. The Act requires commercial breeders to be licensed, inspected, and regulated to ensure that standards of housing, care, and medical treatment are upheld in these facilities. However, the law is poorly enforced due to lack of funding and staffing. Inspectors find many USDA facilities are in violation of even their minimal standards.

  • Facilities are inspected as little as once a year. If a violation is found, the USDA often grants the offenders multiple opportunities to correct the situation. Legal action is rare. When it does occur, it can take years to prosecute, and the puppy/kitten mill operator rarely loses his/her license.

  • Although the Animal Legal Defense Funds ranks Maine #2 in the nation for strong animal protection laws, Maine cannot oversee the large scale breeding industry in other states.  What Maine can do is to enact legislation to ban those animals from being sold in this state.

 

Will a ban on the sale of dogs and cats through pet shops make it difficult to find a pure bred pet in Maine?

  • No - there are many humane and safe options in Maine offering purebred dogs and cats to loving families: local animal shelters, local reputable breeders, and breed specific rescue groups. More than 25% of the dogs received by animal shelters are purebred.

 

How will this ban impact local Maine breeders?

  • If anything, this ban would have a positive impact on Maine breeders, creating a larger demand for their puppies and kittens and balancing the competitive playing field.  It is hard for local breeders who abide by the more stringent Maine breeding kennel regulations to compete with the pricing of animals from out-of-state commercial breeding facilities (aka puppy/kitten mills.)

  • By definition of a 'Pet Shop' in the Maine animal welfare laws this legislation would not affect local breeders. Maine breeding kennels & hobby breeders fall under different licensing definitions from pet shops.

 

Is the intent of this bill to put Maine pet shops out of business?

  •  Absolutely not. We have no desire for these shops to go out of business. Research shows that over the past few years, a number of pet shops in Maine selling dogs and cats have closed due to lack of sales/profitability. Pet shops have found other profitable uses for the cage space while gaining favorable public relations.  

  • The pet shops in cities that have a ban such as Chicago, Phoenix and Los Angeles, are now showcasing adoptable shelter animals and focusing sales efforts on expanded products and services instead of on sales of puppies and kittens raised in terribly in-humane conditions.

  • Maine has 76 registered pet shops and only four still sell dogs and cats. Unlike other states, there are just four and only one of them sells a significant amount of animals. The sale of animals is only one source of income and can be replaced. Therefore this legislation has no negative economic impact on Maine businesses.

 

Click here to download a printable Fact Sheet
 
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