Washington State House Democrats


House passes Berg bill to prevent animal abuse and predatory lending

OLYMPIA – Rep. April Berg, D-Mill Creek, introduced a consumer protection and animal welfare bill, House Bill 1424, intended to end the puppy mill to pet store pipeline and limit pet stores from offering predatory financing.   

Across the country, puppy-breeding farms practice high-volume dog breeding to churn out puppies for profit in cruel, abusive, inhumane environments. Puppies from mills are often sick, unsocialized, and have physical problems, and their mothers often spend their lives in cages. The puppies are then shipped all over the country to be sold in stores, offering predatory financing practices leaving many thousands of dollars in debt.    

House Bill 1424 will end the financial incentive for retail pet stores to collaborate with puppy mills by preventing them from having ownership interest in animals offered for adoption, or for receiving a fee for showcasing adoptable animals. 

“My concern is with the lifelong health effects caused by inhumane and unhealthy breeding practices at puppy mills that not only hurts animals but causes a financial and emotional burden to people who sought a healthy, happy companion and were lured into veterinary bills and heartache.” 

This legislation will not impact pet stores operating in the interests of their customers and the animals in their care nor will it impact responsible, humane breeders. Although Washington already has strong regulations as it relates to breeders, they do not prevent the sale of puppy mill puppies because pet stores import puppies from out of state over which Washington has no jurisdiction.  

“These predatory practices can leave owners in despair, in thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars of debt, with crippling credit scores, and a sick or dying dog,” said Berg. “We need to hold businesses accountable when they engage in predatory behavior and sell consumers a faulty product, which in this case is a puppy from a puppy mill.”   

House Bill 1424 passed off the House floor 92 Aye and 5 Nays on March 2nd and will now be considered in the Senate.