Olympia – Representative Amy Walen, D-Kirkland, has introduced HB 1424, a consumer protection and animal welfare bill that intends to end the puppy mill to pet store pipeline. The bill includes reasonable restrictions that will allow consumers to make an informed pet buying decision and prevents any new pet stores from selling puppies and kittens. The legislation is similar to laws enacted in California, Maryland, Maine and over 370 localities across the nation, including seven cities and one county in Washington.
“Puppies are coming in from outside of our state and being sold at retail pet stores. The Consumer Protection and Business Committee has heard countless stories of Washingtonians who have unknowingly purchased a puppy mill puppy from a pet store only later to learn that the pet they have chosen has health problems due to the unhealthy conditions in which the puppy was born. We need to hold businesses accountable when they sell consumers a faulty product, which in this case is a puppy from a puppy mill. Consumers deserve to know under what conditions their pet was born,” said Representative Walen.
According to Laura Henderson, Executive Director of Pasado’s Safe Haven, “This bill allows for a significant step in the right direction for the sake of consumers and animals caught up in the puppy mill to pet store pipeline.”
The vast majority of pet stores in the state are already in compliance with this legislation since they do not sell dogs or cats and instead focus on products and services, and help their customers find reputable breeders to buy from or help them look at adoption options. However, there are a few stores in Washington that do sell puppies. Unfortunately, some of these stores sell puppies using predatory financing programs and with a lack of transparency about the health history of the puppies and where the puppies were born and transported from.
“This important legislation will bring us one step closer to the day when cruel puppy mills have nowhere left to sell,” said Dan Paul, Washington State Director for the Humane Society of the United States. “This legislation will spare animals from suffering and consumers from much heartbreak.”
This legislation, which is scheduled for a public hearing on February 11, 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 who care deeply for their dogs and never sell through pet stores or other indirect methods because they meet prospective buyers in person.
Although Washington already has strong regulations as it relates to breeders in our state, our regulations do not prevent the sale of puppy mill puppies because pet stores import puppies from out of state which Washington has no jurisdiction over. “In Washington state, we can do better. We don’t want puppy mill puppies coming into our state and being sold to Washington consumers,” said Representative Walen, prime sponsor of the bill.