Washington’s bill would limit pet store sales to rescues only

A bill that would ban the retail sale of dogs and cats unless they were obtained from a shelter or rescue center is under consideration by lawmakers in Olympia.

Opponents and supporters testified about Bill 1640 during a public hearing on February 5. Some of them were from Puyallup, where the issue is hotly contested.

“The purpose of this bill is to try to address the puppy mill situation, where we see a lot of unfortunate practices,” Bill co-sponsor Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, said during of the audience.

The bill would also require pet stores to sterilize and sterilize animals before selling them.

Kayla and Justin Kerr, Puppyland owners on South Hill, said the bill would hurt family businesses like theirs.

The Kerrs opened Puppyland at 13103 Meridian Ave. E. in October and only sell puppies.

“If you limit consumer choice to just pet store dog rescues, consumers will go elsewhere to get the specific breed, temperament and predictability they want,” Kerr said.

Those other places could be Craiglist or PetFinder, Kerr added, websites that pose a risk to consumers due to the animals’ unknown history. Instead, consumers can find a dog that is right for them at pet stores, she said.

In a statement on Facebook, Puppyland wrote that the bill mandates the sale of dogs and cats to unregulated shelters and shelters and prohibits their sale to “regulated, licensed and inspected breeders.”

Kayla Kerr testified that in 2018 alone, the company generated $ 70,000 in sales taxes for the state.

“There is clearly a need and a desire for what we provide to our community,” she said.

Since the opening of Puppyland, protests have been organized outside the building by Ashly Dale, team leader of Bailing Out Benji, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about the factory industry. puppy.

Dale testified at the Feb. 5 hearing in support of the bill, explaining how she challenges the practices of local pet stores.

“Pet stores don’t have a policy in place to ensure their puppies go to a qualified home. They don’t have an application process and allow everyone to buy a puppy, ”Dale said.

At Puppyland, the practices are “not in the best interest of the public or the puppies,” she wrote in an email to the Herald.

Dale said Puyallup Animal Rescue took in 604 dogs from 2016 to 2018, and 75% of those dogs were puppies. Sunny Sky Animal Rescue welcomed more than 800 dogs in 2018 alone.

Puyallup Animal Rescue and Sunny Sky’s Animal Rescue both told the Puyallup Herald that they support the bill.

“The number of dogs and cats euthanized daily in this country is astounding,” Sunny Sky’s board of directors said in a statement. “Retail pet stores are not regulated on the provenance of their pets. They could come from irresponsible breeders or puppy mills who force animals to live in terrible conditions. Sunny Sky’s has received animals from these situations and they are in a physical condition that terrifies us and breaks our hearts, so we are happy to see a bill remedy this situation.

Dale said she didn’t want to take away consumers’ right to choose or shut down small businesses.

“We just want companies to adhere to a humane model and ensure that people get animals from human sources such as rescues or responsible shelters or even responsible breeders,” Dale said.

Kerr testified that his company plays by the rules when it comes to getting dogs.

“We get our puppies from USDA licensed breeders who follow strict rules and regulations and have not suffered any direct violations for the past two years,” she said.

Other municipalities and states have passed similar legislation requiring that pet stores only sell refuge animals.

Mindy Patterson testified at the hearing and told the Herald that the rules put other pet stores out of business. She is the CEO of The Cavalry Group, which aims to protect the rights of animal owners and animal related businesses.

“It turned out to be a complete disaster,” Patterson said of legislation in other cities. “It puts pet stores into bankruptcy because they refuse to sell animals from unregulated sources because it puts their consumers at risk.”

Puppyland also advertises puppy funding – what Dale calls “rental” animals. Customers can receive a payment plan

A separate bill, HB 1476, was introduced that would prevent these plans. A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday February 13.

This story was originally published February 11, 2019 8:00 a.m.

Allison Needles covers city and education news for The News Tribune in Tacoma. She was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest.

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