Last week, Maine’s House and Senate advanced a bill that will make my business worthless. If Gov. Mills signs L.D. 1311 — a bill prohibiting pet shops from selling dogs and cats — into law, overnight my dream of retirement is gone, and more importantly, protections for both pets and their owners will be at risk.

Since opening Pawz & Clawz Petz 14 years ago, I have sold hundreds of pets pairing them with loving families, working with reputable breeders who are licensed and inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. I planned to sell this successful small local business to fund my golden years, but if L.D. 1311 becomes law, I would only be allowed to transfer my business to a family member, of which I have none.

I urge Gov. Mills to veto this bill, not just because of its impact on me, but because it is a well-intended but hasty reaction to California’s ban enacted just a year ago — and the negative consequences of that ban are just beginning to emerge. California veterinarians are already reporting an increase in families acquiring puppies from unregulated sources only to find they are sick or dying, leaving them with costly veterinary bills and broken hearts.

The more responsible route is in Connecticut, where five years ago, they established comprehensive sourcing laws that ensure pet store animals come only from humane regulated breeders. Maine’s answer to animal welfare concerns should be establishing our own standards that strengthen and enhance the current federal requirements, so that our animals and our citizens receive the protection they deserve. Maine has strict animal welfare laws. Stores are “grandfathered” with strict and unreasonable limits.

This bill does nothing it is intended to do stop puppy mills. It is an anti-business bill.

Bryant Tracy
Owner, Pawz & Clawz Petz

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