One of three pet store owners that would be impacted by L.D. 1311 — Maine’s humane pet store bill — misses the mark in his June 20 letter “Pet shop animal sales not all bad.” The bill would go a long way to protect animals and consumers by ensuring that no additional pet stores would be able sell dogs from cruel puppy mills.

Across the country, more that 300 localities of all sizes and demographics, including Portland and Bar Harbor, and two states, Maryland and California, have enacted laws prohibiting the sale of puppies in pet stores. These laws are in response to the numerous issues puppy-selling pet stores pose including: trucking in puppies from out-of-state puppy mills, misleading consumers, selling sick and behaviorally challenged puppies, and recklessly overusing antibiotics.

The huge majority of pet stores in Maine don’t have these problems because they do not sell puppies. Instead they offer pet products and services, and some host adoption events with local shelters and rescues, proving there is no reason any pet store in Maine needs to sell puppies to be profitable. The three stores that do are grandfathered, but encouraged to convert to the successful humane business model.

The fact is that puppy-selling pet stores have no choice but to source from puppy mills because responsible breeders don’t sell to pet stores. So, they pretend a federal license says something about the quality of a breeder when in reality it just says they can legally confine dogs in stacked, wire cages only six inches larger than themselves for their entire lives and deny them all the pleasures our pets know.

Gov. Janet Mills should sign L.D. 1311. It will effectively impact puppy mills by shrinking the marketplace and drive Maine’s pet market towards more humane sources.


Cheryl Avis


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