In an effort to target puppy mills, backyard breeders, and to reduce the vast number of animals euthanized in Atlanta shelters every year, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms signed legislation banning retail store sales of puppies and kittens.
A city council committee unanimously voted to pass the bill last October, allowing for a full council vote in November, when it was officially passed into law.
The bill will not impact licensed breeders, only retail stores selling puppies and kittens. The bill, however, was mostly preventative, as there are currently no known pet stores selling dogs or cats in city limits. This prevents those types of businesses from opening and giving business to puppy mills.
It’s hard to imagine, when you see an adorable, healthy-looking puppy peering back at you through the glass of your local pet store, where that four-legged furball came from. The truth is, almost all puppies – 99% of them – sold in retail pet stores around the country are the product of puppy mills.
Puppy mills are essentially a factory for pumping out the most amount of puppies, in the shortest amount of time, with minimal expense. Meaning, the breeders that run these puppy mills have their females in a constant cycle of pregnancy and birth. The dogs are given almost no medical care. Living conditions are deplorable. These dogs are usually found crammed into tiny cages with other dogs, standing and sleeping in feces and urine, their hair matted, skin painfully itchy from fleas or ticks, starving and malnourished. Many dogs are suffering from respiratory infections, blindness, joint issues, even life-threatening illnesses that are passed on to their puppies. Sometimes, these poor dogs are left for weeks in cages with fellow dogs that have died.
But the puppy mill’s only concern is profit. They don’t care for the health of their breeding stock. They don’t care for the health of the puppies that are produced. They don’t care where their puppies end up – as long as they make a profit.
The new law, and others like it around the nation, is a huge step in the right direction toward eventually putting an end to commercial mass breeding operations, also known as puppy and kitten mills, and ultimately saving countless lives.
Would you support similar legislation in your own city or state? Weigh in with a comment below!