Florida Bill Threatens to Protect Puppy Mills and Puppy-Selling Pet Stores


Prompted by a groundswell of community interest in shutting down the cruel puppy mill pipeline, cities and counties across the country have adopted local laws to end the sale of dogs and cats in stores. Profitable and successful pet stores in the U.S. do not sell dogs and cats, and people are taking notice–selling pets in stores relies on an unsustainable, inhumane network of commercial breeding operations. 

Residents of Florida are among those taking notice. More than 80 local governments in the Sunshine State have passed ordinances banning the retail sale of dogs and cats in pet stores. While most stores in Florida no longer sell dogs or cats, the state continues to have one of the country’s highest number of puppy-selling stores–stores that source puppies from out-of-state, cruel, commercial breeding operations known as “puppy mills.” Instead of adapting their business model to sell supplies and services like most other pet stores, puppy-selling stores are pushing for legislation that would allow them to continue to profit from cruelly bred dogs. 

A bill was recently introduced in Florida, misleadingly presented as an animal protection bill. Florida House Bill 849/Senate Bill 994 contains meaningless regulations that would not protect animals but would prevent local governments from enacting future ordinances to prevent the sale of puppies in their communities’ stores—ensuring that the puppy mill pipeline would continue to flood Florida with cruelly bred dogs indefinitely, and communities could do nothing to stop it.  

House Bill 849/Senate Bill 994 will prop up a cruel, dying business practice that peddles animal cruelty, disease, and fraud to Florida consumers. 

The Connection Between Florida Pet Stores and a Horrific Puppy Mill

In November, the ASPCA assisted with the rescue of more than 500 hundred dogs from a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)-licensed commercial dog breeding facility in Iowa. Breeder Daniel Gingerich was licensed by the USDA in 2019, but the agency didn’t inspect his facility until 2021. When the USDA finally did the inspection, they found many animals suffering: dogs hidden from inspectors, ongoing disease outbreaks like parvovirus and distemper, heat distress, lack of water and food, dead and dying dogs–over 200 violation of the Animal Welfare Act in total. 

Documents filed with the state of Florida show that nearly 40% of Florida’s puppy-selling stores imported dogs from Gingerich’s puppy mill in Iowa.

Shut Down the Pipeline

Puppy-selling stores are the driver that keeps the puppy mill pipeline flowing. The time is now to shut down the pipeline that is importing cruelty into the Sunshine State, and that starts with opposing House Bill 849/Senate Bill 994.

Florida residents–you can take action TODAY! Contact your state legislators today using our online form and urge them to oppose H.B. 849/S.B. 994.

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