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OPPOSE: An Act to protect pets in the Commonwealth

Despite the title, H. 1773 – An Act to protect pets in the Commonwealth, actually limits consumer protections and threatens the welfare of puppies and kittens in Massachusetts because it:

This bill would be a step backward for animal welfare and consumer protection in Massachusetts.

It weakens legitimate state-level animal welfare reform: Filed by Senate President Karen Spilka in 2017, An Act relative to protecting puppies and kittens would have established certain protections for puppies and kittens. This bill takes language from that animal protection legislation and weakens it—rendering it ineffective at protecting animals.

This bill’s puppy sourcing provisions are weak and unenforceable: It would allow pet stores to sell puppies to consumers that come from unregulated and uninspected facilities, including the worst of the worst commercial breeding facilities, known as “puppy mills.”

This bill would thwart consumer protections: It does not protect consumers from purchasing sick or behaviorally challenged pet store puppies who were born into deplorable conditions, taken from their mothers very early, exposed to a wide range of diseases and very susceptible to genetic disorders, and who spent their formative weeks in a puppy mill and pet store cage.

This bill would provide consumers who were sold sick puppies with wholly inadequate remedies:

It would burden shelters and rescues and hinder the adoption of homeless dogs and cats: This bill includes adoptions in its outdoor sales prohibition, which would inhibit the adoption of dogs from shelter and rescues, which often hold adoption events at outdoor venues. It also allows for previously arranged sales, which is a massive loophole that every outdoor seller would claim applied to them.

This bill may obstruct local animal welfare protections: It is crucial that localities retain the right to regulate pet stores and that existing local laws prohibiting puppy sales in pet stores remain intact. These ordinances help to fill a gap where state law may not adequately protect animals and consumers from pet stores that sell sick and behaviorally challenged puppies, deceive consumers, utilize predatory lending schemes, or create public health risks.

This bill promotes an outdated and socially unacceptable business model that relies on the sale of puppies from inhumane sources: The pet store industry is dominated by successful businesses that do not sell puppies; of the top 25 retailers in the country only one sells puppies. The other chains sell products and offer quality services. The largest and most successful chains in the country partner with shelters and rescue organizations to hold adoption events at their stores. HSUS works directly with pet shops willing to switch to this humane model, where they only acquire dogs from shelters and rescues. We have seen many pet shops thrive on this model and Massachusetts municipalities should be able to require this model in their communities, if they choose to. The state should promote humane businesses, not the outliers that still sell commercially-raised puppies.

Please OPPOSE H. 1773.

H. 1773 fails to protect consumers, threatens animal welfare, and burdens animal shelters and rescues.



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