Boston Residents and Animal Protection Advocates Celebrate Ban on Puppy, Kitten and Rabbit Sales in Boston Pet Stores
BOSTON, March 3, 2016 – The MSPCA-Angell today joined a chorus of top animal welfare organizations and advocates in marking a historic and unanimous vote by the Boston City Council to ban the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits from Boston pet stores as well as public parks and city streets.
The ordinance was signed March 2 by Mayor Marty Walsh and the ban on sales in public parks and city streets has taken immediate effect. The ban on selling puppies, kittens and rabbits in pet stores will take effect on Dec. 31, 2017. No new sales of these animals will be permitted in pet stores now that the ordinance is signed.
Boston has joined more than 120 municipalities across the country that have banned the sale of commercially bred puppies and kittens from pet shops—the vast majority of whom are reared in large-scale breeding facilities, many of which have racked up numerous federal Animal Welfare Act violations.
City Councilor Matt O’Malley first introduced the ordinance at a Feb. 22 press conference at the MSPCA in Jamaica Plain. The measure, dubbed the “Puppy Mill Bill,” was inspired by numerous stories of consumers who purchased animals at pet stores that later turned out to be sick, and who in some cases died.
Said O’Malley of the unanimous vote, “Today is an historic day for both animals and the City of Boston which proved once again that we can elevate the welfare of animals—as well as the constituents we serve—and demonstrate what a humane city Boston is.”
A coalition of regional and national animal welfare leaders have rallied in support of the ordinance, including the MSPCA-Angell, Animal Rescue League of Boston, Mass Coalition to End Puppy Mills, the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, Best Friends Animal Society and House Rabbit Network. The City of Boston’s Animal Control department has also endorsed the measure.
These organizations have united behind the ordinance to thwart the advance of puppy mill-bred animals sold in Boston.
Said Laura Hagen, Deputy Director of Advocacy at the MSPCA-Angell: “This ordinance will have an immediate and significant impact on our adoption center in Boston, which already has experienced a 50 percent rise in rabbit surrenders in the last year alone. We commend the City Council for its vote, which will not only reduce the number of pets who end up in animal shelters, but the number of sick pets as well.”
Hagen reminded readers that by prohibiting the sale of animals from pet stores, the ordinance also prevents “the costs consumers face when they find their new animal comes with health and behavioral issues that may not present immediately or until sometime after the purchase.”
Preventing “Drive By Pet Sales”
The ordinance also prevents “roadside” animal sales, in which unscrupulous breeders make a quick profit by selling animals in public parks or on sidewalks and streets, leaving no recourse for residents if the animal becomes sick or exhibits other problems caused from poor breeding practices.
Quotes from Members of the Animal Protection Coalition Supporting the Ordinance
“We are so thrilled that the City Council has taken this critical step to make Boston a more humane place for both people and pets,” said Elizabeth Oreck, National Manager of Puppy Mill Initiatives for Best Friends Animal Society. “We applaud Councilor O’Malley for his leadership on this important issue.”
“We’re thrilled that Boston is out in front on this puppy mill/pet store issue,” said Elizabeth Maglio of the Massachusetts Coalition to End Puppy Mills. “Now we’re looking to our state leaders to take a similarly brave stand against an industry that thrives on consumer deception and perpetuating misery for so many animals.”
“We are grateful to the Boston City Council for taking action for animals,” said Mary Nee, President of the Animal Rescue League of Boston. “The more we do to prevent inhumane breeders from growing their business in Massachusetts, the more we improve the safety and health of animals in our community.”
Stephanie Harris, Massachusetts State Director for The Humane Society of the United States, said: “The City Council’s vote takes us one step closer towards the day when inhumane puppy mills have nowhere to sell their puppies. Boston has cut off two key supply chains for puppy mills—pet stores and outdoor venues, such as flea markets and parking lots. In doing so, Boston is protecting consumers, improving shelter animals’ chances of finding a home and taking a stand against a very cruel industry.”
“The passage of this ordinance will enable consumers and pet stores to obtain wonderful, loving animals from shelters and other humane sources without supporting the cruel puppy mill industry,” said Bill Ketzer, Senior State Director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Northeast region. “The ASPCA thanks Councilor O’Malley for championing this measure and Boston City Council members for their swift action, and applauds Mayor Walsh for wasting no time in signing this into law.”