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Holliston Residents Pass “Puppy Mill Bill”

Animal Advocates Cheer Vote Prohibiting Commercial Sales of Puppies, Kittens, and Rabbits in the Town  

Holliston, Mass., July 21, 2020 – Residents of Holliston, Mass. last night approved a measure to ban the sale of puppies, kittens and rabbits in pet stores operating in the town, and animal advocates across Massachusetts, including the MSPCA-Angell, are cheering the move.

The new bylaw, passed by residents who attended last night’s town meeting at the Placentino/Miller elementary school, enables pet shops to partner with animal shelters and rescue groups to offer pets for sale to the public, instead of obtaining them from large-scale commercial breeding facilities.

The bylaw goes into effect in 90 days and does not impact reputable breeders who do not sell their animals to pet stores.

Holliston the Latest City Reject Puppy Mill Animals
Once the ban goes into effect, Holliston will take its place alongside 359 other municipalities across the U.S. that have placed restrictions on pet sales, including four other cities and towns in Massachusetts: Boston, Cambridge, Stoneham, and Pittsfield which, including Holliston, collectively account for approximately one million residents.

These bans prevent animals from being sold in pet stores as part of the commercial pet trade—the vast majority of whom are reared in large-scale breeding facilities, many of which have racked up numerous federal Animal Welfare Act violations.

The measure was inspired by numerous stories of consumers who purchased animals at a local pet store that later turned out to be sick, and who in some cases died.

From Pet Shops to Circuses: Animals are Winning
The passage of the new bylaw in Holliston comes on the heels of Wilmington, Mass. voting last month to ban wild animals from performing in circuses and traveling exhibits.  There are now 12 similar measures in place in Massachusetts– including Cambridge, Revere and Pittsfield.  The measures spare hundreds of wild animals—from bears and big cats to elephants—from performing painful, unnatural tricks in environments.

More than 400 rabbits were surrendered to our shelters during 2019 alone,” said Kara Holmquist, director of Advocacy at the MSPCA-Angell.  “Some of these rabbits were initially purchased at pet stores and today’s ban will reduce animal suffering by sharply reducing this homelessness.”

Holmquist noted 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.