Under the new law, pet store owners will be required to work with local shelters and rescue groups to sell dogs, cats and rabbits.
The legislation — which will be enforced beginning January 1, 2019 — has gathered much support from animal activist groups, including the Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They believe it promotes more pet adoption from shelters and will significantly decrease the amount of animals euthanized there. Currently, an estimated 1.5 million animals are put down in shelters across the United States a year and approximately 99% of dogs sold in pet stores nationwide come from puppy mills.
Opponents of the bill — mainly, pet store owners – fear that it will limit consumers in their access to popular animal breeds. They also note that the medical history of animals in shelters is not always known, therefore causing a potential risk to the prospective owner. The law, however, will still allow people to buy animals directly from private breeders.
While the legislation is definitely a victory in cracking down on the cruel practices of puppy mills, the problem still remains widespread. According to the Humane Society, there are still at least 10,000 puppy mills across the U.S., many of which are not regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.