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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 14, 2019 03:27 PM
From: Representative Jason Ortitay and Rep. Harry Readshaw
To: All House members
Subject: Pet Retail Sales (Victoria’s Law)
We plan to introduce legislation, known as Victoria’s Law, to prohibit the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores throughout Pennsylvania, unless sourced from shelters and rescues. This bill would also require advertisers to include license numbers on their advertisements. Victoria is a German Shepherd who was rescued from a Pennsylvania puppy mill after 10 years of breeding. She is now paralyzed as a result of a genetic, neurological disorder called Degenerative Myelopathy, a disease she passed down to the estimated 150-200 puppies she produced while at the puppy mill.

Our legislation would help shift the pet market towards humane sources.
It is well-documented that “puppy mills,” inhumane commercial dog breeding facilities, frequently supply pet stores with puppies. Consumers often spend thousands of dollars caring for sick puppies from pet stores, in some cases, only to suffer the heartbreak of their new pet dying. Additionally, Shelters and rescues are burdened with finding families for homeless pets, thousands of whom are euthanized each year in Pennsylvania. With this legislation, more pet stores will partner with shelters and rescues to promote adoption and decrease the demand for the puppies raised in puppy mills.

Responsible breeders, who care deeply for their dogs, will be able to continue to provide Pennsylvanians with healthy, socialized dogs. These breeders will not be impacted by this bill because they do not sell to pet stores, as their breed clubs discourage it and demand to meet buyers in person.

Stores that sell commercially raised puppies operate based on an outdated and socially unacceptable business model and are an outlier in their own industry. The majority of pet stores, including the largest and most successful chains and small mom and pop shops, do not sell puppies, proving that pet stores do not need to sell puppies to be successful.

Pennsylvania puppy-selling pet stores could thrive by converting to a more humane business model, and organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have programs to help pet stores with that transition. Former puppy-selling pet stores that have partnered with the HSUS have collectively adopted out over 15,000 homeless animals; which equates to 15,000 less mill puppies sold too.

More than 280 localities in the U.S., including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, as well as the state of California and Maryland, have passed similar laws.

Our bill would provide transparency in advertising.
By requiring those with federal, state and/or local licenses to include that license number(s) in all advertisements, consumers will be able to research licensed kennels and be alerted to unlicensed ones. Requiring license numbers will also give enforcement officers an opportunity to identify unlicensed breeders, as well as offer an extra incentive for breeders to comply with the law.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.