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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2020 01:52 PM
From: Senator Kristin Phillips-Hill and Sen. Lisa M. Boscola
To: All Senate members
Subject: Pet Retail Sales (Victoria's Law)
In the near future we plan to introduce legislation, known as Victoria’s Law, to drive the Pennsylvania pet market towards more humane sources like shelters, rescues and responsible breeders, stop the sale of puppy mill dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores, and protect consumers from misleading sales tactics. This bill would also require advertisers to include license numbers on their advertisements. Victoria was a German Shepherd who was rescued from a Pennsylvania puppy mill after 10 years of breeding. By the time she was rescued, she was 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 negatively impacted by this bill because they do not sell to pet stores, as their breed clubs discourage it, and they demand to meet buyers in person. A benefit of this bill is the promotion of our state’s many responsible breeders.

Stores that sell commercially raised puppies operate based on an outdated and socially unacceptable business model and are an outlier in their own industry.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. Any pet store currently selling puppies can instead tap into the $95 billion dollar pet market that is dominated by products and services.

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 nearly 35,000 homeless animals; which equates to 35,000 less mill puppies sold too.

More than 370 localities in the U.S., including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, as well as the states of California, Maryland, and Maine 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.

This legislation will be similar to SB 44 of the 2019-2020 Legislative Session which was sponsored by Senator Killion and Senator Dinniman and co-sponsored by the following Senators: Alloway, Argall, Bartolotta, Boscola, Brewster, Collet, Costa, Farnese, Fontana, Kearney, Langerholc, Laughlin, Leach, Muth, Phillips-Hill, Sabatina, Santarsiero, Stefano, Street, Tartaglione, K. Ward, White, Yudichak, Haywood, L. Williams, Scavello, A. Williams, Blake and Iovino.

Please join us in supporting this important legislation.

Introduced as SB234