Paws Up Projects

Pushing new legislation to prevent puppy mills

High school students Novia and Ava petitioned King County Council to pass a retail pet ban that would cut off animal mills from funneling puppies, kittens, and rabbits into local stores. Their quest began as part of an internship at the Seattle Humane Society, which encouraged the two to pursue an animal welfare project. Knowing that countless animals are inhumanely bred in mills across Washington State alone, they knew they needed to pursue legal action. “The majority of animal mills gain their income via selling to pet stores, who may mislead customers into thinking the pet came from a safe environment,” Ava said in a statement. Novia added, “and these cruel facilities completely disregard the medical and emotional needs of their animals. Their only aim is to turn a profit.” By passing the Retail Pet Ban, the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits not sourced from a shelter or rescue by pet stores would be illegal, and further precautions would also be mandated. All pet stores selling live animals will be required to partner with shelters, and they must clearly display the shelter that each animal is sourced from. Most, if not all, pet stores in local communities already do this. However, the Retail Pet Ban is an important example for King County to set for other communities. The Retail Pet Ban has already been passed in the states of California and Maryland, as well as the cities of Bainbridge Island, Bremerton, and Poulsbo here in Washington State.

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