Kitsap Needs to Protect Pet Sales

Imagine a female dog living in a wire cage that is merely six inches larger than herself pumping out litter after litter. She receives little to no veterinary care, has never been groomed, does not know what it feels like to walk on grass, among much else. Each litter she has, the puppies are pulled from her before reaching eight weeks of age and are shipped off to a faraway pet store. This female is one of thousands around the country working without a voice to provide puppies to unsuspecting consumers at retail.
Kitsap County is considering a pet store ordinance that would give those breeding female dogs a voice as long as a few tweaks are made to the ordinance. The Kitsap County Commissioners recently held a public hearing on the ordinance where false and misleading claims were made about the pet store and puppy mill industry. It’s time to set the record straight.

It is well documented and indisputable by anyone outside of the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline that pet store puppies come from inhumane commercial breeding facilities that treat dogs as breeding machines and puppies as products. Even if pet stores wanted to source from responsible humane breeders, they wouldn’t be able to because responsible breeders do not sell to pet stores. In fact, the vast majority of national breed clubs have codes of ethics stating that their members should not sell to pet stores. Even the American Kennel Club (AKC), who is funded by the puppy mill industry, states that the best way for a person to obtain a new pet is through personal interaction with the pet’s breeder and the pet under consideration, which is simply not possible when purchasing a pet at a pet store.

Kitsap County’s only pet store that sells puppies, Farmland Pets and Feed, is no exception. They admitted to purchasing puppies from BJ’s and Guys, as reported in the Kitsap Sun. BJ’s and Guys is known to be one of the largest dealers of puppies in Kansas, with more than 1,100 dogs noted on their property in 2016. They were also listed in the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) 2017 Horrible Hundred puppy mill report for receiving numerous animal welfare violations from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Those violations include, a pug with an eye disorder, a Shih Tzu with a swollen eye, a Pomeranian with scabs and hair loss, puppies’ whose feet were trapped in one-inch gaps in the wire flooring of their cage, and more.

Consumers looking to add a new pet to their family are not limited in their choice. Should Kitsap County pass an ordinance that prohibits the sale of commercially- bred dogs and cats in pet stores, consumers have the option of going to shelters and rescues with dogs of every size, age, breed, and temperament as well as responsible breeders. The majority of Americans already use these outlets more than pet stores as evidenced by the American Pet Products Association, which revealed that only two percent of consumers go to pet stores to obtain a puppy. Pet stores that sell puppies are an outlier in their own industry as the huge majority of pet stores do not sell puppies and instead focus on the sale of quality products and services — a $70 billion industry. Numerous pet stores are thriving on the humane pet store model, not only national chains such as PetSmart and Petco, but small mom and pop shops as well.

To ensure Kitsap County moves forward with an ordinance that effectively stops the puppy mill-topet store pipeline, the exemption for hobbyists needs to be removed from the proposed ordinance. The hobbyist exemption allows pet stores to source from completely unregulated and uninspected puppy mills. It would also allow USDA licensed breeders to sell to pet stores, meaning Farmland Pets and Feed could continue sourcing puppies from BJs and Guys despite having numerous animal welfare violations. Even USDA licensed breeders that are fully compliant under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) can still keep animals in extremely inhumane conditions. It is legal, under the AWA, to confine dogs in stacked, wire cages only six inches larger than themselves for their entire lives without exercise or socialization. Not to mention, the USDA redacts the information it collects on its animal welfare reports, so there is virtually no way to know whether USDA-licensed breeders are compliant or noncompliant under the AWA.
What is happening in Kitsap County is long overdue as 300 localities across the country in more than 20 states have passed ordinances prohibiting the sale of commercially-bred dogs and cats in pet stores as well as the states of California and Maryland. Even though the state passed a law better regulating dog breeder themselves that progress is being offset as the state continues to import puppies from out-ofstate breeders to be sold in pet stores.

Please contact your Kitsap County Commissioners before April 29 and urge them to pass an ordinance, without a hobbyist exemption, that prohibits the sale of commercially-bred dogs and cats in pet stores.

Thank you! 

Kim Siebens
President, Their Voice 

Information needed to fill out the contact form to the Commissioners:
Meeting Date: 4/22/2019
Agenda Item: Public Hearing, Pet Store Ordinance
Subject: Pet Store Ordinance

You can also  watch the video   from the public hearing and hear all of the false and misleading claims made by people who are in support of pet stores selling pets from puppy mills