Just today it was announced that California is the first state to pass a law cracking down on pet stores, and I think Indiana needs to be the second state to do this.

White retriever in cage
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It was announced that starting in January of 2018 it will be illegal for pet stores in California to carry any animals that are not rescues.  This means that any pet store selling puppies, kittens, and rabbits must get those animals from rescues and shelters.  If a pet store doesn't comply and is caught selling animals from commercial breeders, they face a $500 penalty.

Now breeders are not illegal in California, and people are still allowed to privately purchase animals from breeders.

This is a move to specifically target puppy mills and large scale breeding operations where many dogs are bred relentlessly in deplorable conditions.  Many of the puppies suffer health defects due to the conditions they were bred in.

Here's why I think Indiana should follow in California's foot steps with this law, in Indiana alone there are over 200 puppy mills, and over 6,700 adult dogs trapped in puppy mills. That's JUST in Indiana (source: Bailing Out Benji).  If you're a visual person, check out this map of Indiana puppy mills. It's shocking.

The thing that makes it hard to take down puppy mills is the fact that they are 100% legal when licensed by the state department of Agriculture or USDA.  Because dogs are considered "livestock" they are able to get away with keeping many dogs in deplorable conditions to breed them relentlessly so they can sell the puppies to pet stores.

If we want to take down puppy mills, we need to hit them where it hurts, their wallets. And one way to do that is limiting their access to potential buyers by no longer allowing pet stores to carry pets from breeders.

There's already a crisis in the animal rescue world, where there are too many animals, and just not enough homes. According to the ASPCA each year 6.5 million dogs and cats enter U.S. shelters, and of them approximately 1.5 million dogs and cats are euthanized.  There's just simply not enough homes for the amount of homeless animals.

So what do you think?  Do you think more states should follow California's lead?

I do!

Now if you're like me, seeing this information is shocking, and your first thought was "how can I help??"  Here's how you can help stop large scale breeders.  First of all, sharing the message and raising awareness, about this issue is one of the easiest ways you can help.  The second way is to adopt your next pet through a local rescue. If there's a specific breed/type you're looking for, PetFinder.com and AdoptAPet.com are great resources to help you find what you want.  The third way is to donate and help organizations who are actively working to shut down puppy mills like Bailing Out Benji.
We have many great rescues in the Tri-State area, here's a few of them!