INDIANAPOLIS — A new bipartisan bill in the State House aims to curb puppy mills while helping animal rescue services in the process.
House Bill 1160 will prohibit pet stores from selling dogs or cats unless they come from a shelter or rescue center. The bill was drafted by Democratic State Rep. Chris Campbell and co-authored by Republican State Rep. Tom Saunders.
“I think Indiana is among, if not the highest state, with the most puppy mills in the entire state,” Rep. Campbell said, “Anyone who has a pet in their life knows how important these animals are, and they want to make sure they are loved, cared for and healthy.
“We were just trying to figure out a way to find homes for these animals,” says Rep. Tom Saunders, “Are we going to shut down the puppy mills or the private breeders? No, but we’re bringing the problem to light.
Puppy mills have long drawn the ire of animal lovers as well as rescue facilities and animal shelters.
“Generally, they produce as many puppies as they can, and when that happens the quality of care tends to go down. Animal health and safety tends to go down,” says Megan Davis, director of the Hamilton County Humane Society Training and Communications, “When people talk about puppy mills, you often imagine the video of Sarah McLachlan in the backyard, and they’re in these filthy cages. Often it’s the state they are in.
The surge comes as some shelters in the area are seeing an increase in admissions. Davis says the Hamilton County Humane Society typically sees 3,000 pets a year, but in 2021 it saw 4,000. They now have some of their animals in Petco and Pet Smart.
“A lot of times these cats are adopted faster because there are fewer animals there. You don’t see 40. You see six or seven. It helps people narrow down their options, so that you don’t get option paralysis,” Davis adds, “They also aren’t surrounded by 80 other dogs barking all the time, so that might help their personality shine through.
Rep. Saunders says the bill has yet to reach a committee. Rep. Campbell urges Hoosiers to contact the Commerce Committee to urge them to hear the bill.
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