HARRISBURG (March 27, 2018) – State Senator Andy Dinniman recently announced the introduction of bipartisan legislation to prohibit the sale of commercially raised dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores across Pennsylvania.

Senator Reschenthaler and Senator Dinniman meet with puppy mill survivors in the state Capitol in Harrisburg. Pictured (from left to right) Senator Reschenthaler with Alfie from Finding Shelter Animal Rescue, and Senator Dinniman with Tilly from Main Line Animal Rescue and Yankee from A Tail to Tell Puppy Mill Rescue

This legislation is designed to move the pet market toward more humane sources by prohibiting Pennsylvania pet stores from selling puppies, kittens, and rabbits coming from inhumane mills that treat mother dogs, cats, and rabbits as nothing more than breeding machines and their offspring as mere products. Stores will be allowed to source from shelters and rescues and offer homeless animals for adoption, enabling them to be part of the pet overpopulation solution. 

“For far too long, Pennsylvania has held the dubious distinction of puppy mill capital of the nation. We need not only stronger animal cruelty laws and tighter enforcement of our existing humane and kennel standards, but also to put an end to cruel and inhumane puppy mills once and for all,” Dinniman said. “This legislation will eliminate the market for puppy mills to sell their animals in the Commonwealth. It’s just the right thing to do. After all, the way we treat our pets is indicative of the way we treat each other.”

Dinniman was joined in announcing the animal welfare and consumer protection measure by state Senator Guy Reschenthaler and state Representative Jason Ortitay. The bipartisan group of lawmakers also met with animal advocates and rescue dogs from the Humane Society of Pennsylvania, Finding Shelter Animal Rescue, Main Line Animal Rescue, and A Tail to Tell Puppy Rescue.

In addition to addressing the pet store issue, this legislation would close a loophole in the existing outdoor sales law that allows licensed kennels to sell puppies at outdoor venues and events. With this legislation, shelters and rescues would be able to hold adoption events at outdoor sites, but others would not, as there are an immense amount of animal welfare and consumer protection issues associated with selling puppies at flea markets and in parking lots. The bill also will require those advertising dogs for sale to provide their license number, name, and address in all advertisements to increase transparency. 

Dinniman has long been a leading advocate for the humane treatment of pet animals and tighter animal cruelty laws in Pennsylvania.

Recently, his Senate Bill 480, the Pet Protection from Domestic Abuse Act, was unanimously passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation calls for strengthening Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Law to increase the penalty when animal abuse happens in a domestic-violence situation. This often occurs when an estranged spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend (who is under a protection from abuse order from a former partner) will get back at that individual by hurting or killing their pet in order to inflict emotional harm.

“It is time for Pennsylvania to move forward with common sense laws to protect pet animals, crack down on puppy mills and encourage adoption,” Dinniman said. “Again, study after study reaffirms what many pet owners or animal lovers already know – there is a direct correlation between how we treat animals and each other.”

Dinniman and his family currently have a rescue poodle named Jagger.