The Baltimore City Council is considering banning all retail sales of cats and dogs in pet stores within the city.
Maryland state law already prohibits the vending of cats and dogs from illegal puppy mills, but allows pet stores to sell the animals from legal large-scale commercial breeding facilities. Though federally inspected, these facilities are likely no different from notoriously cruel puppy mills.
The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) has incredibly negligent standards regarding the treatment of dogs in breeding facilities, offering the animals minimal protection from abuse and cruelty.
Here are just a few examples of the lax AWA standards:
- There is no limit to how many dogs are allowed in a facility, meaning a legal operation could cram thousands of dogs in.
- Dogs may be kept in wire or mesh cages, stacked on top of one another, and are not required to be let out of their cages to relieve themselves. The cage is only required to be a measly six inches bigger than the dog itself — tail not included.
- Dogs are only required to be removed from their cage to be bred. They may live all 24 hours per day in the cage otherwise.
- Human interaction is not mandated, and there is no requirement for how many staff members a facility must have.
- A dog may be killed if the facility no longer wants it.
These regulations are hardly regulations at all, permitting neglect, abuse, and terrible lives for dogs left in tiny cages in a disgusting, over-packed room, never to feel sunshine or experience companionship.
Legal or not, this is no way for any living being to exist.
While Baltimore doesn’t currently have any pet stores that sell cats and dogs, animal rights activists are hoping the new proposal makes its way to the state level, effectively destroying business from legal and illegal puppy mills within the state.
Under the new law, stores would be allowed to adopt out dogs from shelters and rescue groups. This would have an incredibly positive impact, as shelters in the United States are home to over 6.5 million cats and dogs. Each year, about 1.5 million perfectly adoptable animals are euthanized. Buying from a puppy mill or private breeder means contribution to overpopulation and the death of sweet, loving animals.
The meeting is set to commence on Monday, and if the law passes, Maryland’s homeless dogs and cats will have something wonderful to look forward to.