Puppy mills: Victoria’s Law is not enough

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Kaitlyn Chen/The SPOKE

By Takshil Chittuluru, Guest Columnist

Last month, a new law was introduced to the Pennsylvania State Legislature prohibiting the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores. This law was dubbed “Victoria’s Law” after a German Shepherd named Victoria who was rescued from a puppy mill. Victoria is paralyzed due to a genetic disease, which has now been passed to her 150-200 offspring. The law hopes to ruin puppy mills, which house dogs like Victoria who are kept in crowded cages and not properly cared for, while allowing responsible breeders to continue selling out of their house. Victoria’s Law is a major step towards animal rights; however, it will not be enough to stop negligent breeders.

Victoria’s Law aims to end puppy mills in two ways. First, the law will prevent the sale of commercially bred dogs in pet stores, causing puppy mills to lose their primary source of income. Second, the law will prevent breeders from selling unsocialized and disease-ridden dogs to unsuspecting consumers by requiring breeders to put their identification number, name, and address on every advertisement they have.

However, if Victoria’s Law is passed, the question still remains: will it be enough to stop puppy mills once and for all? Unlikely. Although the law will reduce the avenues puppy mills have to sell their puppies, it does not stop breeders from selling online directly to the consumer. Proponents of Victoria’s Law argue that consumers will not buy from puppy mills because they will see the condition of the facility. However, puppy mill owners will likely find a way to hide their facilities. Also, even if puppy mills close down, consumers will have to pay a premium price for dogs from higher-quality breeders, causing consumers to search for dogs from out-of-state breeders that are not subject to Victoria’s Law.

So, how can PA end puppy mills? The best solution is mobilizing consumers to adopt or purchase from responsible breeders. Up until now, legislation has focused solely on the sellers of puppies. But in any economy, consumers drive the market, and it’s no different in the sale of puppies. Consumers need to be educated about the plight of puppy mills in Pennsylvania and realize that they should not buy dogs from uncredible breeders . Puppy mills will be forced out of business if consumers stop buying from them. For this reason, state funding and support need to be given to shelters and  non-profit organizations who educate people about puppy mills.

In addition to shelters and non-profits, it is important for average citizens like you and me to take an active role in helping fight this problem. Volunteer at a local SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) organization like Main Line Animal Rescue. Contact your state representative to advocate for stronger regulations. Above all, do not forget about the thousands of dogs that are suffering in Pennsylvania.


Kaitlyn Chen/The SPOKE