State Rep. Hank Vaupel, a veterinarian of more than 40 years, today said his plan to strengthen standards for Michigan pet stores will protect animals and the families who adopt them.
Vaupel’s legislation, approved today by the House Agriculture Committee, prevents Michigan pet stores from acquiring dogs from unregulated breeders, sometimes known as “puppy mills.” It also establishes a minimum age at which puppies can be placed up for adoption, ensures all dogs to have a certified health certificate from a licensed veterinarian, and requires dogs to be vaccinated and micro-chipped.
“As a veterinarian, I’m dedicated to looking out for the health and welfare of all animals,” said Vaupel, of Fowlerville. “This plan will help ensure only reputable pet stores and breeders will be allowed to operate in Michigan. Unscrupulous breeders and stores that don’t look out for the safety of their pets have no business in our communities, and this legislation makes that clear.”
Under the plan laid out in House Bills 5916-17, breeders would be required to supply their U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports to pet stores, in their entirety.
“Any major violations within the past two years would make it impossible for a breeder to engage in sales to a pet store in Michigan,” Vaupel said.
While implementing these safeguards, the legislation also provide necessary protections for responsible local breeders and pet stores that are committed to pet safety.
With demand in American households for pets growing every year, more and more consumers turn online or unwittingly to sources like flea markets or unregulated breeders. In a recent study by the Better Business Bureau, experts believe up to 80 percent of online advertisements for pets may be fraudulent. In addition, when forced to online retailers, consumers often have no recourse if the puppy is unhealthy or not as advertised.
“We must recognize the responsible breeders and local store owners who pour their hearts and souls into building safe and humane facilities, employ dozens of people and are ingrained in the fabric of local communities across our state,” Vaupel said. “Governmental entities should not be allowed to enact overbearing regulations for the sole purpose of putting reputable pet shops out of business.”
The legislation now moves to the full House for consideration.