Now is the time to end the cruel Florida puppy mill pipeline

Each year, thousands of cruelty-bred puppies are shipped to Florida through a pipeline of out-of-state breeders and brokers for sale in stores.

A recent ASPCA report tracing the source of these puppies found that virtually all of them were from puppy mills located out of state; in fact, over 80% of puppies imported to Florida come from a few Midwestern states that have the highest concentration of commercial dog breeding facilities in the country.

One of those USDA licensed breeders, based in Iowa, has sold puppies to pet stores across Florida – and was only recently arrested after racking up more than 190 violations of the law. animal protection. A complaint against this breeder, Daniel Gingerich, has been filed by the US Department of Justice. The complaint detailed the horrific conditions at several locations where Gingerich kept dogs, including some that were found dead or suffering from untreated injuries and illnesses.

Gingerich has probably bought and sold thousands of dogs in the past year alone. Some of these dogs were shipped to at least 30 pet stores in Florida, who then sold these puppies to unsuspecting Florida families.

The reason breeders such as Gingerich exist is that selling puppies in stores is still legal in Florida, allowing puppy mills to continue to sell dogs kept or bred out of sight under unspeakable conditions.

Federally licensed breeders who supply puppies to stores can legally keep breeding dogs in small cages for life, and the USDA has a habit of not enforcing paltry facility requirements.

Last year Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a lawsuit against Orange County pet stores for selling puppy mill dogs with hereditary and infectious diseases. Many of these dogs required expensive vet care, and some died later – although the store marketed them as “healthy dogs.”

Consumers often report purchasing puppies from pet stores that later get sick, which can leave many families unprepared for the cost and heartache of buying a sick puppy.

That’s why dozens of Florida local governments have passed laws to shut down the pipeline to puppy mills in their communities – an approach that aligns with the recently tabled Bill 253. Under the bill, sponsored by Winter Haven State Representative Sam Killebrew, stores could continue to provide space for rescue groups and shelters to adopt animals to the public, and people can continue to buy puppies directly from breeders.

Most Florida pet stores don’t sell dogs, proving that stores don’t have to sell dogs to be successful. In fact, reputable stores do a lot of other things to attract shoppers, including selling products (like food), offering various services (like grooming and boarding), and partnering with local shelters. or to relief organizations to organize adoption events.

In other words, these stores are making money without capitalizing on cruelty.

Florida law should no longer support a pipeline of out-of-state ranchers who import cruelty into our state. Contact your state officials today and urge them to pass Bill 253 to shut down the puppy mill pipeline – once and for all.

Jennifer Hobgood is the Senior Director of State Legislation for ASPCA, South Division. She is based in Tallahassee.

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