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The bill also specifies a warranty must be provided to the buyer from the store for a
14-day period for illnesses or diseases that were present when purchasing and for a two-year period for congenital or hereditary conditions after an examination and written statement by a licensed veterinarian. The warranty could be a return, exchange or refund and may also include a refund of reasonable veterinary fees associated with purchase.
The House bill has similar wording, not allowing cities and counties from banning the sale of dogs at pet stores acquired from the same sources but it does not have the same protections for consumers written into it.
Why is this bill controversial?
Here is a brief summary of the two sides.
From an animal welfare standpoint
From an animal welfare standpoint, there are a few things to consider. First, even licensed breeding operations are not well-regulated or monitored. If you have ever owned a dog that had a litter of puppies, you know how much work it can be to keep up with them and ensure that they have a clean and safe environment. Now imagine having four or more litters of puppies at the same time, in the same facility. That can cause a lot of work and increases the likelihood of disease, unsanitary conditions, neglect and other problems. Additionally, when you have that many animals they often are not being properly socialized.
Then there is also the issue of an influx of animals into a community when shelters and rescues are already overrun and have to turn animals away. I know that, in just the past couple of years at the humane society, we have received several purebred dogs from owners that were no longer able to care for them. These dogs were either purchased from breeders or at pet stores, and the owners were not prepared for the animal that they were getting. Many dogs from pet stores are also not fully vaccinated and education about continued vaccinations is often not provided or is inadequate, which can lead to deadly viral infections such as parvo.
Most are not spayed or neutered prior to being purchased, and no follow-up is done or is even required.
This directly leads to more unwanted litters of animals. Rescues and animal shelters are required to either spay/neuter their animals prior to adoption or collect a $75 deposit to ensure that it is done by the new owner within six months.
No such requirement exists for animals from pet stores.
On the flip side
On the flip side, proponents of the bill say banning the sale of dogs at pet stores limits free commerce and people’s abilities to access purebred dogs.
The bill’s author, Sen. Blake Doriot, stated he wanted to use the bill to bring a higher standard to the breeding industry.
I can see both sides, and I am at least glad that if it does pass, it has some requirements built-in that will add protections for consumers who do buy animals from pet stores. Overall though, I personally believe that a spay/neuter requirement would make the biggest impact in helping rescues prevent overcrowding.
The bill isn’t law yet and still has to be voted on by the Indiana House and signed by the Governor. I reached out to Rep. Bruce Borders' press contact to see if I could get a statement on Bruce’s thoughts on the bill if it were to make it to the House floor and if he had decided on how he would vote. I have not received a response at the time of writing this though. I would recommend if you have an opinion on this bill that you contact both Bruce Borders’ office at 317-232-9753 or your respective state representative’s office if you are not in Greene County. Ensure they know you are a constituent and that you want your opinion to be known.
To close, here is a quote from Irish Statesman Edmund Burke: “Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could do only a little.”
Kegan is the president of the Greene County Humane Society Board of Directors.