(Cherry Hill, N.J.) – Township Council introduced an ordinance on Monday night that would ban the sale of dogs and cats at local pet stores.
Nicknamed “Bogart’s Law” in honor of Councilwoman Melinda Kane’s cat, who was adopted from a shelter, the measure is intended to reduce the demand for dogs and cats from commercial breeding facilities – commonly called puppy or kitten mills – and to encourage potential pet owners to consider adopting their animals from local shelters and rescue organizations.
A significant number of pets sold at pet stores come from large-scale commercial breeding facilities that fail to provide humane conditions and adequate care for these animals. The Humane Society of the United States estimates that puppy mills produce more than 2.4 million puppies a year. Many of these animals suffer from health problems related to overbreeding, inbreeding and lack of veterinary care, and others suffer from poor socialization and other issues that can last the rest of their lives.
At the same time, pet overpopulation has created a crisis for local animal shelters and rescue organizations that face overcrowding and strained resources. The end result is that tens of thousands of pets are euthanized each year.
“Not only do puppy and kitten mills raise pets in horrific, downright abusive conditions, but the result is that our shelters are overcrowded and under-funded, and municipalities bear the brunt of related animal-control costs,” Cahn said. “Meanwhile, well-meaning families and pet owners are unaware of the potential long-term effects of these puppy mill abuses, all of which can lead to exorbitant and unnecessary financial and emotional costs for the owners, and a poor quality of life for these defenseless animals.”
“By reducing the demand for these pets, we hope to promote the adoption of pets from local shelters, and secure loving homes for thousands of dogs and cats who are waiting to be adopted,” Cahn added.
Cahn commended the local residents who had worked together with County and Township officials to craft the law, as well as the owner of a local pet store that has partnered with the Humane Society to adopt a model that encourages pet adoption.
Cherry Hill is among a growing list of municipalities and other governmental entities across the country to adopt similar legislation. Camden County instituted a similar ban on puppy-mill stores in September.
“Bogart’s Law is a perfect example of citizens and local government working together to affect important change,” Cahn said. “Pet overpopulation is a real issue for municipalities throughout the United States. By working together to make this law a reality, we will save tax dollars, reduce the burden being placed on animal shelters and rescues, and most importantly, we will help thousands of pets in need find their ‘forever homes’ here in Cherry Hill.”