Camden County mulls ban on sale of animals from puppy, kitten mills

 Stella, a terrier pit bull mix, jumps up on her cage at the Camden Co. Animal Shelter. Camden Co. officials hope a ban on the sale of animals from puppy and kitten mills will encourage more prospective pet owners to adopt from a shelter or rescue organization (Joe Hernandez/WHYY)

Stella, a terrier pit bull mix, jumps up on her cage at the Camden Co. Animal Shelter. Camden Co. officials hope a ban on the sale of animals from puppy and kitten mills will encourage more prospective pet owners to adopt from a shelter or rescue organization (Joe Hernandez/WHYY)

The Camden County Freeholder Board is considering a ban on the sale of dogs and cats sourced from puppy and kitten mills, large-scale breeding facilities that mistreat their animals in order to maximize profits.

“You don’t need to get a dog from a puppy mill, because by purchasing a dog that stems from a puppy mill, you’re encouraging that type of behavior that is known to be so horrific,” said freeholder Jeffrey Nash, who announced the ordinance at the Camden County Animal Shelter alongside his rescue dog, Norman.

“There’s suffering on the animals. We don’t want to encourage that in our community,” he said.

The ordinance, which will go up for a vote before the freeholders this month, would require pet stores in Camden County to obtain dogs and cats they sell from an animal care facility or a rescue organization.

Prospective pet owners would still be able to buy dogs or cats from breed-specific hobby breeders.

Although New Jersey does not have many puppy or kitten mills of its own, local pet stores still sell animals that come from mills, says the Humane Society’s New Jersey director, Kathleen Schatzmann.

“We don’t have the large-scale breeders that you may see in other states, but the problem is that we import,” she said. “The vast majority of our pet stores do bring in puppies from puppy mills.”

Schatzmann said that seven municipalities in New Jersey have imposed similar bans, but this would be the first county-wide ordinance.

A law signed by Gov. Chris Christie earlier this year requires pet store owners to post information about where they obtained their dogs and cats, but it does not ban the sale of animals from puppy and kitten mills.

Freeholder Nash hopes the ordinance will help end the sale of animals from puppy and kitten mills in the region and encourage prospective pet owners to adopt a dog or cat from a local shelter.

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