The Humane Society estimates that there are at least 10,000 puppy mills in the U.S. producing more than 2.4 million a year-and less than 3,000 of those are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile, according to the ASPCA, approximately 3.9 million dogs enter shelters every year-and each year, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized.
In an effort to crack down on the use of puppy mills, one state is taking a stand: The New Jersey Senate approved a bill earlier this week that would require pet stores licensed after January 12, 2016 to sell only dogs and cats obtained from shelters and animal rescue organizations. The bill will now head to the Assembly where it will be debated, reports The Record. "These puppy mills have gained a notorious reputation for putting profits ahead of the humane treatment of dogs and cats," Senator Raymond Lesniak, who introduced the bill, told reporters last December. "Their mass breeding has created inbred health and behavioral problems and the inhumane conditions have left too many of these pets to suffer from neglect and mistreatment."
Those against the bill-namely, representatives of the pet industry-say it undermines existing pet protection laws, and that it will make it difficult for new pet stores to open and will limit pet choice for future owners.