FAQs: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Below are answers to frequently asked questions. Further explanations can be found on this website and RESOURCES.
How does the ordinance work?
The ordinance would prohibit pet stores from selling dogs and cats while allowing stores to host adoption events with animal shelters and rescues.
Will it impact the store's business?
A humane pet store ordinance is business-friendly. The majority of pet stores in Blaine and across the country have adopted a humane business model where they do not sell dogs and cats. Instead, these stores make money from selling supplies and services — protecting animals and consumers.
Do pet stores follow state requirements?
Pet stores are not licensed, inspected, or regulated by the state of Minnesota. The city and county also do not regulate pet stores. The proposed ordinance is not about the physical pet store; it's about where the pet stores purchase the puppies and the conditions within the breeding facilities. These breeding facilities present significant animal welfare concerns and lead to significant consumer problems.
What do National Breed Clubs think about this?
96% of National Breed Clubs include statements that their breeders should not and/or do not sell to pet stores. It is only those breeders with something to hide that rely on pet stores to sell their puppies.
How many places have humane pet store laws?
Six states and over 443 localities across the county, including Roseville, Eden Prairie, St. Paul, Carver, and Cloquet, MN, have passed humane pet store laws. Communities are saying "no" to puppy mills and have chosen to follow a humane pet store model instead. For a review of all ordinances passed nationwide, go to: HSUS: Localities Prohibiting Retail Pet Store Puppy Sales
What problem does this ordinance fix?
Commercial dog breeding and the pipeline to pet stores is a very real problem in Blaine:
- Complaints by consumers show sickly puppies purchased from pet stores that were later diagnosed with kennel cough, intestinal issues, and/or congenital issues. Some reported their puppy died shortly after purchase. 100% of the consumer protection problems go away when stores stop selling puppies and switch to a humane model.
- Problematic breeders have supplied puppies to a store in Blaine. Significant research and documentation shows chronic animal welfare citations with these puppy mills. Reports show hundreds of dogs and puppies as "inventory" in some of these kennels.
But what if the pet store appears clean?
The humane pet store ordinance does not address the physical pet store and conditions within the store but rather addresses the underlying inhumane and problematic business model — where the puppies and kittens are obtained and the consequent impact on consumers. Pet stores that place orders with puppy mills for puppies to be resold to unknowing consumers are the distribution outlet for the mills. By ending the sale of puppies and kittens from pet stores, the underlying issue of poor animal treatment and harm to consumers is resolved.
Will people in Blaine still be able to get a pet?
Yes! Under the ordinance, people can continue to adopt from animal shelters and rescues or purchase from a breeder who treats animals humanely and ethically, such as allowing consumers to see where the puppy was bred and raised.
Does local law enforcement already handle this?
This ordinance is not criminal law. Law enforcement gets involved in the investigation of criminal state laws, such as Chapter 343 and Chapter 346, which apply criminal penalties in cases of animal cruelty. Chapters 343 and 346 do not address the sourcing of pet store animals.
What stores does this ordinance target?
The proposed ordinance serves the entire city and reflects community values. Currently, there are 6 pet stores in Blaine, 5 of which have chosen not to sell puppies - they follow a humane model. The one business in Blaine that has chosen to keep buying puppies from puppy mills can shift to the humane model the others successfully employ. This ordinance doesn’t target a business, it protects consumers and animals.
Don't these pet stores just give out names of breeders if asked?
Pet stores that sell puppies give out information to consumers only after the person has purchased the puppy. We also have documentation of false/nonexistent breeder information being provided to consumers upon purchase. Even if a breeder’s name is provided, it is difficult for a consumer to learn about the breeder or to visit the facility; the consumer is left uniformed about the purchase.
Aren't breeders licensed and inspected?
Under the federal Animal Welfare Act, all breeders selling to pet stores must be licensed and inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture. However, even if a breeder is in perfect compliance with federal law, the law allows them to keep their dogs in stacked wire cages that are only 6 inches larger than the dog’s body, among other equally egregiously low standards. Also, in the past years the USDA switched from enforcing the Animal Welfare Act to an education policy, where commercial dog and cat breeders are now treated as customers. In the past seven years, violations cited in inspection reports plummeted from 1,994 in 2014 to 154 in 2020.
One pet store says they don't buy from puppy mills. What is the truth?
Some pet stores claim they do not buy from puppy mills. This is about marketing for these stores — misleading consumers by hiding information about the breeding kennels, size, and conditions. Import and export records between pet stores and brokers or pet stores and breeders show who sells to whom. Consumer agreements also document these transactions. These records and agreements show breeding kennels with 300, 500, or even over 1,000 dogs and puppies all for mass production of puppies.
Why not make the stores give more information about the breeders?
Transparency is always good. But transparency alone does not solve the underling problem. The fact remains: the majority of puppies sold in pet stores come from mills, which are intensive breeding facilities where there is little concern for the health and well-being of the animals. Families who purchase animals from these pet stores are often burdened with pet health problems that can cost thousands of dollars in veterinary cities or lead to a lifetime of medical complications.
What impact will this ordinance have?
In addition to positive impacts on consumers, ending the pet store sale of puppy mill puppies impacts puppy mills via the supply-demand dynamic. Fewer orders of puppies placed with mills means less production of mill puppies to fill the orders. As ordinances are passed, the puppy mill demand decreases because consumers choose to go to responsible breeders or to rescue groups/shelters.
Who are the coalition and supporters helping to lead efforts?
Many residents of Blaine support this proposed ordinance. Hometown hockey hero David Backes and wife Kelly also support this ordinance and the protection of animals, as do many animal welfare organizations: Animal Folks; Animal Humane Society; Animal Rights Coalition; Humane Society of the United States; and Minnesotans Against Puppy Mills.
Where can I find more information about puppy mills and pet stores?
Learn more at the websites below:
Humane Society of the United States
Animal Rights Coalition
Includes information on protests.