As two 16-year-old volunteers with Seattle Humane (SH), animal welfare has always been close to our hearts. Seeing the fantastic partnership between SH and retail stores such as PetSmart (Bellevue) and Petco (Factoria), has taught us that there is a better way for pet stores to operate.
The retail pet ban would ensure that no dog or cat has to suffer the horrors of an animal mill, mandating that pet stores source either from a shelter or rescue group. It seems straightforward, instinctive even for lovers of animals statewide, yet it failed to make it out of its committee in the last legislative session. We are here to change that.
In January 2020, both Senate Bill 5209 and House Bill 1640 will once again be up for discussion in the Washington state legislature, and it is imperative that they are not simply set aside once more.
Puppy and kitten mills are large-scale breeding operations in which neither the animals’ emotional nor physical well-being is considered. While they are banned in Washington, thousands of mill-bred puppies and kittens make it into state pet stores nonetheless from out of state. These bills, however, have the power to block them completely.
California already passed its own statewide retail pet ban in 2017. Maryland followed with its No More Puppy and Kitten Mills Act of 2018. Now, it is well past the time for Washington state to follow suit.
Passing either one of these bills will take the willpower of constituents and a passion for animal welfare in the community, neither of which is lacking. All it takes is one email to your Washington state representative. Let them know their communities care about these innocent animals, and they will not rest until these bills are passed. A few clicks have the power to save lives.
Novia Liu and Ava Finn