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Senate bill addressing pet store bans, breeding standards gains support from organizations

The bill originally drew criticism from animal welfare organizations like the Indiana Council for Animal Welfare but they now support the bill due to amendments that passed in Senate.
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Posted at 10:57 PM, Mar 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-20 22:57:47-04

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill addressing pet store bans and breeding standards that originally drew criticism from animal welfare organizations has now gained support due to amendments that passed in Senate.

Senate bill 134 originally would have not allowed for cities and towns to ban the retail sale of pets at all but the bill was changed in the senate.

One of the amendments would grandfather in communities that have had a ban on the retail sale of pets since before January 1st of this year. Cities like Bloomington, who have had a ban in affect for a while wouldn't be impacted.

Another amendment would require that pet stores have standards when buying pets from breeders. However, the Indianapolis ban that passed earlier this month would not be allowed to go in to effect since it was enacted before January 1st of 2023.

Those breeders would have to be certified by a national science-based breeder standards program. It would also require pet stores to share information about the breeder with the consumers, so they know where the dog comes from.

Another amendment would require that pet stores provide remedies to customers who have purchased a dog from them that isn't healthy. With a note from their vet a customer could be refunded for the dog, be eligible to get a different dog, or have the vet bills paid for by the retailer among other things.

These changes have some animal groups now supporting the bill.

"A breeder who is a sub-standard breeder will not meet the requirements needed to sell to the pet store,” Jonathan Lawler with the Indiana Council for Animal Welfare said. “The burden falls on the pet store; the pet store will be the one in violation of purchasing from a breeder that does not meet those standards. “

Other animal advocacy groups say this bill is bad for the welfare of animals. They say this legislation is something Pet Land, a well known pet store, has been pushing in six other states. They feel this bill will embolden puppy mills if it passes.

"Those standards would largely go unenforced,” Indiana State Director for the Humane Society of the United States Samantha Chapman said. “The state board of animal health does not regulate pet stores and we know that our local communities don't have the knowledge or the expertise, nor the time to be able to actually regulate these standards.”

The Humane society also feels that this bill is taking away local control for local communities to make the best decision they feel is necessary for their community.

Senate bill 134 passed out of the Senate amended but the committee didn’t take a vote on the bill today due to several people wanting to testify.

The committee will likely take it up for a vote next week. If it passes out of committee it heads to the full house for a vote. If it passes out of the house it heads to the Governor’s desk.