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Statehouse bill draws concern from animal advocacy groups

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Posted at 6:31 PM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 18:37:01-05

INDIANAPOLIS – A bill filed in both the Indiana house and the senate would allow pet stores to buy and sell dogs and cats from USDA breeders. It would also block local bans that exist in cities like Bloomington and Carmel.

"The Indiana council for animal welfare believes that standards need to be put in to place. Consumer protections need to be put in to place and neither one of these bills do that," Jonathan Lawler the Spokesman for the Indiana Council for Animal Welfare said.

All of the breeders that ICAW works with are what’s called Canine Care Certifiedmeaning they hold themselves to a higher standard. They genetically test all the dogs to make sure they are healthy and not passing on any defects to their liters, which is just one thing they do to set themselves apart. ICAW says both these bills will allow pet stores to buy from breeders who don't have the animal’s well-being in mind.

"That's basically saying that they (pet stores) can purchase from anybody that is USD licensed and a USD license it not that hard to get," Lawler said.

The bills that ICAW are concerned about are House Bill 1121and Senate Bill 134. Senate Bill 134 is being carried by Blake Doriot a republican representing district 12. He disagrees with ICAW. He says his goal with this bill is to hold breeders to a higher standard.

“I have gone around and visited probably close to a dozen kennels,” Senator Doriot said. “I’ve just stopped in to see how they're doing, and most of them are doing fantastic jobs. “They are not the dog in the Kennel we see on television you know that is totally being abused. There are some that do that, and I want them gone. “

Along with allowing pet stores to buy from breeders that are USDA certified it would also stop local communities from banning the retail sale of pets.

“My goal entirely is to allow people to have a place to buy quality animals and to keep localities from just randomly keeping pet stores from being in their cities,” Senator Doriot said. “People should be allowed to have a business and people be allowed to have a good place where they can go and buy a quality well raised puppy or dog.”

Breeders like John Troyer who has been a dog breeder for 25 years and runs Canine Care Certified facility feels a bill like this could create an uneven playing field for breeders.

"There are still some that do the minimum standards and they are undercutting everybody and then it brings the average (price) down to where it's just not a fair playing field,” Troyer said. “That's what I think is going to be created. I want to see the standards go up. “

The Indiana Council for Animal Welfare agrees with the portion of the bill that would stop local communities from banning the sale of dogs and cats at pet stores. They say this causes more people to find pets online which is an unregulated market. Both these bills have been assigned to committees where they are waiting for a hearing.