Puppy mill bills drawing concern from Indiana animal rights groups

Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 7:20 PM EST
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - A bill authored in both the Indiana House and the Senate is causing concern for animal right’s advocates across the state.

House Bill 1121 and Senate Bill 134 would block local governments from banning pet stores from selling what they call “companion animals.”

Indiana Director of The Humane Society of The United States Samantha Morton says the bills would give pet store the ability to buy and sell cats and dogs from commercial breeders.

Morton says it would ultimately open the door into supporting what they call puppy mills. She says they define a puppy mill as an inhumane, large scale, commercial breeding operation.

According to data from the USDA in 2020, there are more than 400 commercial breeding facilities in Indiana. Out of those, at least 20 are located in Allen County. A map from the organization called Bailing Out Benji shows data from across the country.

There are 13 counties in Indiana with bans on these sales already, causing many pet stores to partner with local humane societies to adopt animals in their facilities. If these bills were to pass, local governments would no longer be able to create these bans.

Morton says, often times, pets from puppy mills are sick or malnourished. She says they’re hoping to lobby against these bills and maybe one day they’re hoping to ban puppy mills altogether.

21Alive’s team reached out to the authors of the two bills for comment. Representative Mike Alyesworth says he didn’t want to comment until a hearing is held where the public has a chance to testify. Senator Blake Doriot says he was not available for comment but is available on another day.