New bills aim to prevent Michigan pet stores from selling puppy mill dogs, creates higher standards

Minimum age to place puppies up for adoption would be set

LANSING, Mich. – New bills introduced Wednesday in Michigan would prevent pet stores from acquiring puppies from unregulated breeders, or puppy mills, and would create higher standards that stores must adhere to.

State Rep. Hank Vaupel, who has been a veterinarian for more than 40 years, created the plan, and it has been approved by the House Agriculture Committee.

In addition to preventing pet stores from getting dogs from unregulated breeders, a minimum age at which puppies can be placed up for adoption would be set, all dogs would need a certified health certificate from a licensed veterinarian, and dogs would be required to be vaccinated and have microchips implanted.

House Bills 5916-17 would also require breeders to supply their U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports to pet stores.

“This plan will help ensure only reputable pet stores and breeders will be allowed to operate in Michigan. Unscrupulous breeders and stores that don’t look out for the safety of their pets have no business in our communities, and this legislation makes that clear," Vaupel said.

Vaupel also noted that, under the new legislation, any major violations within the past two years would make it impossible for a breeder to sell animals to a Michigan pet store.

The bills would also provide protections for responsible local breeders and pet stores that are committed to pet safety, according to Vaupel.

“We must recognize the responsible breeders and local store owners who pour their hearts and souls into building safe and humane facilities, employ dozens of people and are ingrained in the fabric of local communities across our state,” Vaupel said. “Governmental entities should not be allowed to enact overbearing regulations for the sole purpose of putting reputable pet shops out of business.”

Despite Vaupel's stance, the bill has faced heavy opposition. Many believe that, if passed, local governments would lose the ability to regulate pet stores, putting animals in danger.

The bills now move on to the full House for consideration.