Jamaica Plain City Councilor Matt O’Malley introduced an ordinance nicknamed the “Puppy Mill Bill” on Feb. 22 that would ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores in Boston, according to a press release.
O’Malley introduced the ordinance at the MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center in JP.
The ordinance would not affect a consumer’s ability to obtain a dog, cat, or rabbit directly from a shelter, rescue organization, or breeder.
The bill aims to prevent the sale of puppies and kittens from large-scale breeding facilities that may have violations against the federal Animal Welfare Act. Nearby facilities such as Just Pups in Tyngsboro and Laughlin Kennels in Oxford have been under investigation for animal cruelty, according to the press release. Common violations of the Animal Welfare Act include minimal to non-existent veterinary care; lack of adequate and nutritious food, water, and shelter; lack of socialization; lack of adequate space; and lack of adequate exercise.
“I am proud to introduce this ordinance that will not only protect animals, but seeks to prevent financial and emotional costs to the city and its residents, and demonstrate that it is important for Boston to foster a more humane environment in the city,” said O’Malley, according to the press release.
While there is only one pet store in Boston that sells rabbits, The Pet Shop in Brighton, the bill is designed to prevent any other stores from doing the same.
“We have seen a sharp increase in the number of rabbits surrendered to our Boston adoption center—a 50 percent rise in the last year alone—due in part to continued rabbit sales in pet stores, too many of which end up homeless,” said Laura Hagen, deputy director of advocacy at MSPCA-Angell, according to the press release. “We applaud this legislation and urge the City to pass it without delay.”
The bill also prevents animal sales in public parks and on City streets.
O’Malley announced his bill with representatives from the ASPCA, Humane Society of the United States, Animal Rescue League of Boston and Best Friends Animal Society.
[This article has been updated.]