A bill requiring new pet stores to sell only animals obtained from shelters and other rescue organizations, proposed by Senator Raymond Lesniak, was passed by the State Senate and is now heading to the Assembly. The bill is a step towards putting an end to "puppy mills".

Lesniak said

These puppy mills have gained a notorious reputation for putting profits ahead of the humane treatment of dogs and cats. Their mass breeding has created inbred health and behavioral problems and the inhumane conditions have left too many of these pets to suffer from neglect and mistreatment.”

The bill is a revision of the New Jersey Pet Protection Act, and would be applied to any new pet store licensed after January 12th. It would also prevent shelters, pounds and rescue organizations from purchasing dogs or cats from breeders or brokers. It also requires rescue organizations to be licensed in the town in which they are located.

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Opponents say the bill will make it difficult for any new store to open and weakens a current pet protection law.

Mike Bober, president and CEO of the Washington-based Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, said

Responsible pet ownership begins with finding the ideal companion for your specific circumstances. While current pet stores would continue to operate under the most comprehensive set of sourcing, signage and warranty regulations in the country, new stores will be prohibited unless they are willing to provide warranties on dogs from unknown origins. This is not in the best interest of New Jersey consumers or their beloved companion animals as it limits pet choice and removes current protections."