You can help kill puppy mills

Nathan Winograd, a highly regarded animal advocate who leads the No-Kill Advocacy Center, tells me the Pennsylvania Senate has a bill that could cut the heart of the state’s misery-inducing puppy mills.

Victoria’s suffering is over. (Photo: Courtesy Nathan Winograd)

I’ll let him speak here:

“Legislation introduced in Pennsylvania would make it illegal for retail stores to sell commercially-bred puppies, kittens, and rabbits. If passed, the state would join roughly 400 cities nationwide and two other states — California (whose ban also includes rabbits) and Maryland — which have done the same.”

By “commercially-bred,” Nathan means puppy mills, which supply most pet shops.

If you don’t know, puppy mills are, in essence,  inhumane “factories” for the mass production of dogs, caging female dogs, keeping them pregnant in perpetuity. They are disgusting, and the puppies — the “product” — delivered to the pet shops often are not healthy.

Sadly, Pennsylvania is a leading state for puppy mills, most of which are located in our back yard — Lancaster County. 

If pet shops were banned from selling animals from puppy mills, would they be put out of business?

Not at all.

What they would do is partner with shelters, such as ACCT Philly or the Pennsylvania SPCA, which always have dogs for adoption, or with local rescue groups, which also have dogs for adoption — cats, too. 

The Pennsylvania bill, Senate Bill 234, is called Victoria’s Law, in the name of a German Shepherd who gave birth to — hold on to something — 150 puppies before she was rescued from the mill.

Can you imagine that? 150 puppies!

Victoria had a genetic disease, which eventually left her paralyzed and in need of being humanely euthanized, and — unbeknownst to unsuspecting consumers — passed that disease to her offspring.

“Although Pennsylvania animal lovers have tried before, this time they are optimistic, even though past efforts have stalled, noting legislation takes an average of six years to become law from when it’s first proposed,” says Winograd.

If you live in Pennsylvania, please make your voice heard by contacting your state senator and ask them to cosponsor and vote Yes on SB 234, Victoria’s Law. This is how to find your state senator. Tip: The email address is usually the senator’s last name (at)

A couple more animal issues:

[] While SB 234 is in the hopper, animal advocates are asking lawmakers to increase the price of a dog license for the first time in 24 years to increase funds for the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, the department charged with inspecting the previously mentioned commercial breeding operations. The increase would be from $6.50 to $10. The trick, of course, is enforcement, which is practically non-existent. 

[] After years of struggle, ACCT Philly is reporting a 92% live-release for animals in the city shelter. The story reports ACCT Philly accomplished that despite a $890,000 funding cut due to the pandemic. 

I have been following the animal shelter since my October 2004 expose blew up what was then called PACCA, with its 20% save rate, and abusive treatment of animals. 

It’s taken 16 years, and it still has some problems, but the agency has achieved what some regard as functionally no-kill status. Some, but not the previously mentioned Nathan Winograd. I side with his idea that the only animals to not be adopted out are those too sick, or with intractable behavior problems.

24 thoughts on “You can help kill puppy mills”

  1. Stu, I will be contacting my state reps right after posting this. As you said, hopefully it will become law this time.

    YOU ! my pallie are always doing good work ! Thank you for taking point !
    Victoria’s law. The State Representative and our U.S. Senator ( who shall rename nameless ) publish monthly news letters. This law has been in the works for quite some time. In various forms of legislation, the Commonwealth has in fact been shutting down these puppy mills for quite a few years. Counties and Townships have had there own enforcement – such that it was.
    Sorry to say. This and other “money making schemes” gives capitalism a black eye.
    footnote: a few years back. Out here in Lancaster County, a farmer knew a raid was about to take place on his farm ( puppy mill ). He shot all of his dogs and was burying them when the law showed up. It was all legal. Nothing came of it, other than a mill went out of business.

      1. unfortunately pallie. those that I’m addressing only believe in justice being distributed by the almighty. For too many year, they were given a free pass on just about everything !

  3. Thank you for this informative article. I know too many people who go to pet stores to purchase a cat or dog and have a poor animal that is not properly weaned from its caged mother. This leads to all kinds of physical and mental problems for the mammal. Unfortunately in our society we have cats who are never permitted outside to get fresh air and dogs who never get to run in fields. We are so cruel but believe we are so kind to animals.

    1. Cats should only be allowed outside either in a cat condo or on a leash. Cats should never be allowed to roam free outdoors.

  4. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    Considering closely the mistreatment of animals is good for the soul. It tells us something of the cruelty people are capable of when there is a bit of profit involved and they think they can get away with it –and the legislature is long silent. We see the lack of conscience close up and in dramatic terms.

    To draw out the analogy: What cruelties are insider elites capable of, when they are insulated within great institutions (public or private) and there is no public scrutiny or accountability?

    H.G. Callaway

    1. I shudder to think what they do in the dark. The symbol of my first newspaper was a lighthouse..
      That was the World-Telegram published by Scripps Howard. The motto,was something like “Give the people lifht and they will see.” WaPo uses a motto about light.

  5. The only time I ever saw my dad cry was when he buried his dog, Honey. He didn’t even cry when he buried his dad. My father never got over being a POW of the Germans in WWII — something inside of him died in the Stalag and he came home a cold, distant Father. But with Honey he was like a different person. The joke among us kids was Dad loved Honey more than his own kids. Pets reach a place in the heart and touch the soul. If the horrors I’ve heard of in puppy mills is even half true, then the State is shameful in its inaction to outlaw them.

        1. It is funny that you think puppy mills are so terrible when veal calves are treated WORSE.
          Actually, “funny” is not the right word. Thoughtless is better.

          1. I eat veal. I don’t eat puppies. And if YOU eat chicken, it’s borderline hypocrisy. Chickens are treated terribly: their beaks are clipped, and they’ are trapped in hothouses until they’re ready for slaughter. Cattle have a spike driven into their brain, then they’re strung up by their rear legs and have their throats cut to bleed out. We’re carnivores — and there’s no nice way to kill our dinner.

          2. As I explained to Our Frequent Commenter, I was reacting to the cruelty in your snarky comment, especially following your comments about dog abuse.

  6. still HAPPY WEDNESDAY !!!
    a note of clarification here. There’s a bit of humor in there, so lighten up.
    I’m surprised that you went after Vince so hard. I know that you care about animals more than you care about most people. So do I.
    In all fairness to Vince ( and me ). We are indeed carnivores ! We eat just about anything that is put in front of us. Most people are clueless as to where their food comes from, how it is raised, slaughtered, butchered, shipped or anything else. You may have seen the cartoon about our congresswoman from New York. AOC seems to think that our food comes from a grocery store.
    If you come out here again, pallie, I’ll take you to some working farms – including the newer version of puppy mills. There, you will see how our dinner is raised and all else that happens on a farm. Chickens, are indeed raised in huge houses. 10,000 would be an average number. They don’t get room to roam. They get fed and at the ripe age of weeks, they get slaughtered. Laying hens have it a bit better. As long as they produce, they live. Then they make it to the dinner table. Veal calves are just that. When the herds start dropping calves, only a few males are kept. The rest get sold off or turned into food. They too only have a short life span. Milk fed, caged, slaughtered. Next !
    Is what a farmer doing inhumane ? No! Because he isn’t locking up people. If we ate people, then maybe it would be done the same way.
    Get over yourself Stu. It’s a fact of life. Accept what you can’t change.
    Next. I’ll tell you how the hops are killed to make good bourbon ! Don’t even think about the poor grapes…..

    1. You missed the point. I was reacting to Vince’s callus snark, not meat eating.
      Unlike AOC, I damn well know where food comes from — all too often disgusting factory farms — that’s why I don’t eat pork and feel guilty about eating chickens.

      1. HAPPY THURSDAY !!!
        Reading you going after Mr. Snark, is why I wrote my reply. As usual, I just go off on another tangent.
        As for pork. I would think that you had another reason not to eat it. Chickens. Buy “free range. Mine are out scrounging for insect more than in their cage. There are farms that specialize in organic, free range everything. Just costs a bit more.

          1. you need to change stores. farms are all around you, every county but Philly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *