WA lawmakers discuss bill to ban for-profit pet sales at retail stores

OLYMPIA, Wash. — House Bill 1424 would make it illegal for retail pet stores to sell or offer dogs and cats for profit.

If a retail pet store showcases dogs or cats, it would only be allowed through collaboration “with an animal care and control agency, or animal rescue group,” according to the bill.

The bill would also disallow retail pet stores from financing “or make a loan for the purchase of a dog or cat,” according to the bill.

KIRO 7′s Jesse Jones previously spoke with Millie Hill, a woman who bought a chihuahua from ‘Puppyland’ in Puyallup.

Hill’s chihuahua was originally listed at $4,600, but additional fees and taxes increased the price by about $1,000.

Hill said she chose to finance her puppy but didn’t realize how high the interest rates were until it was too late. (One of her two loans had a 128% interest rate.)

The final price tag for her chihuahua was $14,185.18.

Rep. April Berg (D - Mill Creek) is sponsoring HB 1424. She spoke in front of the House Consumer Protection and Business Committee on Friday.

“House Bill 1424 is an answer to the heartbreaking stories of families being left in thousands of dollars in debt,” Rep. Berg said on Friday.

Berg also previously stated HB 1424′s intention was to end the puppy-mill-to-pet-store pipeline.

“We know that puppies are coming into Washington from out-of-state-puppy mills and being sold to consumers who are not informed of their origin,” Rep. Berg stated. “My concern is with lifelong health effects caused by inhumane and unhealthy breeding practices at puppy mills that not only hurts animals, but causes a financial and emotional burn to people who sought a healthy, happy companion and were lured into veterinary bills and heartache.”

During a public hearing, several voiced their concerns with HB 1424, including Puppyland owner Kayla Kerr.

“Puppyland in Puyallup has worked with Pierce County to implement higher standards. And we only acquire puppies from breeders that meet Washington state rules and regulations,” Kerr said to the committee on Friday. “We do not get puppies from facilities that provide minimal care to their animals.”

Others argued the bill would harm consumers and leave fewer options for anyone to find their ideal pet.

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