One by one, local animal advocates have been fighting to change local and state laws aimed at puppy mills and the pet stores that sell dogs and cats. Now, that fight is going national as grassroots groups form a coalition to better mobilize their cause through National Puppy Mill Project.
National Puppy Mill Project has been founded by Cari Meyers, who also founded The Puppy Mill Project. With the help and expertise of the group’s executive director Betty Stebbins, the national organization has now become a reality. The Puppy Mill Project is the Chicago-based advocacy group behind the changes in Chicago’s pet store laws, is launching the group.
“We want to put a national face on what we are trying to do currently on a state by state basis,” says Cari Meyers, founder of both organizations. “These grassroots groups across the country all want the same thing – to close down puppy mills. National Puppy Mill Project will enable us to share what we’ve learned – how to protest and how to change laws – so that we can accomplish our goal.”
The Puppy Mill Project worked behind the scenes for two years with Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza to pass the Chicago Companion Animal and Consumer Protection Act. The measure outlaws the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats – puppy mill and kitten mill pets – in the city’s pet stores. Meyers’ group also worked with Cook County John Fritchey to pass a similar county measure.
Along with working on laws that change how pet stores do business, The Puppy Mill Project has worked with pet stores to go humane by switching to an adoption model. The group also stages informational protests and has age-appropriate educational programs that they present in the community. Like other grassroots groups in the fight against puppy mills, they’ve learned a lot along the way.
“Can you image what can be accomplished if we all work together to change the laws across the country and to educate pet lovers?” adds Meyers. “National Puppy Mill Project will act as a clearing house of information so that we can empower more advocates with what we’ve learned so far. So, if someone in Nevada wants to know what Virginia is doing and what is working or not working in this fight they will be able to access this information easily.”
The battle against puppy mills and pet stores has varied from state to state. Some states – Missouri, Iowa, Indiana and Ohio – are home to many of the puppy mills that crank out pets to be sold in pet stores. Puppy Mills are mass breeding operations that put profit over the well being of the dogs in their care. In those states, the focus has been shutting down the mills.
Many of the puppies produced in these states are sold in more populated areas like Illinois, California and Florida. In those states, the focus has been on outlawing the sale of puppy mill dogs and kitten mill cats in pet stores. Over 50 communities in North America have passed legislation that outlaws the sale of puppy mill dogs in pet stores. More communities are considering similar laws.
“Instead of battling for resources and splintering our efforts, we will be able to work together to outlaw puppy mills around the country,” adds Meyers. “Our strategy is to form this national coalition to unite efforts, collaborate and organize for collective power. Since our website went live last week, we’re already seeing a lot of support for National Puppy Mill Project.”
Meyers launched The Puppy Mill Project in 2009 and started working to launch a national group to fight puppy mills at that time. Go online to learn more, to take action against, to donate or to volunteer. Join National Puppy Mill Project here.
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