LANSING, Mich., June 22, 2023 — State Rep. Penelope Tsernoglou (D-East Lansing) introduced House Bill 4838 today, which would phase out the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores. This bill would put an end to the puppy-mill-to-petstore pipeline and drive the pet market in Michigan toward more humane sources, like shelters, rescues and responsible breeders. 

“My legislation to phase out the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits in pet stores will protect animals from inhumane breeding conditions and ensure Michigan consumers are no longer duped into buying cruelly bred, sick or genetically disordered pets,” Tsernoglou said. “Pet stores routinely rely on inhumane breeding practices to procure dogs, cats and rabbits. It’s against the values of our pet-loving state to let this continue. I am calling on Michigan pet lovers to support this important transition to a humane business model for all pet stores statewide.”

Public records show that Michigan pet stores sell puppies from massive, inhumane breeding facilities. In the last two years, Michigan pet stores have bought puppies from puppy mills that were cited for filthy, feces-filled conditions; denying veterinary care to dogs with open, gaping wounds; and allowing dogs to kill an entire litter of puppies in their enclosure. 

Meanwhile, Michigan shelters have faced a crisis of overcrowding. Michigan counties spend millions of taxpayer dollars annually on animal control services, including sheltering, euthanasia of unwanted animals, and in some cases spay/neuter assistance.

“We applaud Rep. Tsernoglou for introducing this humane pet store bill to shut down the puppy-mill-to-petstore pipeline in Michigan once and for all,” said Blake Goodman, Michigan state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “This policy will ensure that mother dogs are no longer treated like breeding machines so their puppies can be sold to unsuspecting Michigan consumers.”

Michigan is one of the top 10 states for pet store consumer complaints to the Humane Society of the United States. Consumers report spending thousands of dollars on pet store puppies, deceptive sales tactics and ending up with sick (sometimes dying) puppies requiring expensive veterinary care. Some customers were convinced to finance their puppies only to end up with undisclosed, shockingly high interest rates. 

Michigan would join Illinois, New York, Maryland, Maine, Washington and California in enacting this humane policy. This bill mirrors local pet store ordinances in Ann Arbor, Eastpointe, Fraser, New Baltimore, Royal Oak, Harbor Springs, St. Clair Shores and Woodhaven.

With pets of all breeds, sizes and temperaments available for adoption through Michigan shelters and rescues, and a wide network of responsible breeders who treat their pets like family and only sell directly to the public, consumers have many cruelty-free options for purchasing or adopting pets.