Killion bill takes aim at puppy mills

State Sen. Tom Killion, R-9, paid a visit to GiggyBites in Olde Ridge Village Thursday evening to talk about SB 44, his bill that aims to make pet sales more humane in Pennsylvania. It’s a nonpartisan bill, he said, because Democratic state Sen. Andy Dinniman is a co-sponsor as are 27 other state senators. Killion, however, is the primary sponsor.

“We’ve been trying to get a handle for years to regulate puppy mills,” Killion said. “They’re inhumane. It’s animal cruelty. We’ve made some progress, but not enough. So now we’re going to cut off their market.”

The bill would make it illegal for pet stores to sell animals, specifically dogs, cats and rabbits. He stressed that the bill does not go after legitimate breeders who breed their animals only once per year.

A FAQ sheet on the bill says the law won’t impact good breeders because they don’t sell to pet stores. Proponents also say the law would promote animal welfare, adoption and responsible breeders. A pdf of the full bill may be found here.

If the bill passes and signed into law, it will be named “Victoria’s Law.” Victoria was a German shepherd who was force-bred. She gave birth to an estimated 150-200 puppies during a 10-year span.

According to Kristen Tullo, the Pennsylvania state director of The Humane Society of the United States, Pennsylvania used to be the 36thworst state in the country for animal cruelty but has improved to number 15 over the years. Victoria’s law would make Pennsylvania one of the best states for combatting animal cruelty, she said.

In addition to barring animal sales at pet stores, the bill would also require breeders to advertise their licenses when selling animals, even when done online.

Grace Kelly Herbert, of Finding Shelter Animal Rescue, was part of the group that rescued Victoria in October of 2017. The dog was already ailing and having trouble walking. She said a veterinarian told her that Victoria didn't have long to live, that she suffered from canine degenerative myelopathy, also known as chronic degenerative radiculomyelopathy. It's an incurable, progressive disease of the canine spinal cord that is similar in many ways to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease. So Herbert made a bucket list for her. At the top of the list was for Victoria to become a taste-tester at GiggyBites — a gourmet pet treat shop.

Stephanie Rossino, the owner/operator of GiggyBites said she is proud her shop is part of the process.

Killion and Tullo are urging people to call their state senators to support the bill.

About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



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