Bill Would Penalize Stores For Selling Animals From Abusive Backgrounds

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In an effort to keep pet stores in Davidson County from selling abused dogs and cats, a bill was submitted in Metro Council to penalize those dealing with questionable breeders.

Submitted on Tuesday, the bill's sponsor, metro council member Kathleen Murphy, said she hopes the bill will increase the number of adopted strays and rescues.

"It encourages people to find homes for homeless pets and really research their animal and their loved one where it comes into their house," said Murphy.

The bill imposes a $50 per pet, per day violation for pet owners who put animals for sale from known puppy mills.

Also, pet stores would be required to post where each pet comes from so that buyers would know more details about their pet's origin and upbringing. That's a big deal according to some working for animal rescue groups.

"Typically the quality of life from the beginning of a puppy mill is going to be negative," said Olivia Gardner, kennel assistant at VCA Animal Hospital, the sister business to Love At First Sight.

"From my experience, I've never seen anything good come out of puppy mills. I've worked with rescues that have had a few dogs from puppy mills. Not only is their physical appearance different, but it's also mental. It stays with them," said Gardner.

In her seven years working with pets and rescue groups, Gardner said she has seen physical deformities in pets from abusive breeders. Often times, pets who survive the mills and are sold in stores show behavioral issues that don't appear until later in life.

"Being in a small cage for a long period of your life can effect their mental state, their physical, a lot of them can go blind, even deaf from the different experiences and the traumatic experiences while they're in puppy mills," she said.

The bill has only passed it's first reading. Much could change about the details during the committee process in the council.

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