Renton City Council unanimously passes puppy mill ordinance

Puppyland owners say they will have to close, threaten legal action against the city.

The Renton City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that prohibits dogs sourced from puppy mills from being sold within the city.

The July 11 passage of the ordinance came after public outcry and protest regarding a pet dealer in town called Puppyland, which animal rights groups have previously accused of sourcing their dog inventory from out-of-state puppy mills that put a high quantity of animals in close proximity — allegedly putting them in inhumane conditions that can make them prone to illness.

“Puppy mills exploit innocent animals by forcing dogs to breed continuously and then ignoring their medical, social and physical needs,” said Ashly Dale, director of the anti-puppy mill group Bailing Out Benji in previous reports by the Renton Reporter.

Dale said the puppies born at these “factory farms” are taken from their mothers as early as four weeks and can carry contagious diseases or suffer from congenital defects due to overbreeding. She also said Puppyland in Renton has been known to lease pets and pin absurdly high interest rates on unknowing pet adopters.

The ordinance as written outlines an affidavit process in which pet sellers would have to attest to the sourcing of the pet they are selling with the intent to verify that the pet was not sourced from a puppy mill.

The ordinance will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023, giving business the rest of year to comply.

Here is a statement regarding the passage of the ordinance from the owners of Puppyland in Renton, Kayla and Justin Kerr:

We are very disappointed with the vote on this ordinance which was passed without any statistics that could justify targeting and shutting down a single retail store, putting 20+ people out of work. Our top priority is the health of our puppies as well as the care and love they receive while they are with breeders, in Puppyland, and at home with a new family. This is the type of love, respect, accountability, and responsible animal care that should be lauded and sought after. Instead, Puppyland is being specifically targeted by a local government without transparency and without sufficient justification to support such government action. Without access to a responsible company like ours, people will turn to places like craigslist, vans in parking lots, and inevitably some place not as reputable and likely operating without oversight. People want their choice of dogs. Removing a safe and monitored pet store from the equation will lead to an increase in black market dogs. The City does not appear to have carefully evaluated the downstream impacts of such a targeted Ordinance that will likely cause more damage than good.

The owners claimed that the health and care of puppies at their facility is their top priority as a business.

They also said that despite signing up to give public comment at the meeting and raising their hand to do so, they claimed they were ignored and not allowed to speak. The owners of the business said they are considering legal action against the City of Renton.