ONE STEP FORWARD – – THREE STEPS BACK

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There are currently two bills at the capitol – House Bill 2149 and Senate Bill 950.  For those of us in rescue – – – those who want Oklahoma to be a Humane State for dogs and cats – – and concerned pet owners – – – neither bill is good.  

Here are some of my basic concerns.

We are making progress as it relates to pet over-population.  One factor is the adoption events held at pet stores such as PetSmart and PetCo.  Rescues and municipal shelters can be registered to have an adoption event and the outcomes are positive.  Dogs and cats are adopted – which eases overcrowding in municipal shelters. PetSmart and PetCo statements: 

* PetSmart: At PetSmart, we never sell dogs or cats. Together with PetSmart Charities, we help save over 1,300 pets every day through adoption.

* Petco: We encourage anyone looking to add a new pet to their family to consider adopting a homeless animal, rather than purchasing one… Petco and the Petco Foundation partner with thousands of local animal welfare groups across the country and, through in-store adoption events, help find homes for more than 400,000 animals every year.

Pet stores that have dogs and cats for sale generally acquire them from organizations with little or no oversite as to source.  This provides a revenue stream for puppies coming out of puppy mill farms.  Section 9 is the most troubling: Noncommercial breeders can supply dogs to pet stores for resale.  

Animal rescue organizations have stated a goal of a Humane State for dogs and cats by 2025.  We are working together to reduce the number of homeless dogs and cats through innovative transfer programs, affordable and available spay/neuter programs and adoption events at pet stores and retail establishments.   Passage of this bill hinders our progress and results in the continued over supply of dogs and cats in Oklahoma. We can set the standard for animal rescue – – and it starts with this bill not becoming “law”.