YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) — The need for action? As great as ever, say supporters. But that’s also why they’re optimistic that this time, an anti-puppy mill bill will become Pennsylvania law after previous attempts stalled.
This time, the legislation — filed today — is called “Victoria’s Law,” named for a German shepherd whose adoptive mother, Grace Kelly Herbert, says gave birth to more than 150 puppies during her time at a mill. Kelly Herbert says Victoria had a genetic disease, which eventually left her paralyzed and in need of being humanely euthanized, and — unbeknownst to unsuspecting consumers — would have passed that disease to her offspring.
Kelly Herbert, president of the Finding Shelter Animal Rescue, spoke Wednesday at the York County SPCA, at an event to promote Victoria’s Law. The bill is sponsored by State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York County) and State Sen. Lisa Boscola (D-Bethlehem) and has dozens of co-sponsors from both parties.
Phillips-Hill said she’s optimistic, even though past efforts have stalled, noting legislation takes an average of six years to become law from when it’s first proposed. She cited the widespread bipartisan support and the fact that the issue is in the forefront, with pet adoptions and sales having risen during the pandemic.
“This has been building momentum as more people come forward and tell stories about Victoria and Pippa,” Phillips-Hill said, referring to another of Kelly Herbert’s rescued dogs, who came from the same mill as Victoria and who was with Kelly Herbert at the event.
The law would work primarily by restricting the sale of dogs, cats and rabbits at pet stores, which are where “mill” animals often go. Breeders who meet the families where their dogs will live and sell directly to those families — although sometimes criticized by animal rights activists — would remain legal.
Even now, before the bill could become law, Phillips-Hill — who is the adoptive mother of rescue cats — says the public can help.
“Please, if you can, adopt, don’t shop,” she said. “And if you do shop, please make sure that you purchase a dog or a cat from a responsible breeder.”
After all, law or no law, the mills can only sell dogs if someone is willing to buy them.