Barnegat Ordinance Bans Puppy, Kitten Sales

Mar 14, 2018

Barnegat Township officials aren’t aware of any puppy or kitten mills operating locally, but if there are, an ordinance recently adopted by the township committee would put an end to it. The ordinance will ban the sale of puppies and kittens in the township, noting that “a significant number of puppies and kitten sold at pet shops come from large-scale commercial breeding facilities where the health and welfare of the animals are not adequately provided.”

“According to the Humane Society of the United States, it is estimated that 10,000 puppy mills produce more than 2.4 million puppies a year in the United States and that most of the pet shop dogs and cats come from puppy mills and kitten mills.”

The ordinance said inhumane conditions at puppy and kitten mill facilities lead to health and behavioral issues in the animals bred in those facilities, which many consumers are unaware of when purchasing animals from pet shops due to both lack of education on the issue and misleading tactics of pet shops in some cases. 

“Prohibiting the retail sale of puppies and kittens is likely to decrease the demand for puppies and kittens bred in puppy and kitten mills, and is likely to increase demand for animals from animal shelters and rescue organizations,” the ordinance said.

The ordinance also noted that according to the New Jersey Department of Health 2016 Animal Intake and Disposition Survey, due in large part to pet over-population, more than 15,000 dogs and cats are euthanized in animal shelters annually.

“Restricting the retail sale of puppies and kittens to only those that are sourced from animal shelters will likely reduce pet overpopulation and thus the burden such agencies and financial costs (place) on local taxpayers.”

The ordinance will not affect a consumer’s ability to obtain a dog or cat directly from a breed-specific rescue organization or shelter, or from a hobby breeder where the consumer can see directly the conditions in which the dogs or cats are bred.

Deputy Mayor Alfonso Cirulli said the township recently received a congratulatory letter from the New Jersey Humane Society for adopting the ordinance.

“The township has been made aware of abuses going on with these puppy and kitten mills, so we felt it was time to take a stand against them,” he said.

— Eric Englund

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