The Delaware Valley is home to two kennels listed on the Humane Society of the United States horrible 100 puppy mills.

The HSUS says 10,000 puppy mills are active, with 500,000 dogs kept solely for breeding. Once their useful lives are over, those dogs are often killed or abandoned. Some 2.6 million puppies sold each year come from puppy mills.

But state Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Bucks/Montgomery) wants to take a bite out of the puppy mill business through Victoria’s Law. It would ban pet stores from buying puppies from puppy mills.

Pennycuick, who introduced the bill in 2021 when she was a state representative, is now backing the legislation in the legislature’s upper chamber. She previously said Victoria’s Law would help ensure that reputable breeders can continue operating but would end “the deplorable conditions, overbreeding, and perpetuation of poor health traits for which puppy mills have become known.”

Pennycuick said recently, “I still have Victoria’s Law and will possibly introduce it in the fall.”

“I am also sponsoring a predatory financing bill so pet stores cannot charge up to 151 percent financing of a dog or cat,” said Pennycuick. “People who need to finance a dog or cat often cannot afford the vet bills required to care for a pet. Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver) has a bill that would rework some of the current dog laws to bring the costs in line with today’s cost of living. This would allow for more inspectors for kennels.”

Grace Kelly Herbert, president of Finding Shelter Animal Rescue, had owned Victoria, a German Shepherd bred for 10 years by a puppy mill and passed down a genetic disorder to more than 100 puppies.

“This is something we have to fix,” said Herbert. “I am so thankful for every single legislator who is stepping up.”

The annual HSUS Horrible 100 report seeks to increase awareness of puppy mills and to stop buyers from purchasing dogs bred there, where there are diseases, a lack of sanitation and food, and mistreatment of the animals.

“In puppy mills, mother dogs spend their entire lives in cramped cages with little personal attention. When the mother and father dogs can no longer breed, they are abandoned or killed. Due to poor sanitation, overbreeding, and a lack of preventive veterinary care, the puppies frequently suffer from various health issues, creating heartbreaking challenges for families who should be enjoying the delights of adopting a new family member.”

Neither Blissful Paws in New Providence nor Woodland Puppies in Honey Brook, listed in the HSUS report, could be reached for comment.

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