Belfast City Council Calls For Lucy’s Law Ban in Northern Ireland

Heart strings across the globe where tugged when the news broke of poor Lucy, the puppy farm breeder dog with a deformed back who was rescued from a puppy farm in Wales.

Lucy, recused.

The good news from that sad story is that it sparked the first countrywide ban in the world. England passed its ban in the summer of 2019 to become affective April Fools’ Day, 2020.


Welsh activists have long hoped a similar ban in Wales could actually pass before England’s went into effect. But often the wheels of law turn slowly. Wales had its public comment period completed last summer and the law will be “laid” sometime in the near future, but the nightmare of BREXIT has put a lot of UK laws on the back burner until they figure out the path forward.

The Wales Parliament has met this month and projected a laying if the law, but not before Spring.


Scotland, too, has started the process. A little bit of a surprise as there were some important players in the animal welfare realm in Scotland that were actually against the law for some perplexing reason. But, speaking of reason, reason prevailed and Scotland is moving forward. Though they not only have a Brexit to contend with, but a growing movement for independence from the UK which has an urgency at the moment.

Northern Ireland

That left Northern Ireland as the only UK member country to not take a position on England’s passage of Lucy’s Law. Calls for action and passage continue to come in. One in August 2019 and now, 1/2020, the Belfast City Council is demanding parliament take action sooner than later.


Links and latest news can be seen in our UK section. Click the details arrow for information.

Maine’s Convoluted Path to Statewide Ban

Maine is the third state In the US to ban puppy mill sales. Fourth in the world after the Australian state of Victoria.

The state allows puppy mill stores that were in operation in May 2019 to continue, but they cannot expand past the number of sales per year of the 2019 level.

Not many puppy stores in Maine. There’s this nightmare, but hopefully the only one. And perhaps protestors will shame them into closing.

LePageBoth houses of Maine’s legislature passed a bill prohibiting the sales of dogs and cats in 2015 while evil Governor Paul LePage sat on the Governor’s chair.

Had he signed the bill or passed it into law without signing, Maine’s would have been the first statewide ban in the world: the first in the US by 2 years (CA passed in late 2017) and beating out the first statewide ban in the world by a few months: Victoria, Australia, passed in the closing days of 2017.

Governors typically have 4 ways of dealing with a bill:

  1. Sign it into law
  2. Pass it into law without signing it
  3. Do nothing: do not sign and do not pass into law (next Gov could sign)
  4. Veto, effectively killing the bill

Monster Governor, Paul LePage, chose Door #3 and the bill languished.

ChrisieOh so reminiscent of (twin brother?) New Jersey Governor Chris Christie choosing Door #4 for his state even after an overwhelming passage in both houses in March of 2017.

In November 2019, a new Governor was elected by the good people of Maine. Gov. Janet Mills also sat on this and many other “no action” bills on her brand new desk for a full year until January 12, 2020, when she opted for Door #2: move the bill to law.

Gov. Janet Mills did not sign the bill, effectively saying she didn’t necessarily approve of the bill, but since it passed both houses she thought it should become public law.

Governor Janet T. Mills passed puppy mill store prohibition into law twelve months after taking office in January 2019.

Another blue state!

Other states are doing the same.

Read about them in Landslide of Statewide Bans if OR, CO, WI, MA, PA, ME, & NY Pass Pending Bills

Fairplay, CO: Ordinance 1, First of 2020

Fairplay, Colorado started the new year off right with the first known ban of the new decade, passed 1/6/2020.

Fairplay is a small town and the ordinance passed easily from an activist asking the council to do it last December. They said “Sure!” and here it is, signed, sealed and delivered. Would that all jurisdictions would go so smoothly.

Wales steps up the pace after BBC doc exposes more animal cruelty at Welsh puppy farms

The current flurry of bans across the UK was triggered by the condition of Lucy, a badly disfigured breeding female uncovered in a Welsh puppy mill.

Changing legislation is not a quick process, and nor should it be.  The correct procedures must be followed to ensure the development of sound, evidence-based, proportionate legislation aimed directly at optimising standards of animal welfare and encouraging responsible animal ownership.

 I have already committed to reviewing the Animal Welfare (Breeding of Dogs)(Wales) Regulations 2014 and also made clear the value I see in banning third party sales of puppies and kittens if a ban could deliver the health and welfare standards I wish to see in Wales. Further urgent action is needed and the following actions have been undertaken this week:


The BBC Wales Investigates documentary, Inside the UK’s Puppy Farm Capital and accompanying clip Wyre Davies is on the trail of the people behind the multi-million pound puppy industryis a blistering video essay on the horrors of puppy farms, mills or large-scale breeding ops, however you wish to call the despicable practice.

BBC Wales Investigates the people behind the multimillion-pound puppy industry. New owners can spend thousands of pounds on dogs, but what’s really going on inside licenced premises? Wyre Davies confronts the breeders, inspectors and vets who should be policing the trade.

BBC Wales Investigates

First year since 2016 where bans will be higher than previous year.

Nearly all years since the breakthrough 2009 passage in South Lake Tahoe that started the movement have had a higher number of bans than the previous year with exceptions in 2011, ’17 & ’18.

2019 broke that trend when Dillon, Colorado passed the 41st ban of 2019, besting 2018’s count by 1. Since, 2 more bans have rolled in before the holiday break.

Average bans per year just bumped to 33

We track average bans per year since the first activist ban targeting a puppy store was passed by the hard work of Dawn Armstrong, then Executive Director of South Lake Tahoe Humane Society, which no longer exists. 1

Dawn and the whole community were disgusted by the puppy store there, Brock’s Pups, run by the Franks family, grandfather and grandson, who also owned Lil’ Pups in Carson City and Pets R Us in Meadowood Mall, Reno.

The day Dawn got the ordinance passed, the language of which is still largely in use to this day, the Franks were lead out of Brocks’ Pups in handcuffs for 1). Drug trafficking to minors for which ol’ man Franks was sent up the river for 6 years; and, 2). Parole violations.

Since that fateful day that started a movement, 364 bans have been passed in total, 41 have been passed in 2019, which just bested the previous year, and our average bans per year popped from 32 to 33.

We do have to note, however, we’re only at 40% of the bans passed in the single year 2016 and at just over 10% of the total bans passed. And so far, with the clock ticking to the end of the year, no statewide bans have yet been passed in 2019.

Good news, though: one COUNTRYWIDE ban passed this year, in England, with 2 more on the way in Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland may join soon, though no action has yet been taken.

1 Dawn Armstrong told us in 2013 when we interviewed her at the start of Puppy Mill Free Reno and our tracking sites Puppy Mill Free US and End Puppy Mills World, that she was able to retire in peace and tranquility now that her work was being duplicated not only all over her home state of California, but was finding passage throughout the US and into Canada.

When Ms. Armstrong left in 2013, Niki Congero was hired as Executive Director. We spoke with her on several occasions regarding animal welfare issues at the lake, but didn’t get a satisfactory response.

Three years later, news broke that Congero had been arrested for embezzlement of the South Lake Tahoe Humane Society, by running up charges to the limit of the credit line of the non-profit. That limit was $60,000. Much of it went to personal expenses, included a gambling jones for which the SLTHS footed the bill.

The organization was not able to recover. The Humane Society of Truckee-Tahoe, a merger in and of itself, absorbed the SLT HS and now runs shelters all around the lake and the nearby High Sierra town of Truckee, California; which, by the way, passed the 124th ban in February 2016.

The first puppy store ban was in 2006, right? Buzzer. Try 1952.

Re-examing puppy mill ban numbers/history

Activists in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have long been honored for having the cajones to pass the first ban on puppy and kitten store sales in the world in 2006.

South Lake Tahoe, California, activist Dawn Armstrong of the local humane society, started a movement when the language used in the 2nd ban in the US was repeated throughout the country and still is to this day with the city name as fill in the blank:

6.55.350 Retail sale of dogs and cats in pet stores prohibited.

C. Prohibition. No pet store operator or pet store shall display, sell, deliver, offer for sale or adoption, barter, auction, give away, or otherwise dispose of cats or dogs in the city of South Lake Tahoe.

Municipal code:

But after another exhaustive round of puppy store bans research, we or saying to ourselves, “Not so fast….”

When I first started this project in 2013, I counted jurisdictions in Florida that had previously passed bans. Not able to find the year they had done so, I lumped them in with 2011. Turns out 4 of those villages and townships passed a ban long ago. Way long ago. 1952 long ago. 67 years ago.

§ 91.11 – Keeping dogs for commercial purposes prohibited; exception.

It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association, or corporation to house or keep dogs for commercial purposes in the Village other than a licensed veterinary doctor which such doctor has dogs in his custody and control solely for the purpose of providing them with medical care and attention.
(1964 Code, § 4-2; Ord. 69, passed 7-17-52)

Municipal code:

Boom. Bingo. End of discussion.

And, frankly, that shouldn’t be too surprising. Many changes at the USDA were underway and to this day still brick-up the foundation of farming, animal husbandry and slaughter.

World War II’s massive deployment of US troops into numerous war zones in Europe, Africa and the Eastern Hemisphere—the vast Japanese theater stretched from The Philippines through Burma and included bombings as far south as Townsville, Australia. But, suddenly, the war was over and the time came apace to bring the thousands of people involved in the war effort back home: the veterans of combat, the medics, the admins, the the service sector preparing food, clothing, shelter for the troops and admins, the mechanics of planes, trucks, ships, the ordinance keepers, the navigators and radio operators, indeed even the Code Talkers were on their way back to their hometowns en masse. Many US agencies stepped up to find work for those returning who did not have a career or family business to return to.

Farmers needed help. Single gentlemen returning might be interested in helping out on a farm. Or a ranch. Or a puppy mill.

That’s right, puppy mills were going strong after the war. The US economy was booming, as were babies, and returning soldiers saw farming as an opportunity to work with animals out in the country. A quiet life after the carnage in which many had been ensconced. For some, a tranquil life among animals was just what they wanted.

It is no surprise that as early as 1952, seven years after the great return, some communities might feel the need to curb a store when there were likely plenty of pups to go around anyway. Or perhaps there was some other now hidden reason why a handful of cities in Florida felt the need to curb dog purchasing.

Enter North Bay Village, Florida, which, on 7/17/1952, passed Ordinance #69:

§ 91.11 – Keeping dogs for commercial purposes prohibited; exception.

It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, association, or corporation to house or keep dogs for commercial purposes in the Village other than a licensed veterinary doctor which such doctor has dogs in his custody and control solely for the purpose of providing them with medical care and attention.
(1964 Code, § 4-2; Ord. 69, passed 7-17-52)

Municipal code:

Opa-Locka followed suit in May of 1955, as did Lauderdale Lakes in the spring 1963.

Flagler Beach, Florida, outlawed all animal sales at Christmas 2002.

Coral Gables did this in September 2005:

Sec. 10-38. – Keeping dogs commercially prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to keep dogs for commercial purposes in the city other than a licensed veterinary doctor when such doctor has dogs in his or her custody and control solely for the purpose of providing medical care and attention.

Municipal code

That leads us to our most current “Bans By Year” graph where we lump the above ordinances into a single span of years, 1952-2005

Mayor tries to veto ban, Council says forget it

New Jersey bans total well over 100. Not easy to track when some city, borough, township and village names are the same and some counties have cities with the same name in them.

But the fight over ordinance passage in the township of Washington (not to be confused with Burlington City, both of which are in Burlington County, or nearby Burlington, Connecticut, or the capital of Vermont) ended with a win.

The Mayor was absent when the council unanimously passed Washington’s retail animal sales ban. But when the law crossed his desk, he said no. “Vetoed!”

The Council was having none of it and promptly vetoed the veto.


Agenda, 8/24/2016

Happy ending for a lot of suffering dogs and cats!

Hobby breeders included in various ordinances

West Deptford, New Jersey includes in their list of sources a pet store may attain animals from not only the routine “animal care facility” or an “animal rescue organization,” but “hobby breeders” as well.

Exacerbating the problem, they aren’t clear what a hobby breeder is. Their definitions section includes an animal rescue organization block, but not a definition for “hobby breeder.” Great.

Deal killer?

On the one hand, hobby breeders are considered those that have a limited amount of litters, sometimes allowing for only 1 litter to be provided to a store per year per breeder. Some are broader allowing 1 litter per bitch per year.

Our concern is that might make the hobby breeding paradigm proliferate if folks think they can make a fast buck through a puppy store. Hard to believe a store that sells a dog a day would get enough from locals, but the capitalist paradigm dictates: if there’s incentive, folks will find a way. Incentive is up to $1000 for a litter of 10 for having done no work except pack up the pups and turn them over. What you call a very fast buck.

Related: See our “Why we count Miami as a restriction and not a ban” post.