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Rep. Vaupel plan creates higher standards for Michigan pet stores

Legislation introduced by state Rep. Hank Vaupel to protect dogs by strengthening standards for Michigan pet stores was approved today by the Michigan House.

Vaupel, a veterinarian of more than 40 years, said his plan prevents Michigan pet stores from acquiring dogs from unregulated breeders, or “puppy mills.”

“We’re raising the bar for pet stores,” said Vaupel, of Fowlerville. “With my background, I have seen too many instances where animals weren’t treated the way they should be. Improving animal welfare is critically important, and it’s an issue I take very personally.”

Under the plan laid out in House Bills 5916-17, breeders would be required to supply pet stores with complete copies of their U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection reports.

“Pet stores will be barred from purchasing puppies from any breeder with major violations within the past two years,” Vaupel said.

The plan also establishes a minimum age at which puppies can be placed up for sale, ensures all dogs have a certified health certificate from a licensed veterinarian, and requires dogs to be vaccinated and micro-chipped.

While implementing these safeguards, the legislation also provides much-needed protections for reputable local pet stores that are committed to pet safety.

“Pet stores must continue to comply with all local ordinances, but we’re also ensuring that a municipality can’t just arbitrarily ban them,” Vaupel said. “These family-owned pet shops play an important role in our communities. If they all close up shop, more families will be pushed toward online vendors and unregulated breeders, not realizing they don’t have much recourse if the puppy is sick or the transaction turns out to be a scam.”

A study conducted by the Better Business Bureau found up to 80 percent of online advertisements for pets may be fraudulent.

The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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