The Humane Society of Tampa Bay and New Statewide Coalition Take Stand Against Cruel Puppy Mills:

Coalition Urges Families to Adopt Rescue or Shelter Pets this Holiday Season

and Calls for Legislation to End the Puppy-Mill-to-Pet-Store Pipeline


December 6, 2023—In response to massive public backlash against a Pinellas County nonprofit shelter providing veterinary services and positive publicity for actors in the multi-million-dollar, cruel commercial dog breeding industry, the Humane Society of Tampa Bay today announces it is joining with a new statewide coalition of animal sheltering organizations working to promote pet adoption and shut down the puppy mill pipeline into Florida. Florida Shelters Together Opposing Puppy Mills (“Florida S.T.O.P.”) asks those looking to bring a new pet into the family this holiday season to make shelter pet adoption their first option and urges state lawmakers to prohibit the retail sale of dogs and cats in 2024.

While puppies in pet stores may look cute, they harbor an ugly, tragic reality: most are trucked hundreds of miles from puppy mills before arriving at the store for resale, their parents remaining behind to suffer indefinitely in puppy mills. Puppy mills put profit before the welfare of the animals in their care, keeping breeding dogs confined in filthy conditions with poor veterinary care, little socialization or grooming, and ceaseless breeding for years.

The retail sale of puppies creates a demand that can only be met by cruel puppy mills. As a result, puppy-selling retail stores obtain their dogs from commercial dog breeders, also known as puppy mills, through a pipeline of breeders and brokers. Consumers who purchase puppies in stores often report that their puppies were ill at the time of purchase or later suffer from congenital disease due to poor breeding practices.

“The Humane Society of Tampa Bay unequivocally opposes the sale of dogs and cats in retail stores and condemns the inherently cruel commercial dog breeding industry that thrives on the retail sale of puppies,” said Sherry Silk, HSTB CEO. “If you are hoping to add a pet to your family this holiday season, please avoid unintentionally supporting cruel puppy mills and instead visit the Humane Society of Tampa to meet one of the many adorable animals ready for loving homes.”

This holiday season, we urge people who wish to bring a new pet into the family to adopt from a shelter or rescue group. For those looking for a particular breed, many shelters, and rescue groups have specific dog breeds available for adoption or can help advise you on finding a particular type of dog.

When adoption is not an option, please ensure that the breeder is a responsible breeder and not a commercial puppy mill or puppy-selling store. Responsible dog breeders do not sell their dogs to brokers or stores for resale. Make sure that you meet the parents of the puppy and visit the premises where the dogs are bred and raised to ensure that the breeder provides high quality living conditions, socialization, and veterinary care for their dogs.