In response to Mr. Jeffrey Morton’s 9-27-19 letter to the editor representing the New Jersey Coalition of Responsible Pet Stores. Mr. Morton makes many claims but not one of them is backed up by records to show where he is getting his information.  

STATEMENT: “Not one puppy mill across the country has been closed as a result of these ban ordinances promoted by the activist community.”

FACT: From a high of 4322 breeders in the 8 states with the most puppy mills in 2007, the numbers for these same breeders was 2243 in 2017. Best Friends Animal Society.

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STATEMENT:  “the goal of the national lobbying interests…has been to monopolize the retail pet marketplace with fee-based adoptions…”

FACT:  Some shelters and rescues do bring puppies from high kill shelters for 2 reasons: To save the puppies’ lives from high-kill shelters and to offer them for adoption. It also helps to bring more people into shelters where many of them end up adopting an older dog. For those who prefer a puppy, it is an outlet for them to adopt one instead of buying high-priced designer dogs through the pet store, puppy mill supply chain where breeding dogs live their entire lives in cages until only death releases them. 

Far from making a profit on adoptions, every shelter & rescue that I am aware of have very low adoption fees and are in constant debt, their goal being to save animals, not make a profit. They must hold fundraisers year-round to help pay their high vet bills and shelter expenses.  

The only people I know who buy puppies from questionable breeders and brokers and sell them as adopted dogs for a profit are some of the pet stores in NJ, Mr. Morton being one of them. He purchased 24 “rescue” dogs from Jan 2018 thru Feb. 2019.  Mr. Morton bought these puppies from a fake rescue called “Hobo Rescue” an operation started by one of the biggest dog brokers in Iowa to get around state laws. This rescue was shut down by the Iowa Attorney General. Mr. Morton was contacted about his purchases. His lawyer falsely told newspapers that Shake-A-Paw bought no dogs from Iowa in this time period when in fact he bought 256 dogs from that state. Shake-A-Paw breeder lists, Vet certificates from Iowa and Newspaper articles.  

STATEMENT: “I only buy from 60-80 breeders each year because of the strict laws in NJ, and the demanding maintenance of the USDA license.” 

FACT:  From Jan. 1, 2018 thru Feb. 28, 2019, Mr. Morton bought 1365 puppies from 174 breeders, not 60-80, as he states. In 2018 he bought as many as 117 puppies from one breeding family in Ohio alone. That hardly puts any stock in his statements that he “personally visits his breeders once a year and handpicks the puppies himself.”   Shake-A-Paw yearly breeder lists, USDA records, Iowa state records, and Municipal council records.

STATEMENT:  “efforts to successfully close substandard pet stores proves that New Jersey’s complementary state laws and existing ordinances proves (sic) the system works…”

FACT: To the contrary, the Pet Purchase Protection Act, which went into effect on June 2015, is NOT working. The Dept. of Consumer Affairs is charged with the oversight of NJ pet stores. Most pet stores hadn’t been inspected for 2 or 3 years and their sourcing has never been looked into, despite hundreds of complaints to the Dept. State DCA reports for inspection histories, and PPPA law.

In 2015, when Consumer Affairs, did do inspections, they issued 698 violations to 26 stores totaling $409,000.00. Mr. Morton’s store was fined $25,250.00 and it was noted in the report that the manager and an employee were warned twice to stop placing missing information on the puppy cages during the inspection. 

NJ AG list of store violations, and inspection reports from DCA.

I would urge every municipality to compare fact with fiction, join 128 other towns in NJ, who have an ordinance in place, and help put an end to the horrendous cruelty in puppy mill breeding factories. Once stores open, it is very hard and costly to shut them down. 

All of the records referenced were obtained through the Open Public Records Act. Government records don’t lie; they record facts.

Jeanne Clayton, NJ Residents Against Puppy Mills.