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Rep. Grim Introduces House Bill 443 to Repeal the Preemption of Retail Puppy Sales Ordinances

March 12, 2024
Michele Grim News

COLUMBUS – State Rep. Michele Grim (D-Toledo) introduced House Bill (HB) 443 , which will repeal the preemption of state supervision over dog sales in pet stores. HB 443 will protect Ohio’s pets and families and restore the right of local elected officials to crack down on the puppy mill-to-pet store pipeline.

“Our communities have the right to make their own determinations regarding the sales of puppies. The fact is, retailers like Petland sell dogs from puppy mills to unsuspecting Ohioans. These puppies are brought up in the most inhumane of conditions and unfortunately, often live short, painful lives,” said Rep. Grim.  “Rather than protecting this reprehensible behavior, we can return some authority back to our communities to do the right thing and take action.”

This bipartisan legislation would repeal section 956.23 of the Ohio Revised Code, which stops localities from regulating the sale of puppies in pet stores. This pet store preemption law was passed in 2016 at the request of Petland—a controversial, Ohio-based, puppy-selling pet store chain—so they would no longer face local regulation. It voided a Grove City ordinance that would have stopped a Petland store from selling commercially raised puppies.

Ohioans are suffering because of this law, which allows puppy-selling pet stores to operate without any meaningful regulation. After three Ohio families filed a lawsuit against Petland, Inc. earlier this year alleging fraudulent and misleading sales practices and sick puppy sales, leading to heartbreak and financial hardship, nearly 50 additional Ohio victims have come forward to share their stories.

Ohio sits squarely on the wrong side of this issue. While seven states and nearly 500 localities across the nation prohibit the sale of commercially raised puppies in pet stores, Ohio continues to protect puppy mills and their pet store sales outlets. HB 443 will right this wrong by allowing localities in our state to crack down on pet stores that operate in an inhumane or deceptive manner.  

HB 443 awaits assignment to a House Committee.