Humane Society Calls for Ban on Reproduction and Sale of Dogs, Cats
SAN JUAN – The U.S. Humane Society is calling for the Legislature to pass a five-year ban on the reproduction and sale of dogs and cats in Puerto Rico to promote their adoption in shelters and reduce the number of stray animals.
Rescue groups and shelters have been trying for years to cope with the animal neglect, cruelty and massive stray animal population on the island, where spaying or neutering is not widely practiced but animal abandonment is.
House Bill 2950 was filed May 6 at the request of the Humane Society by House Vice President Roberto Rivera Ruiz de Porras. There is less than two months for the end of the current session.
The problem of stray animals not only affects some 300,000 dogs and more than a million cats in Puerto Rico, but also poses a health threat.
The legislation contends that the Health Department spends around $2 million yearly to treat bites from stray animals. A 2008 study by the Tourism and Hotel Association shows that Puerto Rico lost $15 million resulting from the negative impression tourists get from seeing stray animals on the streets.
Animal shelters have said 95% of the stray dogs and cats in shelters were left there by their owners, which means that 5% were picked up from the streets. This show that cities are not doing enough to rescue these animals, the bill says.
The bill will require pet owners to neuter their pets and ban puppy mills
Several places, such as Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami Beach and Austin, Texas, have banned the sale of pets, increasing pet adoptions and reducing puppy mills. Thirty states have laws requiring pet owners to spay their pets.