Pierce County Council announcement.
The Pierce County Council acted Tuesday to put protections in place that make it easier for future dog owners to know their puppy’s history before buying the animal and the upfront costs they could face.
As adopted, the ordinance changes Pierce County Code dealing with licensing requirements around animal services and operations with a focus on pet shops to provide transparency about where the dogs come from. It also sets a limit on how old a puppy must be before it can be separated from its mother and sold.
Under the ordinance pet stores may not sell a dog younger than eight weeks old and must also meet a set of requirements. These requirements include, but are not limited to, requiring all dogs sold to come directly from a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) licensed organization or person operating in compliance with state law. Pet shops selling a dog must obtain all USDA inspection reports from the organization or person selling the animal.
“We want the life of the puppy prior to being sold to be documented and shared with the buyer,” said Councilmember Jani Hitchen, who initiated the ordinance. “We want puppies to live in humane conditions and stay with their mom until they are old enough to be separated.”
To help buyers understand all costs associated with purchasing a dog from a pet store, the ordinance also requires the disclosure of all financial information including purchase price and interest rate or range associated with financing or credit offerings available.
“The buyer is entitled to know what they are buying and how much it will cost before they hold a puppy in their arms,” Hitchen said. “This ordinance is about providing transparency for Pierce County residents trying to buy a dog.”
A pet shop that violates the updated code is subject to a Class 1 civil infraction. Any shop with multiple violations in a one-year period is prohibited from selling or offering to sell dogs.
The adopted ordinance now heads to the Executive for signature.