Puppy mills bill fails in New Jersey

Puppy mills breed dogs to be sold. Sen. Ray Lesniak, a lifelong animal lover and candidate for governor of New Jersey, says many mills prioritize profit over a puppy's wellbeing.

Lesniak sponsored a bill that would've prevented unregistered puppy mills from doing business with New Jersey consumers. The bill failed on a largely party-line vote of 20 to 14, with eight abstentions.

Lesniak's bill would have eliminated breeders who either fail to register with the U.S. Department of Agriculture or who rack up three or more health violations by the USDA. He admitted his bill would've reduced the number of breeders in New Jersey by 88 percent.

Two years ago, Gov. Chris Christie signed into law New Jersey's Pet Purchase Protection Act. This bill would've expanded those protections, but the governor vetoed it saying it went too far. He is not the only one who feels that way.

Dustin Siggins of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council said the existing law already subjects New Jersey's pet stores to some of the most stringent regulations and consumer protections in the country. He said that the legislation would close many responsible retail stores and risk driving buyers to the black market.

The Humane Society also backed the bill, which Lesniak pulled from consideration. That means he could try again. Lesniak said he plans to try again in July.