Retail Sales of Puppies and Kittens

Thanks for your interest in Kitsap County requirements for retail sales of puppies and kittens.

The Kitsap County Board of Commissioners deliberated on July 22, 2019 and approved an ordinance. This ordinance is effective July 22, 2020 due to the addition of a grace period for pet store compliance.

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This ordinance was developed to prevent pet shops in unincorporated Kitsap County from selling kittens and puppies obtained from large-scale breeding operations sometimes referred to as "puppy mills" and "kitten factories." Often these wholesale breeding establishments include overcrowded cages, over breeding, absence of adequate sanitation, lack of vet treatment for serious health issues, lack of socialization, and other neglectful conditions. This has led over 290 local jurisdictions (including the cities of Bremerton, Poulsbo, Gig Harbor and Bainbridge Island) and two states to adopt ordinances limiting pet store sales.

Policy Goals

The Board of Commissioners seeks to achieve the following goals in the review of this issue:

  • Promote animal welfare and health of puppies and kittens
  • Improve access to important pet information for consumers wishing to purchase puppies and kittens
  • Close regulatory loopholes allowing the retail sales of puppies and kittens likely bred in neglectful conditions
  • Support best practices and community awareness in the purchasing and breeding of dogs and cats

Outreach Process

Kitsap County interviewed many different stakeholders in 2018 to inform policy development. A series of interviews were held with those representing varied interests including:

  • Animal Control
  • Licensed hobbyist breeders
  • Animal welfare advocates
  • Licensed commercial pet store
  • Local government staff knowledgeable about best practices

Revised Code Development

Based on this important feedback, best practices, and review, an ordinance was developed with the following features.

  • Allows retail sales of puppies or kittens at commercial pet facilities only when obtained from a certified animal welfare organization
  • Continues to allow retail sales of puppies and kittens bred and sold on-site at small-scale hobbyist breeders facilities
  • Adds enforcement clarity and consistency
  • Requires additional records (e.g. health) for sales of puppies and kitten at hobbyist breeders, animal welfare organizations, and commercial pet facilities
  • Bans sales of puppies and kittens younger than 8-weeks old
  • Delays the ordinance effective date to give pet stores time to adjust
  • Improves policy clarity and consistency

Kitsap County provided the opportunity for interviewed stakeholders to comment on the proposed draft. The county held a public hearing on April 22, 2019 to hear public testimony on the proposed revisions. The commissioners extended the written public comment period and received 154 different comment submittals.  Click here to view a summary table of public comments and click here to view comment attachments.