Field Trip: United Against Puppy Mills
Established: March 2005
If you passed through Lancaster County in the spring of 2005, you might not have noticed the handwritten posters hanging up at various veterinary offices, pet supply stores, grocery stores, diners, and gyms, announcing the first meeting of a group opposing puppy mills. And in fact, Josette Aramini and Helen Ebersole, cofounders of United Against Puppy Mills (UAPM), didn’t expect to get a large turnout. Aramini recalls saying, “If five people show up, we’re going to be really happy.” Instead, the meeting attracted nearly 100 attendees, proof positive that the fledging group had tapped into underlying concerns in the community.
Four years after its inception, UAPM counts its work on a comprehensive 2008 state bill to reform the puppy mill industry among its proudest achievements. The bill—which mandates twice-yearly vet visits for dogs at commercial kennels, requires the use of larger cages and exercise areas for both mothers and puppies, and limits the use of wire flooring—was signed into law last October.