CLEVELAND – The FOX 8 I-Team found a growing push to stop pet stores from selling pets.

The I-Team has found animal rights groups pushing to block the stores from selling dogs, cats, and rabbits. They say it is a way to shut down the so-called puppy mills. We have shown you some breeders in Ohio raising lots and lots of dogs in cramped and dark cages. Sometimes in dirty, deplorable conditions.

“The puppy mill pipeline needs to be shut down,” said Lisa Kime, president of Golden Retrievers In Need. “We get a lot of calls as a rescue that are in a mall, in an aquarium, or in unsanitary conditions.”

Kime and other animal rights activists believe pet stores selling dogs keep the so-called puppy mills in business.

New York, California, Maryland, Illinois, Maine and Washington all have passed laws with limits on pet stores. In those states, the stores can only work with shelters to sell animals that were rescued. New York’s law takes effect next year.

The Humane Society of the United States is actively involved in trying to get Ohio to follow the other six states.

“It starts with puppy mills, and it ends with dogs being sold in pet stores to really unsuspecting consumers who have no idea that this new member of their family may have come from a puppy mill,” said Mark Finneran, of the HSUS.

Former State Senator Kenny Yuko says he and other Ohio lawmakers talked about this almost twenty years ago, but it never moved forward.

“And we want to make sure that when we buy pets for our kids that we’re getting the real deal, someone who was raised with love, somebody who was protected from the time they were born,” Yuko said.

Some state officials are concerned that if a ban was made on pet stores it would hurt small businesses.

Officials with the HSUS say in Ohio, the way the law is written, any limit or ban on pet stores can only be put in place statewide.

“The general assembly – that State of Ohio – has decided they are the sole body which is able to regulate pet stores,” Finneran said.

Animal rights groups, however, say they are hoping state leaders will soon start talking about making the change.