We all know that puppy mills are hell-holes of cruelty and misery, neglect and abuse for the canine prisoners that are confined there, in cages, day after day, for their entire lives.  The good news is that people are becoming more and more aware of these hell-holes and are beginning to demand changes, laws, to combat this kind of cruelty.  In January I wrote about more and more states stepping up and finally working toward change to make conditions more humane and slowly but surely things are moving along.

Mary Shaver-O’Conner of BanOhioDogAuctions.com put together a wonderful overview of what’s happening and I wanted to share it with you so that you could see.  There’s some potentially great news here.  Of course for every piece of legislation there are opponents, those more interested in the money than the welfare of the living, breathing creatures these bills are trying to protect but as long as we raise our voice in support, write legislators, make calls, send email and let me know that we demand change, things can and will happen.

So, from Mary:

I wanted to share with you some important updates on efforts taking place across our country to raise awareness of puppy mills, dog auctions, pet stores and the entities that support and keep them in business:

COLORADO –  On January 21, The puppy mill bill was officially introduced into the Colorado state legislature. The bill limits the number of adult, unaltered dogs a breeder can maintain, mandates annual veterinary exams, and prohibits individuals convicted of animal cruelty of obtaining a breeder license.

ILLINOIS – On January 19, announcement of a Puppy Mill bill, sponsored by Fritchey and state Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Mt. Prospect), was introduced into the Illinois state legislature. The Bill, called Chloe’s Bill, was named after a young female dog that was rescued from a filthy, unlicensed puppy mill in Downstate Macon County. The legislation, if passed in its proposed form, would:

  • Create a Dog Breeder License Act, which would prevent breeders from having more than 20 unaltered (not neutered or not spayed) dogs.
  • Prohibit people from obtaining a dog-breeding license if they have been convicted of a felony animal-cruelty crime, including dog fighting.
  • Require dog breeders to keep dogs in buildings without wire flooring and with sufficient heating, cooling and ventilation.
  • Require pet stores and breeders to provide potential pet buyers with the dog’s full medical history, information of spaying and neutering and information about any prior medical care.
  • Establish penalties starting with fines and escalating to having animals seized and breeding operations shut down.

INDIANA –  The puppy mill bill amendment passed the House committee vote and will be voted on in the full House this week.  For more details on this bill, Click Here

The Summary of the Puppy Mill Amendment includes:

A.) Anyone who during a 12 month period maintains at least 10 adult female dogs that have not been spayed and are over four months of age (exempts shelters, rescues and animal control organizations).

B.) Standards of care (ventilation, sanitary conditions, illumination, temperature, exercise and cage size requirements; no wire flooring).

C.) Vet Care – Every animal must receive a physical exam from a licensed veterinarian every year and the breeder must maintain veterinary records on each animal. Surgical procedures or euthanasia of
any animal may not be performed by anyone other than a licensed veterinarian.

D.) Pet Store Disclosure – Requires any pet store to post name, city and state of each pup’s breeder as well as name, city and state of any broker. Pet stores must maintain veterinary records on each animal and make them available to purchasers or prospective purchasers.

E.) Lemon Language – Requires breeder to provide another dog or full refund if dog is found to be sick within 21 days of purchase. Or, if dog is found to have congenital problems within a year, the breeder must also reimburse the buyer for vet bills (not to exceed the purchase price of the dog).

F.) Cap Language – Maximum of 20 dogs that are (older than) one year and have not been altered at any address or location.

G.) Breeding limitation – dogs cannot be bred without annual certificate from vet, must be at least 18 months of age and less than eight years of age. Female dogs shall only be allowed to whelp one litter per year.

H.) Animal Cruelty Convictions – Individuals convicted of animal cruelty under Indiana code may not operate a commercial breeding facility. Additionally, commercial breeders may not hire staff who have been convicted of animal cruelty.

I.) Registration with the State Board of Animal Health – yearly registration of anyone who fits the above definition of a puppy mill. $50 yearly registration fee. Class C infraction for not registering as a commercial breeder.

OHIO – The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) is preparing for a face-to-face meeting with HSUS President Wayne Pacelle, a meeting initiated by HSUS. Ohio’s constitution does allow for ballot initiatives and as many of you are aware, Ohio voters and taxpayers aren’t bashful about putting initiatives on the ballot. Since the passage of Proposition 2 in California, there has been a lot of speculation as to what state might be next, Ohio has been one of the states mentioned. MARY’S NOTE: It is our hope that a ballot initiative to ban dog auctions may be a very real possibility for 2009.

For more information, we invite you to view the article, “Ohio Farm Bureau to meet with HSUS”Click Here

OKLAHOMAThe Oklahoma Pet Quality Assurance and Protection Act, H.B. 1332, passed the House committee vote (11-2)  and will be voted on in the full House in the very near future.

This proposed legislation would set regulations for dog and cat breeders, and authorize a state agency to inspect kennels and facilities that sell more than 25 animals a year. The Pet Quality Assurance Enforcement Fund will be funded from fees, fines, etc. and will provide the necessary means to support enforcement.

For more details concerning this legislation, we invite you to read the article, “OK House to Vote on Puppy Mill Bill”Click Here

PENNSYLVANIA –  With a vote of 192 for and 0 against, House Bill 39, amending Pennsylvania’s Crimes Code for animal cruelty and introduced by Representative Tom Caltagirone (D-Berks), passed in today’s session. The proposed legislation will impose criminal penalties for specific medical procedures if not performed by a licensed veterinarian including debarking, c-section births and tail docking. The act of ear cropping by anyone other than a vet is already prohibited in Pennsylvania.

The legislation now heads for the Senate.

TENNESSEE –  State lawmakers are trying diligently to curb bad breeding operations by regulating breeders and creating an inspection process. State Sen. Doug Jackson is proposing legislation that he hopes will put an end to what many call puppy mills. The bill would require any breeder with more than 20 animals to pay a $500 licensing fee to the state. If you have more than 40, it goes up to $1,000. Commercial breeders would also be inspected yearly.

For more information, we invite you to view the article, “Senator Hopes Legislation Ends Puppy Mills”Click Here

Also, a suspected puppy mill in Sparta, TN was raided yesterday morning. The bust involved the rescue of over 275 dogs. To read more Click Here

WASHINGTON –  In the wake of the recent seizures of hundreds of sick or neglected dogs from alleged puppy mill operations in Skagit and Snohomish counties, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would regulate breeders who own a large number of dogs. A Senate committee on Monday discussed the bill, which would provide “humanitarian requirements for certain dog breeding practices” by limiting breeders to keeping a maximum of 25 dogs at any one location and also by setting strict guidelines for the housing and care of the animals.

For more details concerning this legislation, we invite you to read the article, “Lawmakers Consider Bill Targeting Puppy Mills”Click Here

Let’s hope these small but important steps will help set the tone as a model for other cities, causing a ripple effect of positive change benefiting the animals.

Thanks so much Mary for putting this information together and passing it along to share.  Now if it can only move along and get passed, it would be great news.  Of course the best news would be the end of puppy mills but as long as money keeps greasing the wheels of greed, that is not going to happen.  If only all breeders cared half as much about the animals as the money, there would be no need for such legislation!

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