Virginia ‘Puppy Mill’ Bill Moves Along
Ok, so it’s not officially called a ‘puppy mill’ bill, it’s a dog-breeding or commercial breeder legislation. House Bill 538, sponsored by Del. Bobby Orrock, R-Caroline County, establishes licensing, inspection and safety provisions and imposes limits on the number of adult dogs a breeding operation can maintain and it just squeaked by in the House of Delegates to a 9-8 vote.
No matter what you call the bill, it’s main aim is to regulate unscrupulous breeders commonly dubbed ‘puppy mills.’ This particular piece of legislation got a boost because of the 2007 Bland County kennel fire which killed nearly 200 dogs. There was also the more than 1000 dog seized from a Carrol County kennel and many more incidents.
The new legislation if it makes it through the House Appropriations Committee, which must sign off on the costs associated with the new requirements would make some not insignificant changes.
The new requirements would apply to kennel operators who keep more than 20 female dogs for breeding purposes. Among other things, commercial breeders would be required to have a valid business license, cooperate with inspections by animal control officers, have an approved fire safety plan and keep no more than 50 adult dogs on the premises. Operators also would have to maintain accurate veterinary records for a five-year period. Violators would face a misdemeanor charge that carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail. (Roanoke.com)
Of course, just like any state that is trying to make chance to the horrendous puppy mill problems, there are people and organizations making waves and complaining. Sure, it’s going to affect non-puppy mills, but if they’re not doing anything wrong, then it’s the price of ‘business.’ People want to make their buck on the back of innocent and defenseless companion animals, the let’s make sure it’s done humanely.
Dog breeders and representatives of hunting organizations argued against the bill, saying it creates burdensome regulations and duplicates some inspection functions performed by the federal government. Legitimate dog-breeding businesses will suffer for the excesses of a few, said Bob Hale, who runs a kennel operation in Charles City County.
The way that I see it, if these breeding businesses are so legitimate, then they should have too much to worry about, should they? And sorry to say, but it’s not a ‘few.’ Across the US, there are approximately a half million dogs that are a part of the cruel puppy mill chain and Virginia has their share of them.
Why can’t people look at the ‘big picture,’ the amount of lives that legislation like this will ease the burden on. Dogs are living, breathing, feeling creatures! If the government isn’t allowed to step in and make some changes, the ‘commercial breeding’ industry sure won’t! The don’t want to lose a penny profit and besides, ‘they’re only dogs.’
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