News out of Columbus, Ohio puts "heat" on puppy mills and "back yard" breeders, as SB130 has been passed into law. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) applauded Ohio Govenor John Kasich and members of the Ohio legislature for passing Amended Substitute Senate Bill 130 into law back in March. But according to the Columbus Dispatch, detailed rules about care, caging and other standards had to go though the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review resulted in the Ohio Department of Agriculture setting the licensing deadline as of January 1, 2014.
What exactly does this mean? SB130 will require puppy mills and certain breeders to obtain permits and licenses, imposing fines and penalties for those that don't. Animal advocacy supporters are thrilled with SB130, as it has taken seven years to become a law. Life With Dogs TV urged folks to call and write their elected officials, suspecting the new law may help cut down on Ohio puppy mills altogether. SB130 targets dog breeding kennels and dog retailers, and will amend other sections of the Ohio revised code. According to the Columbus Dispatch and HSUS, SB130 will:
- Make dog breeders who produce at least nine litters and 60 or more dogs (in one calendar year) obtain a state license that will cost $150 to $750 (depending on the number of animals).
- Make dog retailers (those who buy from breeders and sell to pet stores and others) get an annual license that costs $500.
- Set standards for housing and care of puppies and dogs that include making sure kennels are clean and properly ventilated.
- Create a Commercial Dog Breeding Advisory Board to assist the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture in developing standards, including rules on housing, nutrition, exercise, waste management, grooming, whelping and other general care standards.
- Prohibit anyone convicted of animal cruelty in the last 20 years from obtaining a license (a provision designed to stop the influx into Ohio of puppy mill operators who have been forced to close their operations in other states due to animal cruelty charges).
Ohio Puppy Rescue made readers aware of puppy mill horrors the dogs must endure, including keeping females pregnant at all times. They wrote,
"Adult dogs spend their entire lives in tiny cages, in deplorable filthy conditions that promote viruses and disease. Often, cages are stacked on top of one another so that the waste from one cage falls into the cage below. Dogs go without food or water for days and are likely to be underfed and in poor health. Dogs lay and sleep in their own excrement on wire bottomed cages that cut into their feet, with basic grooming care non existent (as hair grows matted, often flea infested). Skin infections, open wounds, ear and eye infections are common and usually not treated. Dogs rescued from puppy mills often have toenails grown out in a full circle (never having been trimmed), so these dogs can barely walk."
Puppy mill puppies are most often sold to pet stores across the nation, but not everyone is aware of the inhumane treatment their parents had to endure.
Hopefully, SB130 will reduce the number of puppy mills and "back yard" breeders altogether. As Melanie Kahn, senior director of HSUS' Stop Puppy Mills campaign said, “No dog should be forced to spend a lifetime in a small wire cage with no human companionship or comfort.” While SB130 is a welcomed addition for Ohians, it is not the end. Ohioans must continue writing new laws and changing existing ones for our companion animals. The recent passing of Nitro's Law HB90 was another step to help change Ohio animal advocacy laws. To get involved with animal advocacy, or to learn more about what changes are proposed for your state, visit the National Institute for Animal Advocacy online. Remember, don't "shop", adopt.
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