If you read this blog regularly, you already know that ending the suffering of dogs in puppy mills is an important cause for me. I’ve seen the dogs that come from these mills and have heard countless horror stories from people who’ve purchased puppy mills dogs from pet stores. It is heartbreaking. There is absolutely no reason in 2017 that dogs should be bred solely for profit by people who don’t care at all about their health and safety.
And considering that Ohio has one of the largest number of puppy mills in the country, this an issue we cannot ignore in our state. A group called Stop Puppy Mills Ohio recently formed to crack down on puppy mills in our state and is looking for volunteers to help with the cause. This grassroots organization is working on bringing a ballot measure that would regulate breeders as well as pet stores who buy from breeders to Ohio voters next November.
A little background…
Although the state passed a law in 2012 to regulate breeders, the enforcement of it has been very tough. That law requires an annual inspection of high volume breeders that sell 60 dogs and produce at least 9 litters in a single year. This 9/60 rule is very hard to enforce as many breeders can get around it by saying that they only breed 59 dogs in a year, or eight litters, to get out of being required to do an inspection. There are hundreds of facilities not being inspected because they can’t get to them based on these rules. Also although the law requires veterinary care, it doesn’t have any requirements about the number of times a dog can breed or much as far as the conditions the dogs should be living in.
The new measure
This new ballot measure puts tough requirements on breeding facilities as well as regulates the sale of dogs in the state to pet stores. Here are some of the details:
- Establishes welfare standards for any breeder with eight or more breeding females. This threshold will be far easier for the Ohio Department of Agriculture to enforce, and will require many more puppy mills to be regulated.
- Requires breeders to provide the animals with constant access to water, access to nutritious food at least twice daily, protections from extreme temperatures, and regular veterinary care and socialization.
- Dogs have to have unfettered daytime access to outdoor exercise areas. Enclosures would have solid flooring (no wire flooring their paws can get stuck in), would be cleaned at least once per day. Cages also cannot be stacked or have multiple dogs crammed together in one cage.
- Safe breeding practices, including limits on how often and how many times a dog may be bred, and genetic screening
- Pet stores purchasing dogs would have to get their dogs from facilities that are in accordance with Ohio law and cannot purchase dogs from out-of-state facilities that do not meet the Ohio law requirements.
The requirements in this measure are important because they regulate both sides of the industry. It’s not just the commercial breeders that don’t care about the dogs they breed, it’s also the pet stores. Take a look at this paperwork that came along with Hunter (my dog whose original owner purchased him from a pet store) when I adopted him:
Yes, it actually says a “replacement puppy.” I cried the first time I read that. The people at these stores see dogs as something to be bought and sold, nothing more.
Ultimately, the goal is to make it so hard for puppy mills to operate that many will go out of business. This is an important step to ensuring that we stop the reckless breeding of dogs at these facilities and I can’t wait to take this to Ohio voters next November!
If you’re interested in volunteering to help collect signatures, or just interested in helping spread awareness, you can sign up as a volunteer here: https://stoppuppymillsohio.com/volunteer They need people to gather signatures, write letters to the editor, make phone calls, volunteer at poll places, and more.
I am hoping to collect signatures are Spooky Pooch in Lakewood this Saturday, so let me know if you want to help, or just stop by and sign if you are there!