Ohio has long had a terrible reputation for lax oversight of dog breeders. But thanks to a compromise between lawmakers and animal-rights activists in Columbus, the state has a chance to become a model in the fight against puppy mills.
The bill signed by Gov. John Kasich last week will make Ohio the first state to require pet retailers or dog brokers to have their suppliers sign a document attesting they comply with Ohio’s standards of care when it comes to the feeding, housing, veterinary care, exercise, and human interaction of their animals.
The measure defines a “high-volume dog breeder” based on the number of puppies sold as opposed to the number of litters produced as under current law. These provisions are the result of months of compromise between lawmakers who introduced a bill with less stringent requirements several months ago and the anti-puppy mill advocates who were seeking to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot for voters this fall.
Ohio earned an unfortunate reputation as a haven for abusive breeding operations where many animals suffered in disgusting conditions, being bred without any care for their health or well-being.
The new law will go into effect in August, much sooner than the provisions of an amendment that would need voter approval in November. Now it is up to the state Department of Agriculture and local authorities to enforce the law vigorously. Breeders must get the message that they have to change their practices or go out of business.
Consumers, too, will have a role to play in driving puppy mill operators out of business. Consider adopting a shelter animal or do research to be sure your family’s new pet comes from a reputable breeder. It’s time to put an end to the suffering bred in Ohio’s puppy mills.
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