Ohio House Passes Critical Puppy Mill Bill: SB130

ASPCA encouraged by passage of SB 130,
Requires commercial dog breeding facilities to be licensed, inspected

The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) yesterday applauded the Ohio House of Representatives for passing Senate Bill 130 by a vote of 89-5. This bill is crucial and something that I have talked about multiple times before on the blog, requiring commercial dog breeding facilities to be licensed and inspected for the first time in the state’s history.

The ASPCA had worked to strengthen the bill, recommending that critical provisions which had previously been removed from the bill, be reinstated.

“The Ohio General Assembly has been considering various puppy mill bills for over six years,” said Vicki Deisner, state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Midwest region. “Ohio has taken a critical step today by regulating commercial breeders, which will improve the living conditions of breeding dogs destined to spend their whole lives in these barren, commercial breeding facilities.”

Sponsored by Senator Jim Hughes (R-Columbus), SB 130 unanimously passed in the Ohio Senate last February. While the Senate version of the bill contained many strong provisions, the current version has been stripped of several of the vital requirements that would most improve the lives of Ohio’s puppy mill dogs.

The ASPCA had recommended to the Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee that every breeding dog receive a hands-on veterinary exam once a year, and that facility inspections be performed by state-level inspectors only.

“In order to ensure that all breeding dogs are healthy and safe, each dog should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year,” said Cori Menkin, senior director of the ASPCA Puppy Mills Campaign.

“In its current form, SB 130 does not require this, but the legislation is still a step in the right direction. We look forward to eventually working with the Ohio Department of Agriculture to ensure more humane standards of care are instituted.”

Ohio has become a haven for puppy mill operators, which is why in addition to its legislative work, the ASPCA has focused part of its national “No Pet Store Puppies” campaign on the Columbus area.

The campaign aims to reduce the demand for puppy mill puppies by urging consumers to pledge not to buy any items—including food, supplies or toys—from stores or websites that sell puppies.

Last year, a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners revealed that while 86 percent of Columbus-area residents would not purchase puppies if they knew they came from puppy mills, 74 percent of Columbus area residents are unaware that most puppies sold in pet stores come from them.

The ASPCA believes that convincing consumers not to shop for anything, including puppies, at pet stores that sell puppies is a necessary part of stopping the demand for puppy mill dogs.

To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to eradicate puppy mills, please visit www.NoPetStorePuppies.com.

The ASPCA is not the only group concerned with what is going on here in Ohio, my home state (I live on the lake in Cleveland, about two hours north of Columbus.)

Several other groups have slaved for years on petitions, awareness, etc doing very honorable work to ensure Ohio citizens are aware. And though their work may not specifically be about SB 130, we Ohio animal welfare groups support one another, helping each other to spread each other’s work, “liking” things on Facebook, and writing, Tweeting, and Pinning where ever asked.

The Humane Society of the United States was also applauding Ohio yesterday; they were involved in the passage of this SB130 as well – their heavy lobbying efforts undoubtedly had an effect. They noted in a press release yesterday that Ohio is one of 22 states with no regulation or oversight of commercial high volume breeding kennels.

“S.B. 130 is the product of careful consideration, intense labor and a spirit of cooperation,” said State Rep. Dave Hall, Chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “Thanks to Senator Hughes, we had a good base. I’m pleased to say that the House Agriculture Committee was able to work with both sides of this issue to clarify and strengthen certain aspects that were critical for its passage. We were able to find that elusive ‘middle ground.’ As someone whose family has taken care of several rescue pets, I can say with confidence that this bill’s passage is a major victory for all Ohio dog lovers.”

Other local groups involved include Columbus Top Dogs, which works on many fundraisers and local issues, the Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions, which works tirelessly on banning the awful auctions which purport the puppy mill problem, and the Nitro Foundation, which is currently working assiduously to amend legislation and make a first-time offense of animal cruelty a felony in Ohio. Currently, Ohio is one of only 4 states where a first count of animal cruelty is a misdemeanor. Offenders rarely get more than a measly slap on the wrist, fine and warning for doing things like beating, burning and killing dogs and cats.

If I missed your organization, please share in the comments. But A HUGE CONGRATS goes out from ThoughtsFurPaws to ALL involved in the passing of SB130 in both the Senate and the House finally. A rousing “thank you” also goes out to my legislators – now please listen to us animal welfare advocates on the other issues we’ve been writing and calling about, ie HB 108!

We have been waiting for years as you will see from the old blog posts (search Puppy Mills, or Animal Welfare Ohio SB 130).

I will soon be writing another post on this because many small time breeders and rescues feel this bill is a burden.

Stay tuned to read their perspective…

About the ASPCA®

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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