Ohio is poised to become the next state to crack down on puppy mills after the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly in favor of a legislation that would more strongly regulate large-scale breeding operations in the Buckeye State.
Wednesday’s majority vote of 91-5 means the amended substitute Ohio Senate Bill 130 will now have to face a post-Thanksgiving vote in the Senate before heading to Governor John R. Kasich’s desk to be signed into law.
The proposed legislation could put into place annual inspections for breeding facilities that either sell at least 60 dogs or produce at least nine litters in one calendar year. It also calls for the establishment of a special task force charged with overseeing the creation of minimum facility standards of care. The Commercial Dog Breeding Advisory Board will be set up to assist the Ohio Department of Agriculture in developing rules about adequate housing, grooming, veterinary care, whelping, nutrition, exercise, and waste disposal.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, Ohio has a long history of puppy mill problems; in fact, the HSUS says that Ohio is one of 22 U.S. states that do not currently have regulations in place to oversee high-volume commercial breeding operations.
According to the Marion Star, 8,000 registered kennels are in Ohio, but breeding operations are not regulated by the state. Because there are no laws on the books in the state to monitor breeding activity at each kennel, it is not known how many puppy mills could be operating in Ohio.
Ohio Representative Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) told the ToledoBlade.com that puppy mills in her state have become a huge problem for which an adequate solution is needed.
“This is an industry that’s gone unchecked for too long in Ohio,” Fedor said.
“I feel that this is a strong bill,” Hall explained, “and it removes that black eye that Ohio has had on the issue they call puppy mills in this state. I think we got it right…it’s a beginning.”
Ohio State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, Karen Minton, says different versions of this anti-mill bill have been circulating for more than 10 years, but calls Wednesday’s House vote a great first step in the state’s fight against unregulated breeders.
“The Humane Society of the United States applauds Ohio’s House of Representatives for working to end the cycle of pet overpopulation and the suffering of countless dogs that puppy mills perpetuate,” Minton said in a statement on the HSUS site. “No dog should be forced to spend a lifetime in a small wire cage with no human companionship or comfort.”