April 23, 2009
Ind. Legislators Urged to Strengthen Animal Cruelty, Puppy Mill Legislation
The Humane Society of the United States, along with Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan and Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, urge members of the Indiana Senate and House to retain strong provisions in new legislation (H.B. 1468) that provides upgraded penalties for animal abuse, and modest care standards for dogs at mass dog producing facilities known as puppy mills. The Senate recently amended the original bill and significantly weakened protections for animals, and a conference committee will now iron out the differences for a final bill.
The House had previously approved a more comprehensive version of H.B. 1468 to set standards for the care and treatment of dogs kept at mass producing facilities known as puppy mills. While the bill still offers some modest protections for these dogs, most of the care standards were gutted by Senate Corrections, Criminal & Civil Matters Chairman Brent Steele, R-Bedford. The original standards included limits on the number of times a female dog may be bred. It also required that facilities be consistently cleaned and constructed to protect dogs from disease and injury and have sufficient heating, cooling and ventilation. The HSUS urges the lawmakers working to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the bill to reinstate these very basic care standards.
Puppy mills are mass dog-producing facilities that keep animals in cages or kennels, often in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction. The puppies these dogs churn out are sold in pet stores, over the Internet and directly to consumers with no regard for the dog's health or genetic conditions. The bill does not affect responsible home breeders who already provide humane standards of care.
"H.B. 1468 would close gaping loopholes in our animal cruelty law, and provide some basic protections for pets in our state," said Anne Sterling, The HSUS' Indiana state director. "We are hopeful that the animal care standards included in the House version of H.B. 1468 will be approved so that Indiana dogs will finally have basic protections from abuse."
The legislation also upgrades the current Indiana animal cruelty code by strengthening penalties and authorizing courts to prohibit convicted animal abusers from owning other animals in the future. It also makes it an offense to neglect animals by failing to provide them with shelter or medical treatment. Current Indiana law does not require individuals to provide their animals with shelter, which can be fatal, particularly in extreme weather conditions. Nearly 40 other states have shelter requirements in their anti-cruelty codes.
To learn more about puppy mills, visit humanesociety.org/puppymills.
Follow The HSUS on Twitter.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.