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May 26, 2010

The HSUS Praises Louisiana Legislature for Passing Bill to Combat Puppy Mills

Nation’s largest animal protection organization urges Gov. Jindal to sign

BATON ROUGE, La. — The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Louisiana state legislature for overwhelmingly passing a bill to crack down on cruel  mass dog-breeding facilities known as puppy mills. The bill now moves to Gov. Bobby Jindal's desk. If enacted, it will become the second important new Louisiana law in three years to address the puppy mill  issue. 

H.B. 313, sponsored by Rep. Gary Smith, D–Norco, and championed in the Senate by Sen. Mike Walsworth, R–West Monroe, allows localities to assess more realistic commercial breeder fees to offset the costs of inspecting and regulating puppy mills, and sets $30 as the minimum fee charged rather than the maximum. 

"Thanks to the bi-partisan leadership of Representative Smith and Senator Walsworth, our state's animal control agencies will no longer have to turn a blind eye to animal cruelty on puppy mills simply because they don't have the funds to enforce the law," said Julia Breaux Melancon, Louisiana state director for The HSUS.  "These large-scale commercial breeding facilities treat dogs like a cash crop with no regard to their health or welfare. Now, pending Governor Jindal's signature, those responsible for perpetuating this problem will have to help foot the bill rather than burdening local taxpayers and overwhelming parish and municipal resources." 

Louisiana made history when, in 2008, legislators enacted one of the nation's first bills limiting the number of "breeding" dogs that can be maintained by a commercial breeding facility, thereby ensuring that the very largest of the mass puppy-producing facilities known as puppy mills would not proliferate in the Pelican State. But Louisiana's local animal control agencies, which despite that new law might still spend thousands of dollars caring for dogs seized from substandard puppy mills, were financially prevented from adequately enforcing puppy mill laws because income from the sale of commercial kennel license fees was legally capped at a paltry $30 for a commercial breeder with more than 10 dogs.

Puppy Mill Facts

  • Louisiana is the third state to enact legislation cracking down on puppy mills so far in 2010, joining Oklahoma and Iowa, the nation's number two and number three puppy-producing states, respectively.
  • Ten states enacted laws to crack down on abusive puppy mills in 2009.  Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia enacted tough puppy mill laws in 2008.
  • Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care, live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction, and are confined inside cramped wire cages for life. There is little concern for the breeding dog's health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies. 
  • Breeding dogs at puppy mills must endure constant breeding cycles and are typically confined for years on end, without ever becoming part of a family. 
  • Dogs from puppy mills are sold in pet stores, online and directly to consumers with little to no consideration for the dog's health, genetic history or future welfare. Consumers should never buy a puppy from a pet store or Web site; instead visit an animal shelter or screen a breeder's facility in person.
  • Voters in Missouri, the nation's top puppy mill state, just submitted nearly 200,000 signatures to qualify the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act for the November statewide ballot. 

To learn more about puppy mills, visit humanesociety.org/puppymills.

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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.

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