February 17, 2012
Oklahoma Court Rejects Constitutional Challenge to the State’s New Puppy Mill Law
The Humane Society of the United States applauds a decision by District Judge Jonathan Sullivan upholding Oklahoma’s commercial dog breeding statute and rejecting breeders’ claims that the statute and accompanying rules are unconstitutional. The law, enacted in 2010, creates a licensing and inspection process, as well as minimum standards of care, for commercial pet breeders in Oklahoma.
“The Humane Society of the United States commends the Court for rejecting this misguided effort to dismantle the state’s efforts to crack down on puppy mills,” said Cynthia Armstrong, Oklahoma state director for The HSUS. “Oklahoma has joined the growing list of states that have made clear that large scale commercial dog breeders do not have a constitutional right to operate free from basic humane regulations.”
Over the last several years, a number of courts around the country have rejected similar lawsuits that sought to stem the tide of new laws cracking down on puppy mills. In 2009, a federal court in Pennsylvania upheld the key provisions of the state’s groundbreaking 2008 puppy mill law, and in 2010 a federal court in Florida rejected a similar constitutional challenge to Volusia County’s new dog breeding ordinance. In the past three years 16 states have passed new laws to crack down on puppy mill cruelty.
Puppy Mill Facts
- The HSUS recommends never purchasing a puppy from a pet store or Internet site, or from any breeder one has not carefully screened in person.
- 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-floored cages for life. There is little regard for the dogs' 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.
- Reputable breeders never sell puppies over the Internet or through a pet store and will insist on meeting the family who will be purchasing the dog.
- The HSUS estimates that 2 million to 4 million puppy mill puppies are sold each year in the United States.
- Puppy mills contribute to the pet overpopulation problem, which results in millions of unwanted dogs euthanized at shelters every year.
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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.