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December 12, 2012

The HSUS Applauds Ohio Governor and Lawmakers for Passing Law to Crack Down on Puppy Mills

New law provides protection for dogs in one of the country’s top ten puppy producing states

The Humane Society of the United States applauds Gov. John Kasich and members of the Ohio legislature for passing Amended Substitute Senate Bill 130 into law. The law imposes new measures to curb many of the worst abuses of high volume dog breeders that are prevalent in the state.

“The Humane Society of the United States applauds Ohio lawmakers for working to pass this commonsense law to protect dogs and address the worst problems at puppy mills,” said Melanie Kahn, senior director of The HSUS’ Stop Puppy Mills campaign. “No dog should be forced to spend a lifetime in a small wire cage with no human companionship or comfort.”

The new law requires the licensure and annual inspection of high volume breeders that sell 60 dogs or produce at least nine litters in a single calendar year. The law also creates a Commercial Dog Breeding Advisory Board to assist the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture in developing standards, including rules on housing, nutrition, exercise, waste management, grooming, whelping and other general care standards. Additionally, the law prohibits anyone convicted of animal cruelty in the last 20 years from obtaining a license – a provision designed to stop the influx into Ohio of puppy mill operators who have been forced to close their operations in other states due to animal cruelty charges.

“For too many years, the state of Ohio has been known as a haven for low-quality, high-volume breeders that we call ‘puppy mills.’ This is kind of careless treatment of animals is not a reputation that should be attached to our state,” said Ohio Sen. Jim Hughes, R-Columbus. “This legislation has been in the works for nearly a decade and I am proud of the interested parties for their willingness to work together and am grateful to my colleagues in the legislature for taking the final steps to bring this new law to fruition.”

Puppy mills are large-scale commercial dog breeding operations that mass-produce puppies for sale through pet stores, over the Internet and directly to the public. Focused solely on making a profit, these facilities keep dogs in crowded, filthy conditions where they receive little or no socialization, affection or exercise. Breeding dogs are forced to live their entire lives in small cages with no opportunity for exercise or social contact.

Ohio is home to 174 federally-licensed dog breeders and brokers – fifth most in the nation – and to at least another 1,000 additional high volume dog breeders, all of whom will be subject to licensure and inspection under the new state law.

The Ohio law is the latest in a series of recent advances to address animal abuse at puppy mills. On the federal level, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering a rule to apply federal animal welfare standards to breeders who sell dogs directly to consumers. Such breeders are currently exempt from the minimal animal welfare standards that apply to commercial dog breeders who supply pet stores.

Yesterday, The HSUS released an undercover investigation documenting the connections between dozens of pet stores and the puppy mills that supply dogs. The HSUS encourages anyone interested in adding a pet to their family to adopt from an animal shelter or rescue group, or find a reputable dog breeder rather than purchasing a dog online or from a pet store.

For more information about puppy mills, visit humanesociety.org/puppymills

Media contact: Anna West, 301-258-1518, awest@humanesociety.org

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