Ohioans support protecting dogs from puppy mill cruelty

Puppy mills are commercial dog breeding facilities that disregard the health and wellbeing of the animals in order to maximize profits, resulting in a miserable existence for the mill dogs. Ohioans overwhelmingly reject puppy mills and support securing protections for dogs in the state constitution. A poll conducted by Lake Research Partners in April 2017 clearly shows that Ohio voters want these protections for dogs. Data indicates that over three-quarters (77%) of voters would vote YES, with 60% of those voters feeling strongly about their support. Over six times as many voters say they will strongly support this measure versus those who say they would vote NO (60% strongly YES compared to 9% total NO).

A 2015 Harris Poll showed that 95% of Americans say their pets are part of their family. Yet there is a massive divide between how families treat their pets and how commercial breeders who mass produce puppies for sale treat the dogs in their care. This measure seeks to close that divide, ensuring all dogs receive humane treatment.

Ohio is a major puppy mill state

Ohio continues to be an infamous puppy mill state, despite the current law that on paper might seem to adequately regulate the commercial breeding industry. The Commercial Dog Breeders Act, effective since 2013, has failed to solve Ohio’s puppy mill problem because hundreds of puppy mills are able to escape oversight, its standards are too weak and enforcement is difficult. Also, Ohio law does nothing to ensure that dogs sold into Ohio originated from humane breeders.

Twelve Ohio breeders appeared in The Humane Society of the United States “Horrible Hundred 2017” report, demonstrating the animal welfare issues that persist in Ohio puppy mills, including:

  • Dogs in immediate need of veterinary care, including dogs who were found to be weak, lethargic, limping and suffering from sores, skin lesions and severe matting, and dogs potentially exposed to illness from dead, decomposing puppies
  • Enclosures that were filthy with feces and other grime
  • Rusted wire cages and unsafe structures
  • Insufficient and filthy food and water 

Ohio is second only to Missouri in number of federally licensed commercial breeding facilities. As of June 2017, there were 260 USDA-licensed commercial breeders in Ohio and 263 state-licensed high volume breeders. According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, there are nearly 900 breeders on their “action list” of facilities that might need to be licensed and inspected by the state, but the agency cannot decipher whether or not they meet the current law’s threshold of selling at least 9 litters and 60 puppies per calendar year.

This measure requires the humane treatment of dogs in both Ohio commercial breeding facilities and out-of-state facilities that sells dogs to Ohio consumers.

The measure will help prevent puppy mill cruelty by establishing welfare standards for any breeder with 8 or more breeding females and requiring that any person who sells 15 or more dogs into Ohio only sells dogs who come from breeders that meet those same standards.

The measure requires dogs to be treated humanely, requiring the following:

  • Constant access to potable water and access to nutritious food at least twice daily
  • Clean, unstacked, indoor enclosures with solid flooring and significantly larger space requirements than current law
  • Unfettered access to outdoor exercise areas at least twice the size of the indoor enclosure
  • Protections from extreme temperatures and elements and access to temperature controlled indoor areas
  • Proper veterinary care, including prompt treatment of injuries and illnesses, regular hands on exams, and vaccinations
  • Socialization with humans and housing with other compatible dogs
  • Safe breeding practices, including limits on how often and how many times a dog may be bred, and genetic screening

Please join Stop Puppy Mills Ohio to put an end to puppy mill cruelty in Ohio!