Puppy mill amendment could bring breeding dogs more protection

Published on 9/19 by Cleveland 19 News

More regulations could be coming to Ohio puppy mills after animal rights activists take another step to change the law.

The Ohio Puppy Mill Prevention Amendment is moving forward after Attorney General Mike DeWine certified the petition to amend the state constitution.

Changes under the amendment include requiring breeders to keep dogs in bigger cages and to give them more exercise.

The changes may sound small, but animal activists say they would go far when it comes to improving the lives of these puppies.

“These animals are living in, a lot of times, two by two cages, barely room enough to stand up, move around, and lie back down,” said Greg Willey, the executive director of the Lorain County Friendship Animal Protective League based in Elyria.

Willey has seen the conditions inside of puppy mills firsthand.

“A lot of times they just spin in place when you first bring them into the shelter because they've only known that confinement. So even as they get bigger, into bigger spaces or play yards, they just spin in concentric circles over and over again because that's all they've ever known to do,” he said.

The Ohio Puppy Mill Prevention Amendment would change that, requiring dogs to have between 12 and 30 square feet of space depending on their size.

It would also give them access to food and water at least twice a day.

“This measure doesn't end, unfortunately, puppy mills. It is just bringing them up to a standard of care which we think most Ohioans would be comfortable with. If you were to see them, I think most people would be astonished at the conditions,” Willey said.

Dogs will need to be screened for genetic disorders before breeding, according to the proposal.

They would not be allowed to produce more than six litters in their lifetime.

If this passes, Willey says Ohio will be one of the first states with puppy mill standards like this.

“This would put us ahead of the curve, this is a step in the right direction,” he said.

Shelters like Friendship APL rescue dogs from puppy mills that are scheduled to be put down.

Then they give them a chance at finding a loving home through adoption.

“It's always important to remember, you're saving a life. And that gives us the opportunity to go out and bring another animal into our shelter,” Willey said.

Dog breeders who sell more than 15 puppies a year will have to meet these standards if this is approved.

The measure now goes to the Ohio Ballot Board and will need more than 300,000 more signatures before voters could see it on next November's ballot.

If the measure passes, lawmakers will have to come up with a records system to track puppy mills across the state and find a way to enforce the law within 120 days.

Breeders who break the law could face misdemeanor charges. You can learn more about the proposal here.

Read the orginal article here.