State board clears way for ‘puppy mill’ issue backers to gather signatures

Published 9/22 by The Colombus Dispatch

The Ohio Ballot Board has cleared the way for backers of a proposed “puppy mill” constitutional amendment to gather signatures to put the issue to a statewide vote next year.

The five-member board Friday agreed that the proposed Ohio Puppy Mill Prevention Amendment, aimed at enacting restrictions on large-scale dog breeders, is a single issue. That means supporters of the proposal now can begin the task of gathering 305,591 valid signatures of registered voters from 44 of 88 Ohio counties.

If they succeed, the issue will be put on the ballot for the November 2018 election.

The Humane Society of the United States, working with a coalition of local and national animal-welfare organizations, is backing the amendment.

The proposal would require large-scale breeders to keep dogs in larger enclosures with solid floors, and give them access to adequate exercise, food, water and veterinary care. It would not apply to hobby breeders with eight or fewer dogs.

The ballot amendment comes nine months after the General Assembly, in response to a Grove City case, voted to block Ohio cities from regulating where pet stores buy puppies. Grove City wanted to ban Petland pet stores from buying puppies from large breeders which did not meet all standards. Legislators approved a statewide puppy mill law in 2012 requiring large-scale breeders to meet tighter licensing and inspection rules, but backers of the new issue want state legislators to take stronger action.

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