Time to end puppy mills

Published 9/29 by The Blade

Ohio’s lawmakers have made several attempts over the years to address the issue of abhorrent, unregulated puppy mills, but failed to end the abusive and inhumane animal trade they perpetuate.

But a new initiative to let voters take direct action holds the most promise in years at cracking down on puppy mills.

No pet lover wants his companion to come from the brutal and disgusting conditions in puppy mills, where dogs are bred without care for their health or well-being. Again and again, investigations have revealed such operations in Ohio are cruel and unethical.

In recent years, the General Assembly has made several attempts to regulate commercial dog breeding, but has always fallen short. The Commercial Dog Breeder Act took steps to address the issue, but was not sufficient to eliminate the state’s puppy mills.

In fact, the General Assembly has taken the state backward by nullifying home-rule ordinances in cities — including Toledo — that regulated where pet shops could buy puppies.

Now advocates are gathering signatures to get the Ohio Puppy Mill Prevention Act on the ballot. If approved by voters, it would create a constitutional amendment requiring professional dog breeding operations with eight or more unspayed female dogs to provide adequate food and water for dogs, sufficient space for them to move and stretch out, a minimum level of veterinary care, and socialization with humans and other dogs.

Breeders also would have to responsibly breed animals, screening for congenital disorders and limiting the frequency and number of litters that female dogs produce.

This sounds like the bare minimum conditions for humanely treating dogs.

Most important, the measure would require pet sellers in Ohio to get their puppies only from licensed breeders who meet these minimum-care standards.

Dog lovers do not want to unwittingly contribute to demand that sustains the puppy mills that keep dogs in cramped, dirty pens, breeding them over and over with little to no veterinary care. These establishments are beyond inhumane; they are barbaric.

The initiative seeking signatures to get on the ballot would give voters the opportunity to tighten Ohio’s regulations enough to eliminate this systemic brutality. Voters can and should do what the General Assembly has failed to do: End the puppy mills once and for all.

Read the original editorial here.