With Ohio being the second largest puppy mill state, the new anti-puppy-mill legislation (HB 506) which Governor John Kashich signed into law, improving the standards of care for dogs in breeding operations, Ohio is now the leader in the nation for protecting breeding dogs, and has help push the fight forward with bringing an end to commercial breeding operation neglect and cruelty.
The new law bans cruel practices used by commercial breeders such as cramming dogs into cages that are stacked on top of each other and depriving animals of basic necessities, such as routine veterinary care, space to move and exercise. Now, each dog in a high volume breeding facility (six or more dogs) is required to have an annual veterinary examination, be given daily exercise that allows a dog to extend to full stride, play, and engage in other types of mentally stimulating and social behaviors, and enrichment in the environment of a confined dog to enhance the dog’s physical and psychological well-being by providing stimuli that meets the dog’s breed-specific needs. Dogs can no longer be crammed into filthy cages stacked on top of each other, but must be kept in clean enclosures, be provided good food, water and be housed with other dogs in temperature-regulated kennels. The law also limits the number of times a dog can be bred and mandates that only healthy dogs can be bred.
After December 31, 2021, the law will extend to banning wire flooring and will require an increase in the size of the kennels to allow extra space for dogs to move around more freely, There are many other reforms in HB 506, which can be read in its entirety at: https://bit.ly/2P4mI8B.
The new Ohio law has far reaching impact, in that it not only protects and improves the lives of breeding dogs Ohio, but also protects consumers because, regardless of where the the commercial breeding operations are located, they will have to comply to the humane standards as set forth, if they want to sell to Ohio consumers. The new law also holds retailers selling puppies in Ohio accountable and responsible, requiring them to acquire animals solely from breeders who meet these standards.
Under the new laws, the Ohio Department of Agriculture will continue to license and inspect breeders and those found in violation will be required to pay civil penalties. When there is a violation of the state animal cruelty and neglect laws, local law enforcement officials can pursue criminal charges.
While this new law is a huge step forward, the only way to stop puppy mill cruelty is for consumers to stop buying puppies from pet stores and online breeders. If consumers haven’t screened the breeder or personally seen the living conditions of the parents, chances are the cute puppy has come from a puppy mill. Adoption should be the first consideration as there are a lot of great dogs and puppies in shelters and rescues needing homes.
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