History was made today in Ohio when Gov. John Kasich signed into law anti-puppy-mill legislation that implements major reforms designed to improve the lives of breeding dogs. The new law includes a ban on some of the most cruel practices used by commercial dog breeders, like stacking dogs in cages one on top of the other, and keeping the animals in cages with wire flooring.
This law is the result of the tenacious work of an army of volunteers who spent months collecting hundreds of thousands of petition signatures in order to drive change for breeding dogs, and endorsements from more than 450 veterinarians, veterinary clinics, animal rescues and shelters, faith leaders and Ohio businesses. We are grateful to each and every one of them for their hard work.
The bill Gov. Kasich signed today upgrades current commercial dog breeder regulations, which were proven to be weak and difficult to enforce. It is a major step forward in ending puppy mill cruelty in the nation’s second-largest puppy mill state, and will position Ohio as a national leader in protecting breeding dogs from harm. A majority of the new law’s provisions will go into effect 90 days from today, the day of signing.
Standards of care in the new law will allow dogs more space to move around freely in clean enclosures with solid flooring, have proper food, water, exercise and socialization, and receive annual veterinary exams. There will be a limit on the number of times a mother dog can be bred.
This law not only protects breeding dogs but serves to protect the public as well because commercial breeders, regardless of where they are located, will have to adhere to these humane standards if they sell to Ohio consumers. Ohioans often unknowingly buy sick, inbred and weakened dogs from mills, leading to heartache and major veterinary costs.
The Ohio Department of Agriculture will continue to license and inspect breeders under the law and those found in violation will be required to pay civil penalties. When there is a violation of state animal cruelty and neglect laws, local law enforcement officials can pursue criminal charges.
Let us not forget that no law is a silver bullet. To fully stop puppy mill cruelty, Ohio consumers – and Americans everywhere – must refuse to buy puppies from pet stores and online from breeders they haven’t met or screened. Instead, consider adoption first when adding a new companion animal to your family, and today let’s celebrate our huge win in Ohio.