Ohio senate advances groundbreaking reform for puppy mill dogs

By on June 7, 2018 with 13 Comments

We have exciting news to report from Ohio today. In response to our Stop Puppy Mills Ohio ballot initiative campaign, the state legislature has given near-final approval to a bill that brings major reforms designed to improve the lives of breeding dogs. The measure includes a ban on some of the most cruel practices used by commercial dog breeders, like stacking dogs on cages one on top of the other, and keeping the animals in cages with wire flooring.

The bill is a game changer for breeding dogs in the Buckeye State, which has the second largest number of puppy mills in the country after Missouri, and it sets the stage for national reform of commercial dog breeding kennels.

A year ago, the Humane Society of the United States, working together with local allies and some amazing volunteers, launched a campaign in Ohio to place a measure on the ballot that would end cruel practices common in puppy mills. Thousands of volunteers gathered signatures to place the Ohio Puppy Mill Prevention Amendment on the ballot and voters from every county in the state signed.

This groundswell of activism prompted the state legislature to take action. House Bill 506 was originally introduced in January and we were critical of the bill, as it fell short of the changes we judged necessary to fully protect breeding dogs. But motivated legislators listened to what people across the state were saying. Two weeks ago, a committee in the Ohio senate accepted 13 amendments that significantly strengthened the bill to mirror the reforms sought in our ballot measure, and yesterday the bill passed the senate by a sweeping vote of 31 to 1.

Within 90 days of HB 506 being signed into law, practices like stacking dogs in cages will be abolished and, in a first for any state in the nation, no pet retailer will be allowed to acquire puppies from any kennel that fails to meet these standards. Dogs will receive better protection from extreme temperatures and will be provided daily exercise and socialization. These changes will become law before our ballot initiative could even have been voted on. It will be among the strongest anti-puppy mill laws in the country, in the nation’s second largest puppy mill state, and will provide momentum for the national campaign against puppy mills.

We expect the Ohio House of Representatives to concur with the positive changes the senate made to the bill when the house is next in session, which could be this week or next. The bill will then go to the governor for his signature. Once it is enacted into law, we will refocus our energies to extend these kinds of reforms across the nation.

This is a major turn of events and it comes on the heels of state legislation in California and Maryland that bans the sale of commercially raised puppies in pet stores and blistering exposés of problem puppy mills through our 6th annual Horrible Hundred report and the recently published book, “The Doggie in the Window.”

Just 18 months ago, the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation that struck down local laws that regulate the sale of animals in pet stores — a hostile move designed to make it easier for puppy mills to sell into the state of Ohio. Since that time, we have seen a sea change in lawmakers’ attitude, with the General Assembly taking a stand against puppy mills, and adopting meaningful statewide standards for the care of dogs in large-scale commercial breeding operations and the sale of dogs to Ohio consumers, saving tens of thousands of dogs from a life of misery.

This is exactly the kind of change we work for each day here at the Humane Society of the United States. A big thank you to everyone who worked to help the dogs caught up in Ohio’s puppy mills — we couldn’t have done it without you.

Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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  1. Mchele OBrien says:

    This is great news. As someone who has a dog that was rescued from a Puppy Mill I am well aware that these dogs are often not healthy. It has taken a great deal of time, love, patience and money to make my little girl as healthy as possible and she is soon to be on her way to the Vet for a potential second surgery on one of her legs. NO matter the problems…..she is now a deeply loved little baby and the love she gives in return is amazing.

    • Jeanette Branco says:

      I think thats great these dogs need all the love they can get. Great news about the puppy mills very happy to hear that.

  2. Doris Muller says:

    While I appreciate the work of HSUS, I am skeptical of how this will truly help. Mills are secluded, and profit-hungry creeps who own these despicable hell-holes are very cunning at hiding their atrocities. And cruel operators, when charged with cruelty, basically receive a slap on the wrist, and they are allowed to carry on. There isn’t sufficient oversight of these operations. Will there be more funding to manage the oversight?

    “In fact, if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty,
    but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of
    commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at
    stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.”–Ruth Harrison, Animal Machines

    • Linda L Begovich says:

      I agree with you but to me the worse problem in PUPPY MILLS is they continuously have the females breed puppies till they no longer can and die from this task. That really is horrible and these mills need to be shut down. What sick people they are. I’m not sure the government even knows that each female is constantly used time after time to bare puppies till she can’t any longer.

      • Jeanette Branco says:

        I agree they should be shut down. Its time why are they still even around to operate, sad.

    • Fawn Rinehart says:

      These kind of laws should be on the books and ENFORCED in EVERY State, and in every country around the world. I agree with the comment left by Doris Muller. I guess private citizens will have to be the eyes, ears, and mouths to protect these animals and make sure the justice is served!

  3. Doris Muller says:

    Another thing: Just as a day care for human babies is not allowed to operate without sufficient help, mills should not be allowed to operate as “large scale” operations without adequate staff. Mature dogs and puppies have equal ability to suffer with the very same needs as babies: food, water, health, environmental conditions, elimination needs, happy times, freedom of movement, grooming, cleanliness, human attention and special needs.

    Animals under total human dependence, regardless of circumstances, become victims of abuse and cruelty, when their tormentors are poorly regulated. Mills should not be allowed to operate at at any scale level for which they don’t have adequate staff to honor the needs of the totally dependent prisoners.

    Animal mills need harsh regulations to comply to BEFORE they go into the animals-as-production-machines business. Instead society is always trying to close the door after the fact.


  4. Sylvia Diop says:

    Animals should all be fixed before giving to the public. That would do away with over population, and the cost to everyone, especially what these left behind animals are born I to. There should be certain organizations only that can breed animals, fix them before they get to take them. It’s like leaving a baby to get hurt or die. Animals already out in the world, people should be allowed to get them fixed for free for a year, after that someone getting caught breeding, and having a animal not fixed should get fifteen years in jail, and a huge fine twenty thousand first time. These animals need help, I really cannot afford a animal, but I have one because of this unhuman world. On the street hungry, scared. I Love animals but financialy it is challenging
    The world need to take care of this breeding problem, responsible people should have access to a fixed animal, and if need be responsible to taking animal back if need be. It would save money in the long run, and mostly it would help these animals

  5. Tom says:

    Ohio has many laws on the books about dogs. Many of which go unenforced. Its easy to write a law, enforcement is something else.
    For one example, ohio requires that dogs be properly restrained at all times. Unless on an official capacity such as hunting during specified legal hunting seasons or as a law enforcement k9.
    Still, residents across the state continue to allow their pets to roam freely in violation. Many of the pets end up dead along our states highways or shot under fear of property owners being faced with strays wondering onto their property.
    I commend Ohio for taking action and using the owner responsibility wisdom mentality towards ownership.

    Now its up to dog wardens and law enforcement to police.

  6. Barbara Benander says:

    HB 506 states that pregnant and postpartum dogs in Ohio’s puppy mills are NOT required to have daily exercise! See Sec. 956.031, (O). So sad for those dogs. Read the bill at https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-506 – click on “View Current Version”.

  7. Sherry says:

    The puppy mill industry must be completely shut down. These horror chambers add well over 2 million babies to a broken system that in turn euthanizes thousands of young, healthy dogs in shelters, each and every day. Our laws are pathetic and inexcusable. Low life people profiting from the suffering of innocent, helpless animals.

  8. Sherry says:

    The AKC is another vile organization that makes large profits from puppy mills. They care nothing about animal welfare. Inexcusable. I’m sure a lot of authorities are taking a hand out to turn a blind eye to the hideous cruelty!

  9. Cecily Morris says:

    It’s a start- all “MILLS”, PUPPY/KITTEN should be against the law.
    Most pups have never felt the grass under their feet.
    This is a sick “business” taking advantage of those who have no voice.

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