Ohio’s new puppy mills law, one of the strongest in nation, takes effect today

By on September 28, 2018 with 34 Comments

Starting today, commercial breeders in Ohio can no longer cram dogs into cages that are stacked on top of each other and deprive animals of basic necessities, like space to move, exercise and access to veterinary care. A pathbreaking new law that goes into effect today upgrades standards of care for dogs kept in breeding kennels that churn out large numbers of puppies, also called puppy mills.

Under the new law, each dog must be given daily exercise that allows the animal to extend to full stride, play and engage in other types of mentally stimulating and social behaviors, receive an annual veterinary exam, and be housed with other dogs in temperature-regulated kennels, among other reforms. The law also mandates that only healthy dogs can be bred, and limits the number of times a female dog can be bred. It requires retailers selling puppies in Ohio to acquire animals solely from breeders who meet these standards, regardless of what state they are in.

After 2021, the law will ban wire flooring and will require an increase in the size of the kennels.

Today is the culmination of years of work to improve the lives of dogs in Ohio and advocates all across the country have reason to celebrate. This is one of the strongest puppy mill laws on the books anywhere in the United States, and I want to commend our colleagues in the Humane Society of the United States puppy mills campaign, our Ohio State Director Corey Roscoe and the many volunteers in the state who worked long and hard for this outcome. We also thank Gov. John Kasich for signing this bill into law. This is a major victory for companion animals and their welfare, and we hope it will set the trend for more states to pass similar legislation to stop some of the most abusive practices in puppy mills.

As if we needed more evidence of the harm puppy mills cause to both animals and humans, a new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals what we have long suspected: that commercial dog breeders, transporters and pet stores are routinely giving puppies strong antibiotics to prevent disease, rather than to treat it. Using antibiotics widely and recklessly in this way renders them ineffective in fighting human and animal diseases and conditions by contributing to drug-resistant strains. Already, we know of one zoonotic disaster caused by such antibiotic use: the study revealed that a number of puppy-selling pet stores, including Petland, were linked to a disease outbreak caused by an antibiotic resistant strain of campylobacter, a disease-causing bacterium. The outbreak is known to have infected at least 118 people, with some ending up in the hospital.

The CDC has called for the commercial dog breeding industry to be more judicious in its use of antibiotics, but those of us who fight this problem daily know that much more work is needed before these problems can be erased.

We also need to work to keep new, exploitative practices from taking hold. For instance, a practice called “pet leasing” has been growing in popularity and has come under the spotlight in recent years. Predatory marketers lease out pets to people for a period of time and then allow them to make a final balloon payment to keep these pets. There have been well-publicized cases of consumers who had no idea they were leasing their new four-legged family member and were terrified their pet would be taken away from them because they missed a payment.

California and Nevada have already passed laws against pet leasing, and this week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had earlier committed to “create a stronger, more humane New York,” signed a law banning this practice in his state. Kudos to our New York staff and volunteers who pushed for the passage of this bill.

Our work to fight puppy mills is one of our most important priorities at the Humane Society of the United States. Our federal and state legislative teams, attorneys, puppy mills campaign staff, investigative team and our Animal Rescue Team attack this problem from every angle, whether it’s reaching consumers through education, working with pet supply stores, taking unscrupulous online puppy sellers to court, collaborating with responsible breeders and other stakeholders, helping pass state and federal laws, saving animals from terrible situations in puppy mills, conducting undercover investigations, and raising awareness about puppy mills through our annual Horrible Hundred report. Every victory we achieve takes us closer to the day we can end this scourge once and for all.

You can do your part too, by making the right choice when you acquire your next companion animal: from a shelter, a rescue group, or a responsible breeder, and not from an internet seller or a pet store or a puppy mill. America needs a fundamental change in how dogs are raised and sold here, and as the victory in Ohio shows, we can work together to make that change happen.

P.S. You can also help fight puppy mills by coming to our Puppy Mill Action Boot Camp in Malvern, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. The boot camp, which will run from Oct. 20-21, will help anti-puppy-mill advocates learn how to work with lawmakers, speak to the media, and organize grassroots efforts. It includes eight workshops, four meals, many dynamic expert speakers and even some fun surprises, all for only a $25 registration fee. Hotel discounts are available for those who register by Sept. 29, so sign up now.

Categories
Companion Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative)

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34 Comments

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  1. Debra Taylor says:

    NATIONAL REGISTRY OF ANIMAL ABUSERS!

    • Cindy Butler says:

      I believe all puppy mills should be illegal. I also believe that the owners of puppy mills should be put in cages when they take the animals out,put the owners in, leave them in there for 2 or 3 months, feeding them once a day and never let them out of their cages until 3 months are up. That is what I would love to see happen.

  2. Nancy Ferguson says:

    How are the new requirements enforced and what are the penalties? I pray OH is successful in their efforts and other states will adapt. What are the chances of getting the dept of ag out of the picture and having state inspectors? Thank you for all your efforts and congratulation on this achievement!

    • Sa dy says:

      Who is going to be checking all these puppy mills to make sure they are following the law. This is why it keeps going on because there’s nobody to to check up on them and take appropriate action.

    • Kim says:

      Exactly. We need the mills shut down so the suffering can end..and what about the Amish? Are they above these laws they have most of ohio mills.

      • Melissa syler says:

        I agree I have reported some horrible things I have seen at amish places

        • Kathie Douglas says:

          We rescued our beautiful Joey from an Amish Puppy Mill in Northern Wisconsin!
          He was a mess when we got him but years of excellent vet care and tons of love made his life so much better! He had almost every organ in his body damaged by these terrible people!
          So unnecessary and horrible!
          It broke our hearts seeing him go through everything he had to go through throughout his life! He lived for over 14 years and just recently had to be put to sleep. It was the worst day of our lives! I am still not over it and I grieve every day for him. I am hoping we can get another dog in the future. He is just so irreplaceable.
          But we know that they’re is another dog out there that needs us!
          So maybe next year.

  3. Barb Workman` says:

    I would like to see a limit on number of times a animal can be bred. Set a fat registration fee and unannounced visits to all sites that breed for inspection. Let’s close all loopholes and get tough ! Failure to do this would put said family on a list never to sell another pet.

    • Nancy says:

      The article says it will limit the number of times a female can be bred but it doesn’t say what that number is.

    • Jim Muha says:

      You obviously didn’t bother to read the article. They mention a limit on how many times they can be bred.

      • Joyce Axford says:

        Jim Muha, Nancy did say the article states it will limit the number of times a dog can be bred. She also stated the article does not say what that number is. So in other words is the limit on breeding 3 times, 5 times???

  4. Alison Eccleston says:

    Fantastic! Wonderful news! Now to make sure it is followed and enforced!
    And…..forced throughout America Canada and hopefully one day throughout the world!
    Best pet is one that is rescued!

  5. Laura Burkhardt says:

    AMEN!! So very happy that this has happened! Animals are not soulless commodities and it’s about time that they are defended!

  6. Lori says:

    This is such wonderful news, but why do these poor animals have to wait for humane treatment until 2021?!?!?

    • Frannie obrien says:

      My exact question why wait to 2021 ???

    • Karen says:

      As far as the wire floors, my guess is the cost to the people selling to replace the cage…. Which is REDICULOUS!!! Who cares! I’m sure they’ve made PLENTY of money over the years…. To give them two years is unforgivable!! Just my opinion!!

  7. God bless you for the work you do says:

    God bless you for the work you do

  8. John Agricola says:

    I find it impossible to believe that this law will change anything. Who will enforce this law? Who will go onto Amish farms and inspect conditions? The Amish in Ohio are viewed as quaint and are certainly given “hands-off” treatment by the law, but the Amish have no soul when it comes to their running of puppy mills.

    • Bonnie Lauterborn says:

      I never purchase any item made by the Amish. Hoping others will follow suit.

      • Kelly says:

        While I push for adoption through shelters and rescues…..There are MANY honest reputable Amish breeders that far outweigh the few bad apples. I get tired of hearing the hypocrital statements that Amish are cruel to their animals. Animal cruelty and neglect in the English world by FAR outweighs in staggering numbers every day all over the Country compared to the Amish. Like I said,there are many good,caring,compassionate,reputable Amish breeders out there that are doing it right. I know this first hand because I live in the second largest Amish community in the Country.

        • Sharon Vanasdal says:

          NOT IN MY AREA IN OHIO!!! dogs are considered agriculture, not companion animals! Breed sell, breed and sell… My friend lives across the road from amish, as she visited them, the husband shot their dog as it was ‘not keeping the rabbits out of the garden’ and considered useless. We have the old order and they have the old rules,,,have as many kids as possible for free farm help!
          .

        • Katie Cather says:

          Per capita, the Amish probably treat animals worse than any other community. Of course there may be “good apples,” but their reputation with carriage horses, (refusing to vet treat when injuries have been pointed out to neglect); penned deer farms with diseases–a few with CWD that escaped; and their notorious puppy mills say it all. Per capita, the rest of the English world does NOT outweigh the staggering Amish animal abuse and cruelty cases. And these are only the ones where they’ve been caught.

        • Regina Barton says:

          No, there are not “caring” Amish breeders.

          They say themselves they see animals as objects, to be treated like objects for profit.

          They say themselves they should be able to commit any abuse to an animal that they want to.

          Their own words!

          But they love to have people believe in fairy tales. They laugh all the way to the bank.

  9. Lori surdam says:

    I just want to see it enforced… Laws are laws, but enforcing them is a whole other story 😕

  10. Fran Leard says:

    Every state should have this law passed to protect the innocent abused animals. The courts need to impose very strict jail time for these cowards who abuse and kill them.
    They have dragged their feet too long on prosecuting these cowards.

  11. A. Tyrrell Ecker says:

    How about a law that requires AKC to do their due diligence to make sure these requirements have been met by the breeders before they get money for registrations ……if they really care, they should be doings some of the work, not just collecting the millions in registration fees.

    • Katie Cather says:

      AKC cannot “enforce anything–as they try to depict themselves–because they’ve got a huge conflict of interest. For example, say they’ve got a puppy mill breeder, who keeps paying the fees. Does anyone really think that puppy miller is going to get any kind if an in-depth inspection from AKC, even after receiving a complaint? The puppy miller will only show one litter, in their house, and make it all look puppy perfect–it’s a sham.

  12. Penny says:

    Get tougher, only Rescue and shelter animals sold in pet stores.

  13. Doris Muller says:

    These new laws are a great start, but they are not the fix-all. Those who profit from this disgusting business don’t care about their victims, their only goal is profit. These mills are hidden from the general public and the ag dept *will not*/can not monitor the operations sufficiently. These mills are owned primarily by conscienceless individuals who WILL NOT be intimidated by laws that they know will not be enforced.

    I suggest the powers-that-be find a solution for successfully overseeing these operations of cruelty. Perhaps they could consider a volunteer force trained to monitor operations in their counties.

    Animals have enormous capacity to suffer. It should not be legal for businesses to profit at the expense of defenseless victims. The best solution to these hell holes is for PUPPY MILLS TO BE A THING OF THE PAST!

  14. Mary Ann Kralovic says:

    It is awesome that this is now a law but why not just get rid of puppy mills all together. It is inhumane for dogs to be bred over and over again just for money hungry people to make a buck on these poor animals. Disqusting and cruel!!!

    • Regina Barton says:

      Mary Ann, Big Agriculture protects its own, and puppy mills are part of Big Ag.

      The AKC also profits from puppy mills, despite their lying about it.

      When there are wealthy people who hire million dollar lobbyists to oppose laws, the animals lose too often.

      That is why more of the public needs to join in this fight.

      Take it to the politicians who support this through Big Ag and breeders.

  15. Karen Green says:

    Will the Amish have to adhere to these new laws, also will they be enforced? There are several Amish communities here in Ohio and they play a huge part in puppy mills. I have heard many horror stories of how the Amish treat the animals.

  16. Betsy G Weathers says:

    I hate puppy mills and think they should all be shut down. These are lives, not commodities. I can’t understand why our government lets them get away with taking in so much “tax free” money….and they do. I want them to shut down because of the animals but I wish the government would realize how much money they lose and stop them.

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