Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Great News in the Fight Against Puppy Bills & Dog Auctions

An update from Mary O'Conner-Shaver of Columbus Top Dogs:

March 9, 2009

Dear Companion Pet Lovers ~

I wanted to share with you some important updates on efforts taking place across our country to raise awareness of puppy mills, dog auctions, pet stores and the entities that support and keep them in business. Also, we invite you to join supporters of the WI Puppy Mill Project in their peaceful protest of the Thorp Dog Auction on Wednesday, March 11, 2009 in Thorp Wisconsin.

* General information on the WI Puppy Mill Project -
* Times and Directions -
* The Auction Catalog -

From the desk of Eilene Ribbens, Founder of the WI Puppy Mill Project:

"Dog auctions are a tragic embarrassment to Wisconsin and it's humane-minded citizens. We have been asked if people should "buy" or rescue" these dogs. We are asking for an all-out boycott of this event. We have studied the numbers from past auctions and believe that the dogs being offered at this auction are not mill cast-offs but were, in many cases, purposely bred to supply AUCTION BUYERS, including rescue groups."

"Buying at the auction will simply mean that it will be profitable. If it is profitable it will continue and MORE dogs will be bred for sale at future Thorp Dog Auctions. That said, we do understand compassion for the dogs being sold on March 11, 2009 and know that there will be some who will buy. We understand both sides of the situation, and hope that in the long run, not buying will produce the best outcome to end these auctions altogether."

1. COLORADO. Legislation introduced on January 21 in Colorado that would have limited the number of dogs breeders could keep and mandate veterinary certification exams for commercially bred dogs has been set aside indefinitely. The Colorado House Agriculture Committee voted on January 28 to table H.B. 1172, and no further hearings are scheduled at this time. The puppy mill bill, if passed in its proposed form, would:

* Limit the number of adult, unaltered dogs a breeder can maintain
* Mandate annual veterinary exams
* Prohibit individuals convicted of animal cruelty of obtaining a breeder license

2. CONNECTICUT. Lawmakers this year will decide whether pet owners should get double their money back from stores that sell them puppies, kittens and other animals with chronic disease or disabilities. Groups such as the Westport Coalition Against Puppy Mills, whose members include G. Kenneth Bernhard, a lawyer and former state representative from Westport, believe that wronged pet owners need more recourse. They want to be able to claim back twice the purchase price of defective animals. Bernhard said that coalition members reviewing records, traced many puppies for sale in Connecticut pet stores to so-called puppy mills in Pennsylvania and points west. "Some had some horrific violations," Bernhard said, adding that owners have been stuck with huge veterinary bills.

For more information, we invite you to view the article, "Pet 'Lemon Law' unleashed at hearing" - >

3. IDAHO. On February 17, announcement was made that an animal cruelty bill that teamed the agricultural community and a local animal welfare group together is dead for the 2009 session because of infighting between two animal welfare groups.

For more information, we invite you to view the article, "Animal Cruelty bill fails to enter legislature" - >

4. ILLINOIS. On January 19, announcement of a Puppy Mill bill, sponsored by state Senators John Fritchey (D-Chicago) and Dan Kotowski (D-Mt. Prospect), was introduced into the Illinois state legislature. Named after a sole survivor of a puppy mill in Downstate Macon County, Chloe's Bill (H.B. 198) would have a positive impact on ending puppy mills in Illinois. The legislation, if passed in its proposed form, would:

* Create a Dog Breeder License Act, which would prevent breeders from having more than 20 unaltered dogs.
* Prohibit individuals from obtaining a dog-breeding license if they have been convicted of a felony animal-cruelty crime, including dog fighting.
* Require dog breeders to keep dogs in buildings without wire flooring and with sufficient heating, cooling and ventilation.
* Require pet stores and breeders to provide potential pet buyers with the dog's full medical history, information of spaying and neutering and information about any prior medical care.
* Establish penalties starting with fines and escalating to having animals seized and breeding operations shut down.

5. INDIANA. H.B. 1468 passed the Indiana House on February 18, and has now been assigned to the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal and Civil Matters (hearing to be announced). The proposed legislation is hitting some significant barriers from stakeholders tied to the commercial breeding industry. They are recommending:

* Either changing the number of unaltered dogs that a breeder can have from 30 to 50 or completely eliminating the cap altogether
* Removing the sections on requiring a breeding dog to be retired from breeding at eight years of age and limiting the number of litters a dog can produce to one per year.
* Removing the exercise requirement.
* Remove the requirement for illumination.

If adopted, H.B. 1468 would:

* Define a commercial breeder as someone who whelps more than 10 litters of puppies in a 12 month period.
* Limit 30 breeding dogs per location. (A breeding dog is defined as an unaltered dog over one year of age.)
* Require commercial breeders to register with the state, and then renew their registration every four years.
* Require commercial breeders to maintain sanitary conditions.
* Require commercial breeders to have a method in place in which to dispose of animal waste.
* Require commercial breeders to protect animals from parasites and vermin.
* Require breeding facilities to have either artificial or natural light available in areas where dogs are kept and ventilation.
* Require commercial breeding dogs have access to an exercise area at least one hour per day.
* Require commercial breeders to hire employees that have not been convicted of animal fighting or variations of Indiana Codes pertaining to animal abuse, neglect and torture.
* Require commercial breeders to offer a "Guarantee" for each dog and puppy, which would include a 15 day guarantee against disease and a one year guarantee against genetic defects. The guarantee would require a veterinary certification; the opportunity for the dog to be returned or exchanged; and limits reimbursement for veterinary bills to the cost of the puppy.
* Require breeding dogs be between the ages of 18 months and eight years and be checked by a vet annually. The bill limits the number of litters a breeding female can whelp to one every 12 months.
* Prohibit cities and counties from passing laws less stringent than the state law.

For more details concerning this legislation, we invite you to read the article, "IN Lawmakers Crack Down on Animal Cruelty and Puppy Mills" - > The proposed bill can be read here - >

6. IOWA. A proposed puppy mill bill, which will allow inspectors from the state Department of Agriculture into a USDA facility upon receipt of a complaint, is moving to a vote on the floors of both the House and Senate within the next two weeks! A HUGE thanks to supporter, Mary Lahay, for her tireless efforts to help draft this legislation!

Click here to view a copy of the House version - >

For more information on Mary's efforts, we invite you to view the article, "wants puppy mill bill changed" -

7. MONTANA. A Ballantine woman's animal cruelty case caught the attention of Montana lawmakers and has prompted several bills aimed at regulating dog breeders and animal hoarders.In December, authorities seized 189 living dogs and numerous dead dogs from Linda Kapsa's Shady Lane Kennels, triggering an animal cruelty case that prosecutors believe was the largest seizure of animals in the state. Animal rescue officials, on the scene during the seizure, described Kapsa as an animal hoarder and said her operation could be described as a puppy mill.Sen. Mitch Tropila (D-Great Falls) introduced a bill that would add hoarding to the state's list of animal cruelty offenses, and Rep. Dave McAlpin, D-Missoula, is introducing a bill that would require commercial breeders - those with 20 or more adult dogs - to register with the state and submit to annual surprise inspections. Registration would come with a $415 biannual fee to cover the cost of inspections.

For more information, we invite you to view the article, "Proposed legislation would place stricter regulations on breeders" - >

8. MARYLAND. The Maryland Legislature is currently considering two identical bills, S.B. 318 and H.B. 495, which would address the commercial dog breeding industry. If passed, the proposed legislation would cap the number of breeding dogs who can be kept at a single facility at 50 adult dogs.

Click here to view a copy of the bills - >

9. NEBRASKA. Legislation introduced on February 2 in Nebraska that would have limited the number of dogs breeders could keep and mandate veterinary certification exams for commercially bred dogs has been set aside indefinitely.

Senator Ken Haar introduced LB 677, a bill that aims to strictly regulate commercial dog breeders in Nebraska by establishing ownership limits and dog breeding restrictions. If adopted, LB 677 would:

* By April 1, 2010, restrict all those defined as "commercial breeders" under existing Nebraska law to owning no more than 75 dogs over the age of four months.
* Limit the breeding of purebred dogs only to dogs between the ages of 18 months and eight years of age.
* Mandate the implementation of kennel requirements, including but not limited to, climate conditions, enclosures, building materials, and construction.

For more information, we invite you to view the article, "Farm Bureau wary of potential pet, livestock linkage" -

10. NEW YORK. A new puppy mill bill is expected to be introduced in 2009.

To educate citizens about the horrific abuse taking place in those "beautiful white barns", Puppymill Rescue Inc. invites animal advocates from across the country to participate in the second annual "Bark Heard around the World" to be held at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY from 10AM - 4PM on Sat., May 30th, 2009. To learn more about this event, we invite you to visit the website - >

11. OHIO. A new puppy mill bill is expected to be introduced by Rep. Cheryl Grossman this week which would be similar to legislation currently being introduced in Indiana (see above). The bill, which is being supported by HSUS, will focus on capping the number of breeding dogs (unaltered dogs over the age of four months) allowed at a facility and shelter standards - flooring, kennel size, exercise provisions, feeding, cleaning and veterinarian care.

Also, Ohio's constitution does allow for ballot initiatives and as many of you are aware, Ohio voters and taxpayers aren't bashful about putting initiatives on the ballot. Since the passage of Proposition 2 in California, there has been a lot of speculation as to what state might be next, Ohio has been one of the states mentioned. It is our hope that a ballot initiative to ban dog auctions may be a very real possibility for 2009.

For more details concerning this initiative, we invite you to read the article, "Animal advocates may push for a ban on dog auctions" -

12. OKLAHOMA. The Oklahoma Pet Quality Assurance and Protection Act, H.B. 1332, passed the House committee vote on March 4 with a wide margin of 74 to 26 in favor of the bill. and will be voted on in the full House in the very near future.

The proposed legislation would mandate USDA standards as a minimum for all facilities
selling, trading or adopting out over 25 dogs, cats, kittens or puppies in a year. This means that if your dogs are housed in cages instead of your home, the cages must be at least six inches longer than the dog and must have six inches of headroom.

For more details concerning this legislation, we invite you to read the article, "OK House to Vote on Puppy Mill Bill" - >

13. OREGON. The Oregon legislature is considering a bill, H. B. 2470, to provide protection for breeding dogs in commercial kennels. The first hearings on the bill were held February 23 by the House Committee on Consumer Protection.

In addition to mandating minimum living conditions, the bill restricts the size of commercial breeding kennels to a maximum of 25 unaltered dogs four months or older. It also protects consumers with a tracking system which give buyers of sick or deformed animals a way to recover damages if the seller did not disclose congenital defects at the time of purchase.

Click here to view a link to the bill - >

For more details concerning this legislation, we invite you to read the article, "Oregon puppy mill hearing draws huge crowd" - >

14. PENNSYLVANIA. With a vote of 192 for and 0 against, House Bill 39, amending Pennsylvania's Crimes Code for animal cruelty and introduced by Representative Tom Caltagirone(D-Berks), passed in today's session. The proposed legislation will impose criminal penalties for specific medical procedures if not performed by a licensed veterinarian including debarking, c-section births and tail docking. The act of ear cropping by anyone other than a vet is already prohibited in Pennsylvania.The legislation now heads for the Senate.15. TENNESSEE. State lawmakers are trying diligently to curb bad breeding operations by regulating breeders and creating an inspection process. H.B. 386 (Sontany & Maggart)/S.B. 258 (Jackson) are bills intended to put an end to what many call puppy mills. The proposed legislation would require any breeder with more than 20 animals to pay a $500 licensing fee to the state. If you have more than 40, it goes up to $1,000. Commercial breeders would be required to comply with a mandatory inspection and licensing program administered by the Dept of Agriculture and meet a minimum standard of care and housing.

For more information, we invite you to view the article, "Senator Hopes Legislation Ends Puppy Mills" - >

Also, H.B. 1433 (Sontany)/S.B. 1322 (Berke) would prohibit public animal sales (parking lots and roadside sales) and provide restrictions on companion animals sold at flea markets. The proposed legislation would also prohibit the use of any live animal as a prize in a contest, raffle, or promotion.

16. WASHINGTON. In the wake of the recent seizures of hundreds of sick or neglected dogs from alleged puppy mill operations in Skagit and Snohomish counties, state lawmakers are considering a bill that would regulate breeders who own a large number of dogs. A Senate committee on Monday discussed the bill, which would provide "humanitarian requirements for certain dog breeding practices" by limiting breeders to keeping a maximum of 25 dogs at any one location and also by setting strict guidelines for the housing and care of the animals.

For more details concerning this legislation, we invite you to read the article, "Lawmakers Consider Bill Targeting Puppy Mills - >

17. WISCONSIN. We invite you to read the following article in this past weekend's issue of The Isthmus regarding the growing problem of commercial breeding kennels in Wisconsin - Your feedback to the reporter - - is encouraged and welcomed!

Also, don't forget that the next scheduled Buckeye Dog Auction is expected to take place on Saturday, March 21, 2009. Additional details regarding this event (as they become available) will be posted to the Home page of

Let's hope these small but important steps will help set the tone as a model for other states, causing a ripple effect of positive change benefiting companion animals.

Mary O'Connor-Shaver
Columbus Top Dogs

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