By Denise Dick
Several elected officials and animal-welfare representatives will meet next week to review a ballot initiative aimed at banning dog auctions in Ohio.
The meeting is set for noon Wednesday at Angels for Animals, state Route 165.
Dog auctions are employed by puppy mills and unscrupulous large-scale dog breeders to anonymously get their dogs to the open market. Dogs and puppies sold through dog auctions often live in terrible conditions.
Dog auctions in Ohio occur primarily in Holmes County.
The initiative would affect only dog auctions. Livestock auctions would not be affected.
If passed, the bill would end dog auctions on the Internet and would ban the giving of dogs and puppies as raffle prizes. Ohio is one of the last seven states that allows dog auctions and ranks 43rd in general animal-care laws.
Pennsylvania recently banned dog auctions.
State Sens. Joseph A. Schiavone and Capri Cafaro and state Rep. Ron Gerberry have been invited to the meeting. Confirmed guests are the Mahoning County commissioners; Mahoning County Auditor Mike Sciortino; Columbiana County Commissioner Penny Traina; Dave Nelson, Mahoning County interim dog warden; and Dawn Croft, Columbiana County dog warden.
Several animal-welfare organizations from Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties will be represented also.
Diane Less, Angels founder, will lead Wednesday’s meeting, which will include a presentation by Dr. Donald Allen, a Boardman veterinarian, regarding puppy mills and dog auctions.
Sciortino will discuss his plans to place dog- license information online to make it easier for dogs and their owners to be reunited.
The gathering is to inform government leaders and other interested people about the grass-roots effort to ban dog auctions in Ohio. The Ohio Coalition to End Dog Auctions has a petition effort to obtain 132,000 voter signatures by Dec. 1.
If successful, the bill would appear on the November 2011 ballot.
A light lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. before the meeting, and Angels’ Lariccia Animal Center will be open for viewing adoptable dogs and cats. The retail and gift area also will be open.