Puppy-mill restrictions bill goes to governor’s desk

Associated Press


A legislative compromise aimed at reining in abuses by high-volume dog breeders while heading off a ballot effort to place puppy-mill restrictions in the state’s Constitution is headed to Gov. John Kasich.

Legislation satisfying terms of a deal struck between majority Republicans at the Statehouse and the Humane Society of the United States cleared the Ohio House last week, The Blade of Toledo reported. It previously had cleared the Ohio Senate.

Republican Rep. Brian Hill, of Zanesville, the bill’s sponsor, said the Humane Society has agreed that if the bill becomes law, it will keep further puppy mill restrictions off Ohio’s ballot for 10 years.

“One of the major things, I think, that was important for many of us was that there was going to be a ballot issue on this this fall,” he told House colleagues before the vote.

The Humane Society’s push for a constitutional amendment responded in part to a state law passed last year that had the effect of negating ordinances in Toledo and the Columbus suburb of Grove City that sought to prohibit pet stores and other retailers from acquiring the dogs they sell from such breeders.

That law was championed by Petland, the global pet retailer based in Chillicothe, which also has gotten behind the compromise.

John Goodwin, senior director of the Humane Society’s national Stop Puppy Mills Campaign, helped negotiate the deal. He said the hope is that Ohio’s move to tighten requirements on pet stores and their suppliers will set a new national standard.

“We’ll see how it plays out,” he said.

The bill that’s been sent to the Republican governor would require pet retailers or dog brokers to get a signed document from their suppliers attesting that they’ve complied with Ohio’s standards of care for their animals, which relate to feeding, housing, veterinary care, exercise and human interaction.

“Ohio will be the first state in the nation to say that a sourcing requirement, [in other words] where sellers get puppies, will be taken into account as well as the conditions in which breeding dogs live,” Goodwin said.

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