Tag Archives: puppy mill

Excellent, opponent testimony for HB 506, clearly states bill’s impact on our animal friends & the families that unwittingly purchase these dogs

TESTIMONY ON OHIO H.B. 506 

Presented by Vicki Deisner, Animal Welfare Institute
Before the Ohio House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Chairman Blessing, Vice- Chairman Reineke, and Ranking Minority Member Clyde, I am Vicki Deisner, government affairs representative for the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI). AWI is a national animal welfare organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. We seek better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild.

Our more than 1,300 members and supporters in Ohio have spoken out many times on proposals affecting animal welfare, including the bill before you today, as well as the Commercial Dog Breeders Act, Nitro’s law, and pet protection orders. Today, on their behalf, AWI comes before you to strongly oppose HB 506, which fails to provide reasonable protections for dogs bred in puppy mills in Ohio.

The state’s brutal and thriving puppy mill industry would not be curtailed by this bill. On the contrary, those with a financial interest in keeping the puppy mill industry afloat support it, and it would provide cover for those who wish to continue profiting from the suffering of animals.

Puppy Mills Overview

Puppy mills are operations that breed large numbers of dogs to sell in the commercial pet trade. Puppy mills are also places where profits take precedence over animal welfare. Consumers are intentionally prevented from ever seeing the breeding operations because they would be appalled at what they would find. At the mills, the animals are not recognized as sentient beings; rather, they are mere production stock.

Breeding animals typically spend their entire lives confined in small, barren wire cages. The females are denied an opportunity to rest and recuperate between litters. Once they are physically worn out and stop reproducing successfully, they are dumped or killed.

The kennels are overcrowded, filthy and dimly lit for the dogs, and there is no socialization, let alone nurturing or opportunity for play outside the confines of the cages. Many dogs in puppy mills suffer from dehydration and malnutrition, lack of dental care leading to rotting jaws, eye infections, ulcerations and dermatitis and ulcerated skin from urine and feces falling through wire bottom cages, tick infestations, ingestion of contaminated food, and diseases borne from unsanitary conditions. These issues have been visually documented by the USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) in their inspection reports of problematic breeders.

The ASPCA has accumulated over 10,000 photos taken by the USDA during routine inspections of facilities, which demonstrates these issues are not exception, but rather the rule (nopetstoepuppies.com/buy-a- puppy). Generally, the breeders have no concern for genetic abnormalities, either, that may be passed from parents to the offspring such as heart disease, kidney disease, hip dysplasia, and cataracts.

Current Circumstances in Ohio

Ohio is a notorious stronghold for puppy mill operations. The Commercial Dog Breeders Act, which went into effect in 2013, requires the licensure and annual inspection of high volume breeders that sell 60 dogs and produce at least 9 litters in a single year. However, while this law was a strong step in the right direction, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) stated that it is very difficult to enforce. Nearly 900 breeders are on the department’s “action list,” meaning that they may meet the threshold for licensure but aren’t currently licensed or inspected. This means that approximately two-thirds of puppy mills are not actively regulated by the state. ODA has said that it does not have the authority to visit facilities that should be licensed but are not. 

Due to these shortcomings of the Commercial Dog Breeders Act, Ohio continues to be second only to Missouri in the number of federally licensed commercial dog breeding facilities. As of June 2017, there were 263 state-licensed high-volume breeders and 260 USDA-licensed commercial breeders in Ohio. Ohio is also a major importer of puppy mill puppies, as mills across the country sell to Ohio consumers via pet stores, the internet, and other indirect methods.

Illustrative of the problems that beset Ohio puppy mills, in 2017, 12 of them were included among The Horrible Hundred, a list of the 100 worst puppy mills in the country. A number were on the list for a second time, but for Berlin Kennel in Millersburg, third time was the charm. In June 2016, owner Marvin Burkholder received an Official Warning from USDA for violations, on at least four separate occasions, of the federal Animal Welfare Act relating to veterinary care. Despite this warning, more violations were cited in August of that same year. And these were on top of repeat violations in 2014 and 2015.

Implications of HB 506

There are a number of breeding facility welfare reforms that would result in proper regulation of Ohio’s puppy mill industry and take meaningful steps towards ending the extreme cruelty that is currently the norm at these operations. However, they are not contained in HB 506.HB 506 would not simplify enforcement for the ODA. Rather, it changes the threshold for coverage to any breeder who keeps, houses, and maintains 8 or more breeding dogs that produce at least 5 litters of puppies per year and, in return for a fee or other consideration, sells 30 or more puppies per year – setting forth a more complicated standard that will not ease enforcement issues.

The coverage of the law is not only complicated, but also incomplete, because it applies only to Ohio breeders. This would allow unscrupulous breeders from other states to continue selling to Ohio consumers. A substitute version of HB 506 also creates a loophole that invites failure by providing that unspayed adult female dogs who are used both for breeding and for hunting and field trial activities do not count as a breeding dog when determining if a breeder is a puppy mill.

HB 506 also sets forth inadequate requirements for food and water, specifying that they must only be available in quantities that allow maintenance of “normal body condition.” The result of this language is that food could be provided only once per day, and water could be provided in very small quantities. Inspectors would have no way of knowing when it was last made available, and because H.B. 506’s illogical cage size requirement is based on the weight of the dog, breeders would be incentivized to keep dogs thin so they could keep them in small enclosures.

Furthermore, H.B. 506’s temperature regulations are vague, nearly impossible to enforce, and are largely at the discretion of the breeder.The exercise provision in HB 506, which mandates an opportunity for daily exercise and access to daylight, is too vague to ensure that it benefits the dogs. There is no specificity on how often each day that opportunity needs to exist or what would qualify as an “opportunity.” It is equally unclear what would constitute “outdoor access.” To ensure that breeders adhere to reasonable animal welfare standards, detailed provisions requiring constant outdoor access and freedom of movement are vital.

Dogs are highly social animals, and isolation or incorrect socialization generally produces mental distress, including chronic anxiety and the development of abnormal behaviors. H.B. 506’s socialization requirements could be met by petting a dog for briefly once a year, and permits dogs who are known to be incompatible to be housed together. This exposes the most vulnerable dogs – nursing mothers and their puppies—to potential injury or even death. Dogs who suffer from maladaptive behaviors resulting from poor or nonexistent socialization are unlikely to become safe and well-adjusted family companions when they leave the facility.

HB 506 does not specify that veterinary care must be performed by a licensed veterinarian, which would allow breeders to treat animals themselves under “veterinary guidance.” This is an unacceptable standard of care, and there are documented incidents of Ohio breeders using inappropriate or expired medications on dogs and even performing invasive procedures themselves with unsanitary implements. There are also no guidelines in the bill for vaccinations or parasite control, leaving breeders with a dangerous amount of discretion about illnesses that affect both animal health and public safety. Shockingly, the bill establishes no requirements whatsoever for surgical procedures or euthanasia, despite the fact that shooting, drowning, or poisoning unwanted breeding dogs and unsold puppies are common practices at puppy mills.

Finally, HB 506 does not improve breeding standards at puppy mills. It does not require screening for congenital disorders or prevent breeding of dogs with conditions likely to affect offspring. These genetic disorders can be painful and crippling, may cost Ohio consumers thousands of dollars to treat, and may limit the health, mobility, or lifespan of a dog. The bill also fails to limit the number of litters a dog may be forced to produce. This lack of protection for mother dogs enables the continuation of constant, exploitative breeding that results in lifelong physical ailments.It is clear that HB 506 would benefit the dog breeding industry at the expense of animal welfare and consumer protection. It provides a smokescreen of provisions that sound humane while accomplishing nearly nothing to close the devastating gaps in the Commercial Dog Breeders Act.

AWI strongly urges the House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee to oppose HB 506. Thank you for your time and consideration of this issue.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-506 (Read HB 506 here for yourself)

Bills and Ballot Initiative in the 132nd Ohio General Assembly

BILLS

1.  HB 1 – Dating Violence Protection Orders  includes dating partners in DV protection orders, allows women to access DV shelters and take their pets

     SUPPORT – SIGNED INTO LAW BY OHIO GOV KASICH in April 2018

sponsors – Rep Vernan Sykes (D), Rep Gayle Manning (D)

      https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-1

2.  HB 147 – Special Prosecutors

      OPPOSE

  •      Rep Steven Hambley

3.   HB 226 – “Fireworks” aims to make higher grade fireworks more    accessible      

     OPPOSE

  • sponsors – Rep Bill Seitz (R), Rep Martin Sweeney (D)

  • cosponsors –  Rep Bill Dean (R), Rep John Becker (R), Rep Andy Thompson (R), Rep Wesley Goodman (R), Rep Dick Stein (R), Rep Bill Reineke (R), Rep Louis Blessing (R), Rep Kyle Koehler (R)

  • Fireworks terrify many dogs.  They panic and run away to get away from the explosions.  Shelters fill up with lost dogs after July 4 each year.

  • Woodland animals flee and abandon their nests.

  • Ohio has 800,000 veterans. Veterans with PTSD, sadly, relive the trauma of war when they hear the thunder of fireworks.

  • Individuals with dementia and autism are frightened by the sounds.

  • 120 Ohioans go to ER each year with injuries.  They lose limbs and are blinded. Their homes are set on fire.

  • https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-226 (Read the bill here)
  • status – PASSED OHIO HOUSE, 84-13  on 10/13/17

  • http://www.dispatch.com/opinion/20170919/editorial-new-bill-is-bad-medicine (Dispatch – “Dangerous Fireworks Bill Should Fizzle”)

 

  • http://www.dispatch.com/news/20171011/those-fireworks-youve-been-setting-off-may-finally-be-legal-in-ohio (Dispatch article)

 

4.  HB 263 – “Dining with Dogs”, allows dogs on outdoor patios of restaurants

     SUPPORT

      sponsor – Rep Laura Lanese (R)

  •  status – passed House on April 11, 2018

  • Restaurant owner must agree.  Waiters cannot intentionally touch dogs.  Each dog plate must be single use. Patio must have its separate entrance.   Dogs are not permitted on the chairs or tables. Dog clean-up bags will be available. 
  •  https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-263 (Read the bill here)

5.  HB 319 – “Shelter Dog as State Pet”

     SUPPORT

      sponsor – Rep Laura Lanese (R)

       status – one hearing

  • https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-3194 (Read the bill here)

6.  HB 349 – “Increase Crime of Assaulting a Police or Search & Rescue –      Dog or Horse “

     SUPPORT

     sponsor – Rep Sarah LaTourette (R)

  • Applies same penalities for assaulting or harassing search and rescue dogs and horses as police dogs and horses have                                                                                                                                          
  •  Increases the penalty for assaulting a police dog or horse from a second degree misdemeanor to a fourth degree felony, a third degree felony if the animal suffers serious physical harm, and a second degree felony if the animal dies.

      https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation?          2&pageSize=10&start=1&sort=LegislationNumber&dir=asc&statusCode&legislationNumber=349&legislationTypes=HB&generalAssemblies=132   (Read the bill here)

7. HB 433 – “Veterinary Spay-Neuter”

      SUPPORT

  • sponsors – Reps Tom Brinkman (R) and Brigid Kelly (D)
  • author – DanaMarie Pannella, Esq.
  • This House bill and its companion bill, SB 232 in the Senate, give Ohio veterinarians the OPTION (not mandate) of using 2 CEU’s for FOUR HOURS of FREE SPAY-NEUTER.
  • Status –  unanimously reported out of committee on April 10, 2018

    Read Rep Brigid Kelly’s sponsor testimony at the link below for a clear understanding of the bill.

    http://pawsandthelawblog.com  (Read Rep Brigid Kelly’s sponsor testimony here)

    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legis…/legislation-summary… (Read the bill here)

    6.  HB 506, “High Volume Breeders” (AKA ‘puppy mills’) 

    OPPOSE

    sponsor – Rep Brian Hill (R)

    cosponsors – Reps Andy Thompson (R), Brian Smith (R), John Patterson (D), Kirk Schuring (R), Bill Seitz (R), Koehler, Thomas Patton (R), Dick Stein (R), Thomas West (D),  Martin Sweeney (D), Darrell Kick (R), Scott Ryan (R), James Hoops (R)

    status – passed House; sponsor hearing in Senate

    This bill is introduced in response to the STOP PUPPY MILLS OHIO (SPMO) ballot initiative.

    HB 506 is not as good for animals from high volume breeders (AKA “puppy mills”) as Stop Puppy Mills Ohio (SPMO) is.  Both HB 506 & SPMO ban stacking of cages & require daily cleaning of cages.

    The House committee has made improvements on the bill, such as having a licensed veterinarian provide medical care for the animals.

    status – passed the House in April 2018

    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-506

    7.  HB 523 – “Cross-reporting of Animal Abuse and Child Abuse”

          SUPPORT

    •  sponsors – Representatives Laura Lanese (R), Rick Perales (R)
    •  This bill requires cross-reporting of child abuse and animal cruelty 
    •  status – House Community and Family Advancement – 2nd hearing – March 14, 2018

    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-523  (Read the bill here)

    http://pawsandthelawblog.com/?p=1419 (Read my proponent testimony here)

     

    8.  HB 539 – Labrador Retriever as State Dog

    SUPPORT

    sponsor – Representative Jeff Rezabek

    status – 

    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-539  (Read HB 539 here)

    9.  HB 552 – Euthanasia and Chemical Capture of Animals

    INTERESTED PARTY

    sponsor- Representative LaTourette

    status – not yet assigned to committee

    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-552  (Read HB 552 here)

     10.  HB 560 – Prohibit pet food from containing euthanized animal remains

    SUPPORT

     sponsor – Laura Lanese (R)

    author – DanaMarie Pannella, Esq.

    status – not yet assigned to committee

    https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-HB-560 

     

11.  SB 195 – “Nuisance, Dangerous, and Vicious Dogs”

     INTERESTED PARTY

  • sponsor – Sen Bill Beagle (R)

  • https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-documents?id=GA132-SB-195 (Read the bill here)

12.  SB 232 – “Veterinary Spay-Neuter”

      SUPPORT

  • sponsor – Sen Cecil Thomas (D)

  • cosponsors – Senators Charleta Tavares (D),  Joe Schiavoni (D), Kenny Yuko (D)

  • author – DanaMarie Pannella, Esq.

  • status – has had three hearings in the Agriculture Committee

  • This Senate bill and its companion bill, HB 433, in the House, give Ohio veterinarians the OPTION (not mandate) of using 2 CEU’s for FOUR HOURS of FREE SPAY-NEUTER.

  •  https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA132-SB-232 (Read the bill here)

PUPPY MILL BALLOT INITIATIVE 

     SUPPORT

  • HSUS ballot initiative
  • aims to change the Ohio Constitution to standardize care in the kennels of large-scale breeders (AKA “puppy mills”)

  • applies to breeders with eight or more unspayed females and annual sales of more than 15 dogs

Please TWEET or CALL Ohio Governor Kasich

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed SB 331, the ‘Petland’ bill, into law, “behind closed doors and without additional comment”, as reported by the Vindicator.  

A huge thanks goes to each of you for all the calls and tweets that  sent to the governor. You stayed active, dedicated, and strong right until the final moments.

You are wonderful advocates for our animal friends.

Governor Kasich and the legislators that VOTED YES on SB 331 did not listen to us. The bill moved very quickly through the legislature and then to the governor. Interested parties were not included in all of the discussions. It was not properly vetted.

Governor Kasich and the legislators who voted yes have failed us and the animals that we love.

There are some 22 states have passed “Puppy Lemon” laws and 206 jurisdictions across the nation that have passed pet store ordinances, aimed at drying up the market for mill animals. 

Why has Ohio moved so quickly in the OPPOSITE direction?

Petland could continue to stay in business utilizing a humane, business model, as other successful, national, pet stores use.

Finally, the governor and the Statehouse majority have stomped ‘home-rule’, embedded in the Ohio Constitution. The same legislators that cry “No more big government”, always bristling at interference from the federal government, have dishonored the work and the judgement of local jurisdictions and have taken away some of their legal rights with the passage of SB 331.

How did YOUR STATE SENATOR and YOUR STATE REP vote?  A YES VOTE means they are in support of SB 331. A NO VOTE means they are opposed to SB 331.

Ohio Senate Vote – December 7, 2016

Yeas : 21 – Nays : 10

Yeas

Kevin Bacon (R), Troy Balderson (R), Bill Beagle (R), Dave Burke (R), Bill Coley (R), John Eklund (R), Keith Faber (R), Bob D. Hackett (R), Cliff Hite (R), Jay Hottinger (R),Shannon Jones (R), Kris Jordan (R), Frank LaRose (R), Peggy Lehner (R), Gayle Manning (R),Larry Obhof (R), Scott Oelslager (R), Tom Patton (R), Bob Peterson (R), Bill Seitz (R), Joe Uecker (R), Bob D. Hackett (R)

Nays

Edna Brown (D), Randy Gardner (R), Lou Gentile (D), Tom Sawyer (D), Joe Schiavoni (D), Michael J. Skindell (D), Charleta B. Tavares (D), Cecil Thomas (D), Sandra R. Williams (D), Kenny Yuko (D)

Ohio House Votes – December 7, 2016

Yeas : 55 – Nays : 42

Yeas

Ron Amstutz (R), Marlene Anielski (R), Niraj J. Antani (R), Steven Arndt (R), Nan A. Baker (R), John Becker (R), Louis W. Blessing III (R), Terry Boose (R), Andrew Brenner (R), Jim Buchy (R), Tony Burkley (R), Jim Butler (R), Margaret Conditt (R), Robert R. Cupp (R), Anthony DeVitis (R), Bill Dean (R), Jonathan Dever (R), Mike Dovilla (R), Theresa Gavarone (R), Timothy E. Ginter (R), Anne Gonzales (R), Wesley A. Goodman (R), Doug Green (R), Christina Hagan (R), David Hall (R), Bill Hayes (R), Michael Henne (R), Brian Hill (R), Ron Hood (R), Stephen A. Huffman (R), Candice R. Keller (R), Kyle Koehler (R), Al Landis (R), Ron Maag (R), Nathan H. Manning (R), Robert McColley (R), Derek Merrin (R), Dorothy Pelanda (R), Rick Perales (R), Bill Reineke (R), Wes Retherford (R), Kristina Roegner (R), Mark J. Romanchuk (R), Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R), Scott Ryan (R), Tim Schaffer (R), Gary Scherer (R), Kirk Schuring (R), Marilyn Slaby (R), Ryan Smith (R), Robert Sprague (R), Louis Terhar (R), Andy Thompson (R), Ron Young (R), Paul Zeltwanger (R)

 Nays

Nickie J. Antonio (D), Mike Ashford (D), John Barnes, Jr. (D), Heather Bishoff (D), John Boccieri (D), Kristin Boggs (D), Kevin Boyce (D), Janine R. Boyd (D), Thomas E. Brinkman, Jr. (R), Nicholas J. Celebrezze (D), Jack Cera (D), Kathleen Clyde (D), Hearcel F. Craig (D), Michael F. Curtin (D), Denise Driehaus (D), Mike Duffey (R), Teresa Fedor (D), Cheryl L. Grossman (R), Stephen D. Hambley (R), Stephanie D. Howse (D), Greta Johnson (D), Christie Bryant Kuhns (D), Stephanie Kunze (R), Sarah LaTourette (R), David Leland (D), Michele Lepore-Hagan (D), Michael J. O’Brien (D), Sean O’Brien (D), Bill Patmon (D), John Patterson (D), Debbie Phillips (D), Alicia Reece (D), Jeffery S. Rezabek (R), John M. Rogers (D), Margaret Ann Ruhl (R), Michael Sheehy (D), Stephen Slesnick (D), Kent Smith (D), Fred Strahorn (D), Martin J. Sweeney (D), Emilia Strong Sykes (D), A. Nino Vitale (R)

SB 331 also OVERTURNS the pet store ordinances already in effect in Toledo and Grove City and STOPS other, Ohio jurisdictions from passing future pet store ordinances. 

Please send a RESPECTFUL tweet, expressing disappointment in the passage of SB 331.  I know that many of you are angry, hurt, and fed up.  This bill is not fair to our puppies, our families, and our workers.  Yet, your message will not be well received unless it is POLITE.

You may tweet these phrases, or you might want to tweet your personal message.  

#SB331stompshomerule 22 states & 205 jurisdictions protect unsuspecting consumers – Why not Ohio?

#SB331stompshomerule OH Gov Kasich fails workers, families, & puppies

#SB331stompshomerule fast-tracked without proper vetting hurts OH workers, consumers, puppies

Is Ohio HOME RULE state (Statehouse said yes on BSL bill) or not (Statehouse said no on Petland bill)?

 Would you like to create a Twitter account?  It is free.  You can set up an account in a few easy steps.  Ask a teenager for help if you need support.

I went down the entire Twitter list here on this page in just 2 minutes, tweeting to all.

Yes, you can use your e-mail address (instead of your telephone number).

https://support.twitter.com/articles/100990

Twitter accounts 

@JohnKasich  —   John Kasich, governor

@TeamJohnKasich  —   John Kasich, communication team

@OhioSenateGOP  —  Ohio Senate GOP Caucus

@OhioSenateDems  —  Ohio Senate Dem Caucus

@OHRGOPCaucus  —  Ohio House GOP Caucus

@OHHouseDems  —  Ohio House Dem Caucus

@OhioPoliticsNow  —  Columbus Dispatch, politics

@Enquirer  —  Cincinnati Enquirer

@jpelzer  —  Jeremy Pelzer, Cleveland Plain Dealer

@dskolnick  —  David Skolnick, Youngstown Vindicator

@ohiocapitalblog  —  Marc Kovac

@ThomasSuddes —  Thomas Suddes

@ohioaj  —  Alan Johnson, Columbus Dispatch

@dispatcheditor  — Alan D. Miller, editor at Columbus Dispatch

                                Add your own hometown newspaper.

Call Governor Kasich at 614-466-3555.

https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-summary?id=GA131-SB-331   (Read SB 331 here.)