Ohio dog breeders to face new standards for care

High-volume dog breeders in Ohio will face new standards for care, and supporters believe their signature campaign to put the issue up for statewide vote spurred the compromise.

Ohio House Bill 506, introduced by Rep. Brian Hill, R-Zanesville, was amended several times before it was passed as part of a compromise between animal advocacy groups and groups representing dog breeders.

The bill requires high-volume dog breeders to comply with additional standards, including standards governing sustenance, housing, veterinarian care, and exercise and human interaction, according to analysis of the bill.

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The compromise avoided a possible statewide ballot measure put forth by animal rights groups to amend the Ohio constitution to include more standards for high-volume dog breeders.

“I’m encouraged by the collaboration that took place by animal care providers and their efforts to step forward and accept the added regulations to their industry,” Hill said in a statement. “These changes will better demonstrate that caring for their puppies and breeding dogs is of the utmost importance to them just as it is to those that purchase these animals.”

Before the bill was amended, Stop Puppy Mills Ohio, an animal advocacy group that was collecting signatures to put the issue on the November ballot, was concerned that the bill was too vague and created loopholes.

John Goodwin, the senior director of the national Stop Puppy Mills campaign, which is run by the Humane Society, said in an article on the organization's website that the threat of a possible ballot measure allowed for a compromise with the bill.

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“Volunteers’ signature-gathering efforts are the only reason we’re in a position to be able to do this,” Goodwin said in that article.

Among other standards, the bill also redefines what counts as a high-volume dog breeder in Ohio. According to the analysis, current law holds that a high-volume dog breeder produces nine litters of puppies a year and sells at least 60 adult dogs or puppies each year. The new law would decrease that number and create a more specific definition.

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