Legislation Raises Care Standards and Increases Penalties

Today the Ohio House of Representatives passed legislation to license and regulate high-volume dog-breeding operations, commonly referred to as “puppy mills,” and ensure that the State of Ohio has appropriate oversight over the operations. The bill, Substitute Senate Bill 130, passed the House with broad bipartisan support.

“The version of SB 130 passed by the Ohio House streamlines the licensure and inspection processes for breeders, and assures rescuers that there will be penalties and recourse if bad breeders are found,” said State Representative Dave Hall, Chairman of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. “It fixes specific problems in Ohio’s dog breeding industry without hurting those who faithfully follow the law.”

SB 130 creates the Commercial Dog Breeding Advisory Board—composed of the state veterinarian, as well as one representative each from the Humane Society, dog wardens, veterinarians, rescuers, breeders, and the public—to provide guidance as the bill is administered and rules are adopted.

The standards of care are to be established by the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture. It provides the director with the ability to contract with local veterinarians to conduct inspections. It also requires annual, rather than biennial, inspections. Animal rescues will be required to register with the Department of Agriculture, which will keep a database of all animal rescues.

The passed version of the bill reinserts a proportional license fee to cover the cost of the program and increases fines on those who violate state law.

“This legislation is the product of careful consideration, intense labor and a spirit of cooperation. Everyone was eager to come to the table to finish the crafting process,” Representative Hall said. “I’m pleased to say that we found that elusive ‘middle ground’ from among the many viewpoints on this issue. I can say with confidence that this is a win-win-win for dog breeders, dog rescuers and the State of Ohio.”

SB 130 will now return to the Ohio Senate for a vote of concurrence.


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