Ohio Lawmakers May Allow Pet Stores to Sell Puppies from Puppy Mills


[image-1]Ohio House legislators are debating this morning a bill that would regulate pet stores around the state. Namely, the bill would prohibit municipalities from enacting bans on certain puppy-breeding sources, like the infamous puppy mills of north-central Ohio.

Currently, some cities in Ohio prohibit stores like Petland from selling puppies that have been purchased from fringe dealers — mass producers of dogs, mostly clumped together in Holmes and Ashland counties. This is a long-standing and highly controversial problem in Ohio. If Senate Bill 331 were to pass, the state's well documented support for independent and questionable dog breeders would trump local municipalities' "home rule" freedom to say no to that type of business.

The concern is that regulations and inspections for "qualified breeders" and "high-volume breeders" have been watered down time and time again in state committees and under the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Local cities — and animal protection advocates — have vocally opposed the coziness with which the state and its many breeders operate.

Grove City, for example, prohibits Petland from working with puppy mills. SB 331, vigorously supported by Petland's Ohio-based corporate leadership, would allow them access to that market — where dogs come cheap.

(As a quick aside: SB 331 is the bill that legislators say could be used to carry an unrelated rider through the Statehouse, one that would put the kibosh on Cleveland residents' minimum wage ballot initiative in May.)

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