Thankfully, Ohio lawmakers gave their final approval on Wednesday on a bill that would strengthen state regulations on "high-volume breeders," minimize the use of puppy mills and allow Ohio to set the standard for other states moving forward.
House Bill 506 was introduced by Rep. Brian Hill (R-Columbus), and was cosponsored by representatives across both party lines. Last month, animal rights activists agreed to end their ballot measure campaign in exchange for a guarantee that new regulations would not be diluted in the future.
The House approved changes made by senators on Wednesday afternoon, and the bill has been sent to to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.
HB 506 offers a multitude of changes to the current regulations of puppy mills including:
- Lowering the threshold for regulation from nine litters and public sales of 60 puppies per year to entities that keep six breeding dogs and sell five dogs or puppies to pet stores, sell 40 puppies to the public or have on the premises 40 puppies under four months old per year.
- Establishing basic standards of care such as feeding dogs twice per day, providing clean water and requiring dogs have exercise and social interaction every day.
- Limiting the number of litters a female dog can produce in her lifetime to eight.
- Banning the practice of stacking cages on top of each other and setting minimum cage sizes relative to the dog's length.
The current regulations in some states are incredibly depressing, with small sizes on captive enclosures and no limitation on how frequently a female dog can be bred, meaning she can be bred every single cycle until her body can no longer handle carrying the puppies to full term.
Under these stricter regulations, it is estimated that many puppy mills will close down for good, knowing they cannot maintain the conditions required by the law.
The new bill is backed by the Ohio Dog Breeders Association and Sportsmen's Alliance.