Super Bowl Sunday Commentary – The Anti-Puppy Mill Edition

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One of the grandaddy of all misinformation campaigns swirling through cyberspace is the attempt to deny there are any definitions to the phrase “puppy mill.” So it’s time to highlight this lie again, as it has reared its ugly head again of late.

The folks who propagate this extreme level of misinformation are doing so in an attempt to shut down any efforts to regulate breeding. Shutting down puppy mills means a loss of income for those with a stake in the industry – directly or indirectly.

Clearly, the states, cities or counties with breeding regulations have included provisions for minimum standards of care – such as housing, care and feeding, veterinary care and time for exercise. Often, the regulations are minimum at best.

The operations that fall under these minimum guidelines can be considered puppy mills or substandard operations. There’s nothing hard to understand about it. But those who support puppy mills are hoping some people will blindly believe the propaganda, without actually researching or engaging in a simple fact check.

And I’m seeing some wild, tangential misinformation being spread about recently. One recent comment under a website post claimed rescue groups are buying puppy-mill puppies and are the main reason why puppy mills exist.

This one gets five piles of feces on a scale of 1 to 5 feces piles. Rescue groups across the nation are taking in dogs who are rescued directly from puppy mills or were sold through a puppy mill and later ended up at shelters or being cared for by rescue groups.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Yes – They are known as puppy mills and they must be shut down

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While the progress has been too slow in the push to shut down puppy mills across the nation, I am pleased with the level of reporting I’m seeing. The media is doing a relatively good job of headlining the issue.

And rightfully so, the stories include the phrase “puppy mill.” When we see where someone has claimed there are no definitions for the phrase, that’s a red flag showing that individual is trying to block protections for the dogs suffering in puppy mills.

I will keep saying it over and over again. Quality breeders already meet or exceed the guidelines in current or proposed breeding regulations all across the nation.

Of late, we’re seeing an increased focus in media and we can only hope it will lead to more action on the part of legislative bodies. In Virginia, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports legislation is making its way through the General Assembly.

The possible provisions include a ban on dog sales at flea markets and preventing stores from selling puppies shipped in from out-of-state puppy mills.

A push is underway in Kansas, to update the state’s Pet Animal Act, as a bill is under review in a House committee. Breeders and kennel operators are on an advisory board, but hopefully they will be working in the right direction.

There is a gas-chamber ban in the bill and a provision to make inspections of breeding operations a requirement. No shelter should use gas chambers and inspections are a vital tool for uncovering puppy mills and ensuring that other breeders are properly staying within the guidelines.

The WCF Courier reports some Iowa lawmakers are engaged in an effort to increase enforcement and inspections for large-scale breeding operations and to better-regulate these operations.

But there are red flags in this case. The article notes it is possible that current standards for cage sizes and flooring might be removed. And I’m not sure it means that purebred breeders will be receive special classification as “specialized breeders, in order to gain their support.”

These breeders would be required to supply annual veterinary records.

The AKC declined to be interviewed for the story and reportedly opposed a previous version of this current bill. The AKC typically opposes any new regulations on puppy mills.

The article reports the AKC argued “the legislation would unfairly restrict raising quality, healthy purebred dogs and would prohibit members from being involved in animal rescues.”

This argument flies in the face of reason. Ensuring the breeding dogs live in clean housing and receive proper food and water and care does nothing to negatively impact quality breeding operations.

We can’t let people get away with using completely illogical arguments that they just try to word as thoughtful – as lame as the statements are.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Minnesota’s important new puppy mill regulations begin July 1

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As of July 1, all commercial breeding operations within the state of Minnesota will be required to obtain a license and will be subjected to annual inspections.

Inspections are a key element that all states should enact. As long as breeding facilities meet minimum standards of care, they will have nothing to fear. Quality breeding operations will be allowed to continue to operate.

The notion propagated by groups such as the AKC, suggesting breeding regulations will harm quality breeders, is wrong on its face. And of course, those who cannot meet minimum standards of care should be shut down.

A bill to regulate puppy mills in my home state of North Carolina has regrettably stalled in the State Senate. Hopefully, the success in the Minnesota will help push North Carolina to take up the cause of compassion.

 

 

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

AKC continues to oppose puppy-mill regulations

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I read an interesting article from WCNC out of Charlotte, NC – back in late February that I saved to soak in and then comment on later.

The headline was – “AKC leads lobbying against NC’s puppy mill law.” The proposed law is in the form of House Bill 930, which is currently held up in the North Carolina Senate.

As the article notes, this is a compromise bill and from previous reports contains standards of care that follow those published by the American Kennel Club. Yet the AKC is now in a position where its lobbyist are opposing those standards.

WCNC reports all other industries dropped their opposition to the NC legislation, while the AKC continues to fight anything that might cut into the numbers produced by mass-breeding operations; you know – puppy mills.

Kim Alboum of the HSUS in NC is quoted as saying – “The American Kennel Club actually receives money for all the puppies that [are] registered through them.” Yes – that is the key.

And we are reminded that the New York Times recently reported the AKC “often lobbies against basic animal rights bills because they could cut into dog registration fees And “Roughly 40 percent of the AKC’s $61 million in revenue came from fees related to registration.”

And then a statement from the AKC is included, one based far more on wildly-inaccurate propaganda than facts.

For example, the claim is made that the bill would make the job of law enforcement more difficult. This flies in the face of law enforcement statements from around map, where officials are calling for better tools to fight this sort of abuse.

The AKC tosses out the tired old claims about the regulations being based on numbers and that they don’t cover hobby breeders such as hunters. But the huge reality is this – IF a bill ever included ALL breeders, the AKC would be first out of the box to scream that is wasn’t fair. This crying about the bill not covering everyone is pure nonsense from groups like the AKC.

The NC bill passed in the House 101-14, but some twisting by a few Senate members has it held up there – unfortunately. Another big item of note in the WCNC article is the AKC campaign donations to Senator Bill Rabon, who is a ringleader in blocking the legislation.

 

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Wellington, Fla. bans dog and cat sales in stores

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Another community has banned the sale of dogs and cats in stores. We really need this trend to spread much faster, to every state in the nation.

No stores in Wellington, Fla. reportedly sell dogs or cats at this time, but the city council chose to act proactively this week to ban the practice. There is one correction – for the following sentence from the Palm Beach Post story from Wednesday.

Any pet stores in the future could still sell animals from animal shelters and rescue organizations.

We definitely don’t want stores “selling” any dogs or cats. It should be a process where homeless pets are adopted at these stores through the rescue groups and shelters.

The article reports the council also set standards for breeding operations, to combat puppy mills:

Village Attorney Laurie Cohen said the changes ban having more than 20 puppies or 20 kittens on a property, breeding a female more than five cycles in a row and sets limits on how small a cage animals can be kept in.

Sounds like a forward-thinking town.

PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic