Interesting comments in support of breeder are actually a challenge to puppy-mill practices

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The case where a group of Old English Sheepdog (edit – Bulldog) puppies were taken from a home-breeder in Waukegan, Ill. has drawn a lot of national attention. It seems the breeder was violating a local ordinance, but now the rescue group holding the puppies and city staffers (including the police) have received threats of violence.

On Chicago Now’s “Raining Cats and Dogs” blog, the comments are all over the map. So I jumped in this week in the comment section to offer my take.

The following sums up some of my input:

Comments concerning puppies actually support bans on selling puppies before they are ready to leave their mothers.

It is interesting to read the comments from those who support the breeder in the story, where concern is expressed for separating puppies from moms at too young an age.
But if anyone introduced legislation to ban the sale of puppies before the age of 10 to 12 weeks or so, the AKC and other breeder organizations would scream and lobby heavily against it.

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Rescue groups and shelters often have no choice. They either take in puppies dropped off at shelters at a very young age or take in puppies from a rescue case.

But it is time to ban the sale of puppies before they are ready to leave their moms, where they learn important social skills and gather other benefits. And the breeders should not be allowed to separate them from the moms.

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Actually, there are behavioral concerns. Puppies learn social skills from their moms and litter mates.
All dogs are actually wolf-hybrids and in the wild, wolf puppies stay with their moms much longer – of course.

And as far as breeding goes overall, there are real concerns out in the real world. I regularly note that there are good breeders, but far too many are not at all concerned with breeding with concern for long-term health.

I’ve heard too many stories of young dogs getting cancer. I’ve had too many people tell me about their purchased dogs that ended up with serious knee deformities or cancers or hip problems or behavior problems.

We have been talking to one person of late who purchased a pair of puppies just four years ago. One had both knees operated on and the other had liver problems and is now dead due to an oral cancer.
One family we know adopted four ex-racing greyhounds and all four died young from osteosarcoma.

We need far better regulations on breeders, so that only the quality breeders are operating. Who wants a bunch of substandard breeders – not only harming dogs but giving good breeders a bad name?
Who could support a system like that. which is what we have now?

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Clearly, there are good and bad breeders. We all know that. I have no problems with the breeders are researching and working with concern for quality breeding. These breeders are not the problem.

I’ve clearly stated that we need to weed out the bad breeders (puppy mills, etc) so that only the quality breeders remain.
That is clearly a logical position that everyone should support. Who would support bad breeding?

The issue has been the breeders who fail to engage in research and continue to breed dogs with health issues.
We also know there is a problem with purebred dogs because of the rise in specific breed rescue groups. People tend to too often site numbers from municipal shelters without taking into account the purebred dogs up for adoption in rescue groups.

Yes, irresponsible pet guardians are a problem, along with irresponsible breeders. We should address both. I often do.
Last year, I spoke at a meeting for a local shelter and told the attendees that while they debating over the particular issues of care within the shelter (very important) I was watching dogs and cats coming in the door.

We must debate these topics knowing it is a complex issue. We can’t let bad breeders off the hook because bad people are taking in pets.
I don’t want to see people dumping their pets or not caring for them and I don’t want to see bad breeders continue to operate.

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Good breeders already comply with the provisions in every proposed anti-puppy mill bill I’ve read. But we continue to see opposition to shutting down the bad breeders.
And yes, I have visited breeding operations where the dogs were housed properly and had access to play yards and clean food and water.

Again, why would anyone want bed breeders to continue to operate?

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In my home state, breed rescues have seen huge growth over the last 15 years. We’ve always had bad pet guardians. But in the last 15 years, the homeless problem has gotten worse, with even purebred dogs.

(One commenter took the typical route of those opposed to breeding regulations, by suggesting there are no definitions to the phrase – puppy mill. I had one ready for them.) –

A puppy mill is any breeding operation that —
A) Houses dogs in dirty cages too small for them to freely move about – and does not contain clean bedding.
B) Does not allow the dogs daily time for exercise in a safe, outdoor play area.
C) Denies the dogs regular veterinary care.
D) Does not offer the dogs proper food and water.
E) Separates the puppies from their mothers at too young an age.

These are the typical provisions contained in proposed anti-puppy mill bills and laws. Want a definition of a puppy mill? It’s any breeder who does not comply with the above.

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We have too often seen even inspected operations finally exposed as puppy mills, because the current regulations are far too weak.
Let’s weed out the bad breeders and puppy mills and leave breeding to quality breeders. Who could oppose that?

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Obviously, the puppy mills are not being inspected – as for one thing there are too few inspectors.
We’ve also seen where inspectors allowed horrible conditions to go on – through multiple inspections.

Only recently has legislation been proposed to cover all breeders, those who sell to commercial operations and over the internet.

We need to make sure the dogs get regular play time and clean housing and clean food and water. Sadly, too often this is not happening.

The USDA license is too often – sadly – not worth the paper it’s printed on and it will be until the regulations are improved.

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HSUS leader Wayne Pacelle reviews results for 2014

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In his A Humane Nation blog this week, Humane Society of the United States leader Wayne Pacelle reviewed the organization’s “Top Transformational Results of 2014.”

The list features:

South Dakota becoming the 5oth US state to adopt a felony animal-cruelty law.

It is now a federal crime to attend or bring a child to a dogfight or cockfight.

The truly idiotic and evil “King Amendment” was tossed out of the Farm Bill.

A federal appellate court rightfully overturned a horrible ruling from a lower that might have tossed out the animal crush video law. If I recall, the lower court tried to claim that torturing and brutally killing animals was protected free speech. That’s one for the Moronic Court Ruling Hall of Fame.

So arguably the current leader for the Moronic Court Ruling Hall of Fame is Citizens United.

A number of countries have agreed to end the use of gestation crates for pigs.

Three horse-slaughter plants were blocked from opening this year.

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture rule blocks the importation of puppies for sale. This means at least foreign puppy mills can’t sell here.

Internet sellers of puppy now have to follow USDA guidelines. The HSUS helped to block a legal challenge to this ruling.

Better protections are in place for animals suffering through experiments in labs.

The World Trade Organization is thankfully supporting European Union’s ban on products resulting from the horrific Canadian seal hunts.

The wolf hunts were stopped in Michigan.

New York and New Jersey became the first states to banned the sale of Ivory. This one should become a federal ban.

And Pacelle states the “…  International Court of Justice ruled that Japan’s Southern Ocean whaling program violates the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling’s ban on commercial hunting.”

Read Pacelle’s full rundown at the link above.

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Great Read: Des Moines Register editorial concerning weak puppy mill regulations

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It is very pleasing to see more attention being given to animal-welfare issues. Today, we have a Des Moines Register editorial concerning the weak level of protections for puppy-mill dogs in Iowa.

Of course, this is true for much of the country.

The Des Moines Register editorial writer notes puppy-mill breeders are often given a pass when dogs are found living in horrible conditions. At times, the breeder is only issued a citation and the suffering animals are left behind to continue to suffer.

A Human Society of the US report is cited, one that list the worst offenders in the country. It is disgusting to read how these people are allowed to continue to operate. In some cases, the offenders are actually allowed to deny access to inspectors.

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Hopefully, provisions to weaken Ohio’s puppy mill law will be pulled from new bill

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Some Ohio lawmakers were out to weaken Ohio’s puppy mill law, with provisions that would have “dramatically reduced state bonding for some dog breeders and eliminated requirements that they disclose past law violations and provide pictures of their kennels on license-renewal applications.” – as reported by the Columbus Dispatch.

But now, it seems the damaging changes will be pulled from a recent bill in the Ohio Senate. Rep. David Hall, R-Millersburgl, who had inserted the language now reportedly says he will yank the provisions.

The pressure needs to be ramped up on state and federal legislators to enact better protections for animals. And when improved laws are in place, we can’t let lawmakers try to gut the protections through the back door.

Thankfully, it seems here that press coverage caught this attempt in Ohio.

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Ohio House tries to back-door provision to weaken protections for puppy mill dogs

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How anyone, in 2014, could still support cruelty is beyond belief. But while we continue to see positive steps forward, some elected officials are trying to gut even the most basic protections for animals.

Some members of the Ohio House are supporting a bill that includes provisions to scale back the state’s anti-puppy mill law, as the Columbus dispatch reports this morning.

The publication notes three significant changes in the bill: “… cutting the bonding requirement by more than half for large-volume dog breeders, and eliminating the need for criminal-background checks and kennel photos with breeder renewal applications.”

The goal is to make it easier to abuse animals. I wonder if these people go home and tell their kids what they’re doing.

Hey kids, guess what dad did today? He made it easier for people with a history of animal cruelty to work at puppy mills. These are the morals I want to pass on to you.”

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Local Pennsylvania store chain drops puppy sales; makes important statement

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I was really pleased to see this headline flash up on the Pack News Wire earlier today: “Pets Plus stops selling animals raised in puppy mills.”

The Montgomery News article reports Pets Plus stores in the Philadelphia area are joining the Humane Society of the United States program to end the sale of puppies. The article notes more customers are going into the stores to shop, since the change to holding adoptions only.

There is an ever-growing understanding in the general public as to the risk of buying puppies from stores. The odds are far too great that the puppies are bred in puppy mills.

The last local store in my home city that was selling puppies went out of business a few years ago. The only other puppy seller shut that store down several years prior.

A new pet-supply store just opened here, part of a national chain. Before the site opened, I spoke with the manager who emphatically stated they would not be selling dogs or cats and would be hosting adoption events.

Stores still claiming they need to sell puppies to stay in business are living in the 1950s and need to update their business models in a huge way. Many of the national chains and a host of local stores all across the nation learned long ago that selling puppies is a loser in every aspect of the term.

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Puppy mill busted in North Carolina

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I’m a bit late getting this up on the blog. But it is important to report – for the benefit of those who might have missed the news – on a puppy mill bust in Rutherford County, NC.

Thank you to the local law enforcement officials there and once again to the Humane Society of the United States.

Thankfully, these dogs were saved. But because too many states have failed to enact and put into practice better protections for puppy mill dogs and animals across the board, the raids are scattered.

A massive number of puppy mills will continue to slip under the legal radar.

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BREAKING GOOD NEWS: Federal court tosses lawsuit that challenged new crackdown on puppy mills

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The Humane Society of the US just released a statement concerning the actions of a federal court. A lawsuit that challenged the USDA’s new rules directed to the Internet sales of puppy mill puppies, was shut down by the court.

“We are delighted the court has thrown out this baseless lawsuit challenging USDA’s new rule cracking down on Internet sellers of puppy mill dogs,” said Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president of animal protection litigation and investigations for the HSUS, in the press release.

“In a detailed opinion, the court concluded that the breeders ‘are barking up the wrong tree’ because ‘their complaints are more policy disagreements with APHIS’s regulatory approach than they are valid legal objections to APHIS’s authority.’

“Dismissing the breeders’ legal claims as ‘a dog that won’t hunt,’ the court granted judgment in favor of USDA and the HSUS – which intervened to help defend the rule because every large-scale operation should be inspected and every dog provided a bowl of clean water and enough space to move around.”

Add me to the list to animal-welfare advocates who are grateful to the court for flushing this nasty lawsuit down the toilet, where it belongs.

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Bad news for puppy mill dogs in Illinois

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Reports out of Illinois, leading up to the election of Bruce Rauner Tuesday as the state’s new Governor, indicate bad news for dogs suffering in mass production breeding facilities – puppy mills.

Back on October 29, Steve Dale noted on his blog that Rauner was getting support from Petland, a national chain that sells puppies in its stores. Dale rightfully reminds his readers that Petland is actively fighting regulations against puppy mills.

Rauner has thanked Petland for its support of his election campaign.

How anyone could support any company that fights against protections for dogs suffering in puppy mills is stunning. Before Rauner even begins officially serving as the state’s Governor, it appears he is unable understand this easily-understandable issue.

That’s a horribly bad first step.

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No logic coming from those who oppose puppy mill regulations

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I’m gonna keep hammering away at this, because every time I read about those opposing breeding regulations in states across the map, the same, tired, twisted mess keeps sinking to the bottom of the debate pond.

So let’s review the basic proposals and specific regulations – with the key follow-up question – WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT?!

** HUMANE HOUSING: Usually, the proposals in state bills set minimum, reasonable standards for the size of cages where the breeding dogs are housed or set a space requirement that allows the dogs room enough to turn around freely and lay down comfortably. And of course the cages should be free of feces and other unhealthy conditions.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – No reasonable person could opposed this provisions – PERIOD. The alternative is to allow breeders to force the dogs to live in horrible conditions.

** DAILY EXERCISE: The bills typically call for minimal amounts of time each day, when the dogs should be allowed to play or at least walk around a bit outside or within some open area.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – No one with an ounce of compassion in their soul would really suggest dogs housed in breeding kennels should be kept in their cages 24/7. We’d never want pets in homes to live this way.

** CLEAN FOOD AND WATER: Self-explanatory.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – The alternative would be dirty water and scummy food? Only a moron would not want the dogs to get clean food and water.

** VETERINARY CARE: Again, self-explanatory.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – Of course, I can hear the pro-puppy mill types saying, “Nobody tells me what to do with my property. It’s just like my car, I change the oil when I want to.” And that pretty sums up where animals stand with the pro-puppy mill side.

** LIMITS ON THE NUMBER OF TIMES FEMALES SHOULD BE PREGNANT IN A GIVEN TIME FRAME: Some of the proposals I’ve seen include this regulation and it’s a good one. The females should be given time for their bodies to rest. They are not factory machines.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – This, along with the other provisions, aids in the health and welfare of the dogs. It’s common sense and good veterinary science.

WHO IS FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE? – Animal welfare advocates and quality breeders and every single human with the ability to think logically and have compassion for animals.

Yes – quality breeders meet or exceed the standards of care being proposed across the nation. The only breeders who would be impacted are those that do not meet the minimums. And that’s the point – isn’t it?

I repeat – That’s the point, isn’t it?

And yet, we have groups like the AKC and others out fighting every bill to regulate dog breeding.

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