Legislation regulating puppy mills awaiting Kasich' signature

By MARC KOVAC Dix Capital Correspondent Published:

Long-debated legislation regulating so-called "puppy mills" is heading to Gov. John Kasich for his signature, after the Ohio Senate concurred on changes Tuesday.

The final vote was 32-1 on a bill that was years in the making.

"This bill will seek out breeders who do not maintain a healthy environment for their animals," said Sen. Jim Hughes, a Republican from Columbus. "This legislation does not target those dog breeders that act responsibly and in the best interest of the animals in their [care]."

Under the legislation, breeders who produce nine litters of puppies and who sell 60 or more dogs annually would be required to obtain a license from the Ohio Department of Agriculture in order to continue operating. Licensing or registration requirements also would be instituted for dog retailers and rescue operations.

Application fees would run from $150-$750, depending on the number of dogs sold in a year. Licenses could be denied to individuals convicted of animal cruelty or animal fighting crimes in the past 20 years or revoked if breeders mistreat their animals.

The director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture will be responsible for establishing housing, nutrition, exercise and other care standards for breeders, with inspections annually to ensure those standards are being followed.

"By the passage of this bill, we are sending a message to all bad breeders -- they're not welcome in Ohio," Hughes said.

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