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A new law that will impose restrictions and regulations on puppy mills is headed for the desk of Ohio Governor John Kasich. The legislation, which has already cleared Ohio’s House and Senate, is a compromise that aims to reduce the abuses high-volume puppy breeders can get away with while preventing a ballot that would aim to place puppy mill restrictions in the state’s Constitution.

The Humane Society of the United States had aimed to push a ballot that would put puppy mill restrictions in the state’s Constitution after a state law that passed last year (and was pushed by global pet retailer Petland) negated ordinances in Toledo and a Columbus suburb that aimed to prohibit pet stores and other retailers from getting the dogs they sell from puppy mills. The new compromise means that further puppy mill restrictions will be kept off Ohio’s ballot for the next decade, but proponents still hope it will set a national standard for regulating puppy mills.

Under House Bill 506, any retailer who sells dogs would need their supplier to sign a document saying that they follow Ohio’s standards of care in regards to the feeding, housing, veterinary care, exercise, and human interaction of their animals.

The new law defines “high volume breeders” as those that keep at least six breeding dogs on the premises and either sell at least five dogs per year to brokers or retailers, sell at least 40 dogs directly to the public, or keep at least 40 or more puppies younger than 4 months that were bred on the premises. These high volume breeders will require annual licenses ranging from $150 to $750. Violating the law would bring civil penalties of $2,500 for the first offense and $5,000 for subsequent violations.

John Goodwin, senior director of the humane society’s national Stop Puppy Mills Campaign, helped negotiate the compromise. He said:

“We’ll see how it plays out. Ohio will be the first state in the nation to say that a sourcing requirement, where sellers get puppies, will be taken into account as well as the conditions in which breeding dogs live. Ohio is one of the most populous states in the nation, and there aren’t a lot of commercial dog breeding kennels in other states that meet these standards.”

Both sides involved in the compromise say they hope this new law will lead to higher standards for puppy mills across the country.

(H/T: Fox8, Toledo Blade)

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