Ohio lawmakers proposing pet store “puppy mill” law

Ohio lawmakers proposing pet store “puppy mill” law (WCMH Photo).

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — State lawmakers appear ready to fast track a pair of bills creating state law that would preempt local ordinances restricting the sale of “puppy mill” dogs in pet stores.

House Bill 573 and Senate Bill 331 were introduced after a failed attempt to by lawmakers to accomplish the same goal by attaching an amendment to an unrelated tax bill. House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger asked lawmakers to reintroduce the provisions as separate legislation. Both bills are set for committee hearings this week.

Earlier this year, Grove City Council passed a pet sales law requiring city pet stores to buy and sell only pets obtained from an animal shelter, humane society or rescue.

That local law, and a similar ordinance approved by the City of Toledo would be largely negated by the proposed state legislation.

In response to the new legislation, Mary O’Connor Shaver, speaking on behalf of a coalition of several animal welfare groups said the language in both bills is: “insufficient to adequately protect consumers or the puppies sold in pet stores whose parents live in breeding conditions where “profit above care” for the facility owner serves as their primary motive for existence.  Most importantly, we believe the proposed law will severely impact “Home Rule” authority as granted by the Ohio Constitution, one of the most important components of comprehensive oversight through local ordinances to effectively address “puppy mill” breeding facilities and the distribution channels such as Petland that support and keep these operations in business.”

The bill would require pet stores to provide all puppy buyers with the name and address of the breeder, the USDA license number of the breeder and a copy of the most current Department of Agriculture Inspection Report for the breeder.

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