Diluted puppy mill bill heads to House

Posted May 8, 2013

Dogs were caged and living in filth and insects at a home in Brunswick County.

— A bill that would attempt to regulate some puppy mills in North Carolina is headed for the House floor, but only after being so watered down that even its supporters aren't sure exactly what it would accomplish.

House Bill 930passed the House Judiciary B Committee Wednesday on a unanimous vote. It would apply basic welfare standards for food, shelter, veterinary care and exercise to breeders who have 10 or more breeding female dogs on the premises.

However, it would not apply to breeders of show dogs, hunting dogs, sporting dogs or field dogs.

"I'm a gun guy. I appreciate hunting," explained  sponsor Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln. "I didn't want to encroach on the good actors. People who use dogs for hunting, they take care of their dogs. They spend money on those dogs."

An amendment unveiled Wednesday also exempts any kennel that provides boarding or training, no matter how small a fraction of the business it is.

That means a puppy mill breeder with one dog in the kennel that's a show dog, a gun dog, boarding or in training would be exempted from the basic welfare standards.

"Without those exclusions," Saine said, "I think it's more heartburn than any of us as legislators want to endure."

Saine said he has been accused by some bill opponents of "elevating dogs to the level of people," a charge he denied.

The measure, he said, "is designed to be minimal for that very purpose of avoiding some of the controversy in dealing with puppy mills."

Animal welfare advocates say the American Kennel Club pushed for the exceptions. The American Kennel Club denies that accusation. 

The AKC has been critical of the proposal since it was introduced, saying reasonable care standards should not be imposed only on large commercial breeders but should apply to all dogs.

Still, SPCA of Wake County director Hope Hancock called it a "victory." Her organization has helped to place dozens of dogs seized in puppy mill raids over the past year. 

"I think it's the right step, although it's watered down a bit," she said after the committee hearing. "It's better than nothing."

Hancock said the AKC should be supporting, not fighting, efforts to regulate puppy mills.

"It's costing taxpayers money," she added.

The proposal now moves to the House floor.


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  • mpheels May 9, 2013

    If "good actors" are taking care of their dogs, then it isn't an encroachment to require them to provide adequate food, water, shelter, and space to move.

  • bubbasu12 May 9, 2013

    I work in an animal emergency hospital.Maybe those making these decisions should spend a few months observing all the puppies from these faclities that either die or have to be euthanised.People pay hundreds of dollars for these pups,only to see it die.They are sold sick,the sellers lie about having vaccinated and deworming or they use vaccines purchased at a farm supply store where they have not been properly stored and are no longer viable.Once the puppy is sold and leaves the seller that is it,you are on your own.If you buy a puppy and a day later it stars showing signs of parvo either be prepared to spend big $$$ to try and save it or euthanise it.Do you really think those puppies you buy at the Fair grounds or flea mark( for $300,$400,$500 )are purebred puppies.The seller will tell you anything to make a sale.Do you think those "designer" dogs(maltipoo,cheweenies,etc.) are a breed absolutely not,they are basically a mixed breed dog that you are paying big bucks for.

  • caryzoo May 8, 2013

    It accomplishes close to nothing. Which is our state legislature. They do nothing worthwhile. They seem to be so bent on their OWN agenda, they are failing this whole state. Who elected these...um...less than...um...even average IQ folks? Thank God it was not me, I saw this train wreck coming when I checked their backgrounds. People and groups in this state need to hire good attorneys and shut them down. They are destroying a state I once thought was great.

  • terriersrfun May 8, 2013

    Puppy mills and backyard breeders and are a big issue in terms of the amount of tax dollars required to house, euthanize and dispose of the large number of unwanted animals that we have in NC. In most places, strays have to be kept 3 days before they can be posted for adoption or euthanized. The cost per animal handled is roughly $100.00. In 2011, Wake county euthanized 8265 animals; cost about $830,000.00. When you add in all the other counties in this state that number is quite significant. Your tax dollars at work.

  • Big Mike May 8, 2013

    I would never,ever buy a dog from any puppy mill...there's just too many dogs in shelters, and made available by other trusting sources. People need to do complete checks on breeders if they choose to go that route, and go see the kennels in person before buying.

  • ribbons55 May 8, 2013

    Yeah, the hunters take care of their dogs. I'm sure there are some that do but I guess that's why we have a houseful of rescued hounds set loose because they wouldn't hunt.

  • rushbot May 8, 2013

    great job gop..finally, something they failed to change in their typical draconian manner!!!

  • Damien Thorne May 8, 2013

    "The AKC gets a lot of business from puppymills. It's about time they bite the bullet and put the animal's best interest in the forefront."----labs

    I was actually shocked to see that, and I will make sure I let them know what I think about their protecting sick and damaged animals by allowing the AKC name to be used as a selling point. That is just flat out sorry on their part.

  • Damien Thorne May 8, 2013

    "As much as I hate government intervention, I wouldn't be opposed to requiring a license to own an in-tact animal (one that hasn't been 'fixed.') Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders are unnecessary and need to be squeezed out."----wolfie7873

    I oppose any requirement to owning any intact animal. Thousands of responsible owners would stand against that ignorance any time. Obviously you do not have any animals or you would understand that.

    You seek to punish the many for the deeds of a few.

  • labs May 8, 2013

    The AKC gets a lot of business from puppymills. It's about time they bite the bullet and put the animal's best interest in the forefront.