House includes puppy mill language in budget

Posted June 12, 2014

— Members of the state House added language to the state budget Thursday that would define what constitutes a puppy mill. The amendment is an effort to fight puppy mills, operations that quickly breed young dogs but keep them and their mothers in unsavory conditions.

Strictly speaking, the puppy mill language is a policy not directly linked to the state spending laid out by the budget. However, both the state House and Senate frequently include policy items in the budget in a bid to force the other chamber to consider them. 

Sen. Bill Rabon Profanity-laced recording of NC senator's meeting cited in death of puppy mill bill In this case, the House passed a puppy mill bill last year but the Senate has been unwilling to take up the measure

The state House took up floor debate of the budget Thursday afternoon. Budget writers had already planned to move the state's animal welfare section from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to the Department of Public Safety. The idea behind that move is to put the section's emphasis on enforcing the law and remove the specter that the regulations might affect agricultural operations.

But Rep. Jason Saine, R-Lincoln, said that, without the ability to regulate breeders, the move would do little good.

"North Carolina is one of the most popular states in the nation for puppy mill operations," Saine said, pointing out that reports of a raid in Rutherford County were in the news even as lawmakers debated.

That prompted a retort from Rep. Jimmy Dixon, R-Duplin.

"If there's anybody on the floor of this House surprised that there's a raid going on today, then I've got some nice highway-front property in Goshen to sell you," said Dixon, suggesting the raid was conveniently timed to help the amendment's chances.

But those concerned about breeding operations won the day.

Rep. Rick Catlin, R-New Hanover, recalled adopting his dog after she was rescued from a dog-breeding operation. The dog, he said, could not walk at first because she was kept closed up in a cage for so long.

"Her feet were brown from standing in her own waste," Catlin said.

That prompted a question from Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, who pointed to the fact that raids were ongoing.

"If we already have laws in place where we can raid the puppy mills and take care of the problem, what's the need for this bill?" Collins asked.

Catlin explained that it would give sheriffs and others more authority to inspect breeders and avoid problems before they get out of hand.

The amendment passed 75-41.

The House is expected to give final passage to the budget by Friday. After that, the House and Senate will meet in a conference committee to craft a compromise spending plan.

Gov. Pat McCrory has supported a puppy mill bill and praised the House action Thursday.

"Today’s rescue of more than 50 dogs from a suspected puppy mill in Rutherford County further demonstrates that North Carolina continues to be a haven for puppy mill operators," McCrory said in a statement. "By applying existing common-sense standards for dog breeders, we can help stop unscrupulous puppy mill operators who take advantage of our state’s lack of regulations."


This blog post is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • eratledge Jun 16, 2014

    NC is NOT a "huge puppy mill state" 2 weeks ago The Humane Society of the US released it's list of top puppy mill states and NC wasn't even on their own top 10. They have lied so much they don't even know the truth anymore. The truth is HSUS, the most corrupt lobbying organization operating in the US, sees NC as a trophy state. We have a strong agriculturally based economy, pork, poultry and beef and the AKC is headquartered in Raleigh. This is nothing more than Kim Alboun and Wayne Pacelle whizzing on the corners of NC and staking their claim. Unfortunately for NC politicians like McCrory and Troxler who have bought into the HSUS divide and conquer strategy, their political careers are soon to be over.

  • cubhill Jun 14, 2014

    Thank you Rep. Dixon for pointing out the obvious that HSUS waited and watched, then timed this raid with military precision. HSUS recently paid Feld Entertainment /Ringling Brothers nearly $16 million settlement on a long-running lawsuit. The settlement also covered the related Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) case that Feld Entertainment filed against the groups after discovering they had paid a plaintiff for his participation in the original lawsuit and then attempted to conceal those payments. Surely staged raids would be possible.

  • cubhill Jun 14, 2014

    This plan would license and inspect anyone possessing more than nine intact females regardless of ownership, breeding activity, or sales. It is ludicrous to force expensive regulations on someone who is not engaged in commercial activity.

  • Chase Truman Jun 13, 2014
    user avatar

    ETBMFA, I don't buy it, and I believe there is a huge problem with animal over-population. Sure, PUPPIES might not be meeting the demand, but what about all the GROWN ADULT dogs that lose their lives in shelters every year because no one wants them? Do they not count?

    Dog breeders bother me because they are adding to the problem.. America is a spoiled place where many people are not content with a "mutt" and want a "perfect" pure-bred puppy to show off or call their own. I for one will only ever own stray or shelter dogs, and I for one do not want a puppy! But it's quite sad how many animals are subjected to a cruel life because of our petty demands.

  • Elizabeth Brinkley Jun 13, 2014
    user avatar

    10 Things You Didn’t Know About Puppy Mills

    1) BREEDERS are NOT responsible for the presence of dogs in shelters. "Producing" dogs due to failure to be a responsible owner and "breeding" dogs are not the same. We have a problem with a lack of responsible ownership, poor shelter management and poor pet distribution. Education is the key to improvement in this area.
    2) It has been PROVEN there is NO PET OVERPOPULATION. Since 2005 the birthrate for puppies has not been meeting the demand. Many rare breeds are declining to the point of extinction due to anti-breeder laws. According to the USDA more than 300,000 dogs were imported in 2013 from foreign countries by SHELTERS. If the current rate of laws and decline continue within 20 years your only source for a puppy may be a shelter “mutt” from Mexico, China or Puerto Rico with possible behavioral issues and NO health testing.
    3) In our modern day of instant access to information it is almost impossi

  • Lori De Stefano Jun 13, 2014
    user avatar

    Amen!!! Glad they're finally getting it and understanding the huge problem with puppy mills in NC. Put an end to it once and for all.