NILES, Ohio - A bill designed to crack down on high-volume dog breeding operations, or puppy mills, has cleared the Ohio House.
The law would place new regulations not only on large volume breeders but also on retailers and animal rescuers.
Supporters of the bill say law changes are needed because existing regulations are inadequate.
The measure would distinguish large-scale establishments from traditional dog kennels and set new standards for the care and treatment of animals.
"It will give us a better handle on who all is breeding these dogs and maybe have a better idea of the conditions in which these dogs are being kept," said Gwen Logan, Trumbull County Dog Warden.
Those considered dog retailers would now have to be licensed by the state, and the department of agriculture would contract with local veterinarians to conduct annual inspections.
Dr. Rachel Snyder of the Animal Medical Care Center in Niles recommends dealing only with reputable breeders to avoid dogs with possible multiple health problems.
"There are muscular skeletal problems, problems with the joints, problems with the bones, problems with the way they're going to grow as they get older," Dr. Snyder said.
Snyder says its best to always go to see where the dog is bred.
The Dog Warden is glad to see that animal rescues would also have to be registered. "A lot of people say they are rescuing, but when you actually go out and see what conditions these dogs are in it's not a good fate," Logan said.
Logan recalls a case in Trumbull County where more than 100 dogs were found in unhealthy conditions.
Dr. Snyder says it's is a step in the direction for breeder and rescue accountability. "Make them responsible for their grounds that they're kept on they can make them responsible for cleanliness."