Regulation of Ohio's Puppy Mills and Dog Auctions
There are 142 USDA active 'Class A' licensed breeders in Ohio, and more than 61% of these breeding kennels are located in Baltic, Charm, Millersburg and Sugarcreek, the heart of Amish country. (In 2011, Holmes county licensed 429 kennels, a 26 percent increase from 2003, the year before the Ohio dog auctions started.)
With hundreds of kennel registrations in Ohio, there is great disparity in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) licensing and inspecting the appropriate number of kennels. Laws are on the books to provide minimum-care standards for animals, but enforcement has historically been spotty at best.
The USDA-APHIS, Animal Care (AC) unit licenses and inspects commercial breeding facilities; (those that sell wholesale) for violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA); likewise, a handful of states have laws that provide oversight of some breeding operations as well - Ohio is among them.
The state of Ohio has seven USDA-APHIS inspectors, which include Vet Medical Officers, Animal Care Inspectors and one Compliance Specialist. Enforcement of the AWA is handled by Investigative and Enforcement Services (IES). But puppy mills can successfully navigate around these laws by simply avoiding the reach of law enforcement - with so few USDA inspectors and minor fines, it's easy to stay in business.
A 2013 report issued by the USDA has confirmed Ohio ranks fifth among the top 10 states with the largest number of USDA licensed commercial dog breeders ('Class A') and dealers ('Class B'):
1. MO - 678 (ranked 1st in 2012)
2. IA - 248 (ranked 2nd in 2012)
3. OK - 205 (ranked 3rd in 2012)
4. KS - 195 (ranked 4th in 2012)
5. OH - 149 (ranked 6th in 2012)
6. AR - 146 (ranked 5th in 2012)
7. IN - 129 (ranked 7th in 2012)
8. NE - 74 (ranked 9th in 2012)
9. SD - 62 (NEW! Not ranked among top 10 states in 2012)
10. TX - 58 (ranked 10th in 2012)
*To view copies of USDA Animal Welfare Inspection Reports, click here.
*To view copies of USDA Animal Care Enforcement Actions (Complaints, Decision and Orders, Official Warnings and Stipulations), click here.
**To view a summary of state puppy mill laws as of May 2011, click here.
Ohio Commercial Dog Breeders Act
Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Senate Bill 130, a law regulating certain dog breeding kennels and dog retailers, into law on December 11, 2012. The Commercial Dog Breeders Act became effective on March 13, 2013.
High volume dog breeders and dog retailers are required to obtain a license from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
Animal rescues for dogs will be required to register their establishment with the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
The department will maintain a database of all persons registered to operate an animal rescue for dogs in Ohio.
A. HIGH VOLUME DOG BREEDERS
High volume breeder means any establishment that keeps, houses, and maintains adult breeding dogs that produce at least nine litters of puppies in any given calendar year and sells 60 or more adult dogs or puppies per calendar year.
The law generally prohibits a person from operating as a high volume breeder in Ohio without a license issued by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).
Anyone issued a license to operate as a high-volume dog breeder must adhere to standards of care developed and enforced by ODA and submit to regular (at least annual) inspections.
Veterinary care must be provided through an established veterinary-client-patient relationship.
Application fees for a high volume breeder license:
1. $150 sells 9 to 15 litters
2. $250 sells 16 to 25 litters
3. $350 sells 26 to 35 litters
4. $500 sells 36 to 45 litters
5. $750 sells 46 or more litters
Liability insurance or surety bond requirement:
1. $5,000 for keeping, housing and maintaining not more than 25 adult dogs
2. $10,000 for keeping, housing and maintaining 26 to 50 adult dogs
3. $50,000 for keeping, housing and maintaining more than 50 adult dogs
B. DOG RETAILERS
Dog retailer means a person who buys, sells, or offers to sell dogs at wholesale for resale to another or who sells or gives one or more dogs to a pet store annually.
The law generally prohibits a person from acting as a dog retailer in Ohio without a dog retailer license issued by ODA.
Anyone issued a license to operate as a dog retailer must adhere to requirements and procedures developed and enforced by ODA and submit to inspections as deemed necessary.
The application fee for a dog retailer license is $500 regardless of the number of dogs kept or sold.
C. ANIMAL RESCUE FOR DOGS
Animal rescue for dogs means any individual or organization recognized by ODA that keeps, houses, and maintains dogs and that is dedicated to the welfare, health, safety, and protection of dogs.
An animal rescue for dogs will not be recognized by ODA if the individual or organization operates for profit, sells dogs for a profit (see next bullet), breeds dogs, or purchases more than nine dogs in any given calendar year unless the dogs are purchased from a dog warden, a humane society, or another animal rescue for dogs.
An animal rescue for dogs may offer spayed or neutered dogs for adoption and charge reasonable adoption fees to cover the costs such as costs related to spaying or neutering dogs.
To be recognized as an animal rescue for dogs, an individual or organization must register the rescue with ODA.
1. An animal rescue for dogs is not required to adhere to care and caging standards.
2. No registration fee shall be charged to an animal rescue for dogs.
D. EXEMPTIONS (From Registration and Licensing Requirements)
1. Medical kennels for dogs
2. Research kennels for dogs
3. Animal shelters for dogs that are operated by counties or municipal corporations (pounds)
E. OHIO COMMERCIAL DOG BREEDER ACT PROPOSED RULES
Click here to view the proposed rules for the Ohio Commercial Dog Breeders Act filed with the Joint Committee for Agency Rule Review (JCARR) on July 24, 2013, approved September 23, 2013 and filed on September 30, 2013:
1. Rule 901:1-6-01 establishes the definitions and general considerations for this chapter of the Administrative Code.
2. Rule 901:1-6-02 establishes housing standards for dogs kept by high volume breeders.
3. Rule 901:1-6-03 establishes socialization standards for dogs kept by high volume breeders.
4. Rule 901:1-6-04 establishes food and water standards for dogs kept by high volume breeders.
5. Rule 901:1-6-05 establishes health standards for dogs kept by high volume breeders.
6. Rule 901:1-6-06 establishes transportation standards for dogs kept by high volume breeders.
7. Rule 901:1-6-07 establishes recordkeeping and identification for dogs kept by high volume breeders.
6. Rule 901:1-6-08 sets forth the licensing application form and procedure for high volume breeders and dog retailers, and the registration requirements for animal rescues for dogs.
7. Rule 901:1-6-09 establishes the procedures for inspections conducted under section 956.10 of the Revised Code.
8. Rule 901:1-6-10 establishes civil penalties for operating as a high volume breeder or dog retailer without a license
Click here to view the Business Impact Analysis for the Commercial Dog Breeders Rules
F. OHIO COMMERCIAL DOG BREEDING ADVISORY BOARD - APPOINTMENTS BY GOVERNOR JOHN KASICH
1. Michael A. Frederick, DVM of Cleves (Hamilton County) has been appointed for a term beginning March 22, 2013, and ending March 12, 2015. In 1985, Dr. Frederick established Miamitown Pet Hospital (Cleves, OH).
2. Patricia H. Haines, DVM of Xenia (Greene County) has been appointed for a term beginning March 25, 2013, and ending March 12, 2016. Dr. Haines is a practicing veterinarian at Country View Pet Hospital (Wilmington, OH) and serves as the President of the Ohio Veterinarian Medical Association (OVMA)
3. Dr. Harold F. Dates of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) has been appointed for a term beginning March 25, 2013, and ending March 12, 2014. Mr. Dates, who has served as CEO SPCA Cincinnati since 1986, was also appointed by former Governor Ted Strickland in 2010 to serve as a member of the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board.
4. Carol A. Sanger of Cincinnati (Hamilton County) has been appointed for a term beginning March 25, 2013, and ending March 12, 2016. Ms Sanger is active in Westie rescue.
SPECIAL NOTE! Many of you may recall Carol 's excellent interview on November 22, 2012 with Local 12 news general assignment reporter and weekend anchor, Paula Toti, in which she expressed strong opposition to SB 130 ( "Crack Down on Puppy Mills").
5. Julie A. Holmes of Middletown (Butler County) has been appointed for a term beginning April 11, 2013, and ending March 12, 2014. Lieutenant Holmes serves as the Dog Warden for Butler county and President of the Ohio County Dog Warden's Association (OCDWA).
6. Rita J. Wolfe (Franklin County) has been appointed for a term beginning June 19, 2013, and ending March 12, 2015. Ms. Wolfe is the daughter of Columbus Dispatch Chairman, Publisher and CEO John F. Wolfe, and directs the family’s philanthropic and civic efforts
Senate Bill 130 (As Enacted)
Senate Bill 130 Bill Analysis (As Passed by the General Assembly)
More information will be provided and posted to the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) website as it becomes available.
USDA-APHIS and the Animal Welfare Act
For more information on USDA minimum requirements, Animal Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) and the Animal Welfare Act regulations, read the article, "The USDA and Puppy Mills" published by Best Friends Animal Society.
To view the May 14, 2010 USDA report, APHIS Animal Care Report - Inspections of Problematic Dealers, click here. For more information in response to this report, read the articles:
On February 28, 2011, U.S. Representative Jim Gerlach (R-PA6) introduced the Puppy Uniform Protection Safety (PUPS) Act (H.R. 835). Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA23), Sam Farr (D-CA17) and Bill Young (R-FL10) are co-sponsors.
Summary of the bill:
Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act -
Amends the Animal Welfare Act to define a "high volume retail breeder" as a person who, in commerce, for compensation or profit: (1) has an ownership interest in or custody of one or more breeding female dogs; and (2) sells, via any means of conveyance, more than 50 of the offspring of such dogs for use as pets in any one-year period. Considers such a breeder of dogs to be a dealer.
Requires dealers to include on licensing applications and annual renewals the total number of dogs exempted from exercise on the premises of the dealer in the preceding year by a licensed veterinarian.
Requires the Secretary of Agriculture (USDA) to promulgate requirements for the exercise of dogs at facilities owned or operated by a dealer, including requiring daily access to exercise that: (1) allows the dogs to move sufficiently in a way that is not forced, repetitive, or restrictive; and (2) is in an area that is spacious, cleaned at least once a day, free of infestation by pests or vermin, and designed to prevent the dogs from escaping.
Allows an exemption if: (1) a licensed veterinarian determines that a dog should not exercise because of the health, condition, or well-being of the dog; and (2) such determination is reviewed and updated at least once every 30 days by the veterinarian, unless the basis for the determination is a permanent condition. Subjects such a determination to review and approval by the Secretary.
For more information on the status of bills in the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate, visit Ohio Legislative Service Commission.
For more information on contacting your local, state and federal elected officials to share your concerns about puppy mills and dog auctions, visit Congress by Capitol Advantage.