‘Petland bill’ is dangerous

To the Editor:

On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the Ohio state legislature will be back in session. Gary Scherer, Fayette County’s House member, will be returning, as he is running unopposed. Together, Representative Gary Scherer and State Senator Bob Peterson (also representing Fayette County) are sponsoring bills which will make it legal for pet stores to sell puppies obtained from both high volume commercial dogs breeders and smaller, ‘backyard” breeders.

The bill is know as the “Petland bill” after the controversial pet store that both had a hand in writing the bill and is its strongest backer. The Senate bill was passed last spring, the House is set to vote soon.

This bill is dangerous, and promotes the inhumane and outdated model of profit-motivated intensive dog breeding. These high volume commercial breeding establishments provide minimal care for the parents of the puppies. As a practicing veterinarian for the past 36 years, I have seen multiple dogs obtained from pet stores. Many puppies suffer from both physical and social defects. Chronic infections, congenital defects, and poor socialization are common. It is usual for high volume dog breeders to deny the dog’s social and physical needs. The dogs are kept in small cages and bred until their bodies give out, at which point they are either killed or sent to a rescue.

The USDA standards for high volume dog breeders are minimal and poorly enforced. In many cases, inspectors rely on self-reporting by the breeders. Ohio has nearly 1,000 commercial dog breeders, far more than can be inspected by either our state or local enforcement officials.

This bill will take away the rights of local citizens to ban pet stores from selling commercially-bred puppies, stripping home rule authority, and it will ensure that Ohio remains one of the worst puppy mill states in the country, despite the will of the people of Ohio who overwhelmingly denounce animal cruelty.

If Rep. Scherer is not representing your views on House Bill 573 (“the Petland bill,”) then I ask you to please make your feelings known. Call him at (614) 644-7928, send an email or snail mail, or comment on his Facebook page.

Lee Schrader, DVM