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Monday, June 8, 2009

For the Love of Puppies

Posted on Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 5:58 PM

In a happy event for dogs and puppy lovers, the “puppy mill law” successfully made its way through the Oregon senate last Tuesday, June 2, and onto the desk of Governor Ted Kulongoski, who has already said he will sign it. Passing 18-10, most of the opposition was from Republicans, backed by breeders and puppy-haters.

The new law limits breeders to 50 breeding dogs who must be over two years old and mandates that all dogs be given at least one hour’s exercise a day. And they must have enough room to sit, stand, turn, and lie down.

Furthermore, pet stores can no longer rely on customers’ infatuation with the cute and furry to avoid disclosing their breeders. The new law requires pet stores to state where their puppies come from. No more excuses of protecting financial interest — pet stores often say they don’t want customers bypassing their stores and going directly to the breeders simply to avoid disclosing puppy mills as their source, says Matt Rossell of In Defense for Animals.

Rossell was involved in a campaign against Scamps, a pet store chain notorious for its use of puppy mill puppies. Incidentally, it was reported today that Scamps is closing its doors for good.

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Puppy eyes make me cry. Photo via Oregon Humane Society.

Puppy-lover extraordinaire Scott Beckstead of the Humane Society of the United States tells the Mercury this new law “won’t have any effect on the future of responsible breeding….This is really addressed at large-scale operations where dogs are treated as a cash-crop, not a companion animal.”

Puppy mills are large-scale breeding facilities infamous for their inhumane treatment dogs, which often includes stacked cages with wire bottoms, zero medical treatment, no human contact, and forcible breeding cycle after cycle.

To avoid getting a puppy mill dog, HSUS recommends considering adoption and says to avoid pet stores, most of which do sell puppy mill puppies, despite their claims otherwise. For those who really do want to get their dog from a breeder, HSUS offers tips on how find a responsible one.

-Rachael Marcus

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