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Friday, February 22, 2008

Puppy Mill bill dies in House. WHY?

How is it that the state and national legislatures can be so caring of one thing which is fairly inconsequential and let another important bill die?

House Bill 3192 was created to put a stop to puppy mills in Oklahoma.

A puppy mill is considered a dirty, trashy place where one or several breeds of dogs are kept in deplorable conditions with little or no medical care that ensures puppies are always available.

The Humane Society of the United States considers a puppy mill a breeding facility that produces purebred puppies in large numbers with problems like overbreeding, inbreeding, minimal veterinary care, poor quality of food and shelter, lack of human socialization, overcrowded cages and the killing of unwanted animals.

HB 3192 would have targeted breeders that raise dogs in these conditions.

The problem is that no one would second the motion, so it has been killed for the year.

Oklahoma has more than 600 breeders registered with the Department of Agriculture. The only state with more is Missouri.

This bill would ensured that breeding facilities are kept at an acceptable standard by having veterinarians grade them. If the facility did not pass inspection, the breeder would be unable to sell the animals.

Since 2000, more than 10 breeders have had their operations shut down. This is 10 out of 600. How many more puppy mill-like conditions exist in the 590 others?

The public cannot know until we have licensed inspectors to view them all. Meanwhile, state health inspectors have more important things to do than drive out to the ‘boonies’ to check them out.

Allowing veterinarians to be licensed and to do it would make it a more plausible idea.

Of course, they can only inspect registered dog breeders, and many breeders sell their animals to pet shops without having to show any sort of “clean bill of health.”

While there are problems with any bill introduced or law enacted, this one could have at least been given more of a chance to develop before being shot down.

The real problem I have with the legislature is that it is ready and willing to pass laws to allow Burns Hargis to become president early and move into his house months before he was supposed to — but a bill like this, which is meant to actually protect not only the animals in this state, but also the responsible breeders and owners who love them — is allowed to languish.

Is it really so important that Hargis takes office early?

I understand that it will allow him to weigh in on the budget, but to make something like that such a priority when those same legislatures don’t give a damn about the welfare of our animals is not only sad, but despicable.

I am in no way stating that the bill introduced to help elect Hargis is not useful or does not have the good of OSU at its heart, but surely people can see the fallacy shown by brushing off another important issue so easily.

Perhaps if animal rights supporters had more money to throw around, much like the way a college brings in revenue for the state, this would be a different story.

Unfortunately, those who support animal rights have more important things to spend money on than lobbying their legislature — like their animals.

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