Lacie Lowry, News On 6

OKMULGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma -- Oklahoma is sending a strong message to dog and cat breeders with the Commercial Pet Breeders Act: Take good care of your animals or you may go out of business.

A commission has come up with a list of new regulations and it's asking for public input before enforcing them.

Marva and Ron Ruhmann have been breeding Alaskan Malamutes for 12 years. They're concerned about the Commercial Pet Breeders Act they'll have to follow in their 13th year.

"It has a lot of good aspects. Unfortunately I don't think it is going to do what it was purported to do," said Marva.

The law requires basic necessities like food and clean water, adequate shelter and veterinary care. The Ruhmann's completely agree with those requirements.

Breeders must now get a sales tax permit so the Oklahoma Tax Commission can track their sales. They must also pay fees and be licensed, and that's where the Ruhmann's disagree.

"That's a potential for $750-$950 just in fees to get the license," Marva said.

The rules only apply to breeders who own 11 or more breeding females, so the Ruhmann's made a tough decision and gave up a younger female to stay underneath the threshold.

"Oklahoma has earned itself the title of the second largest puppy mill state in the nation and that is largely because there hasn't been any regulation up to this point," said Shelli Holland-Handy of the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals.

The new rules target the mass breeding operations, the worst of which are known as puppy mills. Violators can be fined and charged with misdemeanors.

"They really are not trying to punish anybody, they're just trying to ensure that animals are receiving basic necessities for their health and well-being," Holland-Handy said.

The Ruhmann's feel differently.

"They way they are going about it is penalizing the people who are trying to do the right thing," Marva said.

But they'll keep breeding these beautiful dogs, because they love it.

The commission overseeing the requirements is accepting public input through December 1st. The Rules Hearing will be December 9th at the Oklahoma State Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.