In 1998, a local puppy mill was found to contain more than 100 dogs living in terrible conditions. The mill was shut down for not taking proper care of the animals. This was just one example of what Oklahoma State Senator Lewis Long says is an out of control problem in Oklahoma.
Long is chairman of a special legislative committee investigating the dog breeding industry. The committee is gathering information for a bill that would protect consumers against puppy mills. Long says the public needs protection because many of them don't know they've walked into a puppy mill until it's too late. "The average person doesn't realize until they've been taken by a pet store or puppy mill, that they are buying a dog or cat that has a genetic defect or disease," he explained.
Dr. Zola Price is a local kennel owner and veterinarian. "You've got some real good legitimate people out there that are doing a good job and then you've got the people who are just out there for money," said Price. She says if animal breeders are regulated, pet stores will have to be included because many of those stores buy their pets from mills. Price wants to see some type of law requiring breeders to be licensed and inspected by the state. Long says that's his goal as well.
Hereâ€™s how to protect yourself from buying a pet from a puppy mill. First, ask the breeder if they're licensed with the U-S-D-A. Second, insist on vaccination records. And third, ask for a contract before buying the dog. The contract should give you 24 hours to take the puppy to a veterinarian and make sure it's in good health.