Oklahoma Lawmakers Debate Puppy Mill Legislation

Tuesday, February 22nd 2011, 9:11 pm
By: News On 6

Tara Vreeland, News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The puppy mill debate rages on at the State Capitol.

Two pieces of legislation have been introduced that would change the bill that passed last year, the Commercial Pet Breeders Act.

12/8/2010 Related Story: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Owners Dodging New Regulations

Supporters say its fine the way it is.

"This is not a situation where animal welfare people want to shut all breeders down. We are talking about substandard breeding. And our state is known for that," Shelli Holland-Handy, with the Oklahoma Alliance for Animals, said.

One of the new bills would put the regulation under a different department, the Department of Agriculture, and would exempt sport and working dogs from the rules.

"Companion animals are not livestock. That particular act has no business being under the department of Agriculture," Holland-Handy said. "The Vet Board is much better suited to govern the board because they already do investigations."

Advocates say the Commercial Pet Breeders Act rules ensure animals in breeding operations are given the most basic care by USDA guidelines: food, water, veterinary care and clean living conditions.

"They've made it to where it is absolutely so basic that no Oklahoman would want to see their own pet live like this," Ruth Steinberger, Legislative Chair for Oklahoma Human Federation, said.

"If you are a reputable breeder doing the right things for your animals, there is no reason why you couldn't comply with these standards," Holland-Handy said.

Senate Bill 637 aims to disapprove of the rules all together, putting Oklahoma back at square one.

"We really need to put politics aside and get Oklahoma on a top ten list better than top 10 puppy mill producing state in the nation," Holland-Handy said.

News On 6 tried to reach the authors of the two new bills and their supporters, but they did not return our calls by deadline.