Advocates Will Push Puppy Mill Bill Again

Wednesday, May 20th 2009, 5:29 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Oklahoma's Puppy Mill Bill was crushed in a Senate committee on Tuesday.  The proposed legislation would have established standards for breeding and housing, as well as require breeders to become licensed if they sell 35 or more animals a year.

The Tulsa SPCA sees its fair share of abused animals.  In fact, they have some dogs that were just rescued from a puppy mill.  So, employees say they are discouraged that a puppy mill bill never made it out of committee.

05/19/2009  Related Story: Puppy Mill Bill Dies In Committee

The bill would have required breeders who sell more than 35 animals a year to become licensed with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.  It also would have set minimum standards for housing and sanitation.

The bill passed easily in the both the House and Senate.  But, some lawmakers argued it would be unfair to breeders who already follow federal regulations.

Still, animal advocates say the bill will be back.

"It will pass again with the huge majority it did this year, and we will have a puppy mill bill in this state," said Stephen Eberle with the Oklahoma Animal Protection Association.

Stephen Eberle lobbied for the bill, and says it actually made it farther than he expected.  He says the push for puppy mill reform has managed to unite animal lovers across the state.

"People know we're here, they know we care. They know how important this issue is, how we have to clean up Oklahoma as the number two puppy mill producer in the country," said Stephen Eberle with the Oklahoma Animal Protection Association.

That sentiment is echoed at the SPCA, whose dogs are housed in spacious pens.  Its employees say the conditions should be not be a perk, but rather a requirement, for all Oklahoma animals.       

The Oklahoma Animal Protection Association says it will begin looking for a lawmaker to author a new puppy mill bill next year.  It hopes Representative Lee Denney, who wrote this year's version, will be willing to do it again.