The Amish are known for their love of God, tradition and family but some, not all, are known for the mass breeding of dogs on farm puppy mills. Admittedly, the Amish are not alone in this deplorable practice, in which dogs live their entire lives in suffering and fear.
Puppy mills breed congenital defects, socialization problems, health problems, nerve problems and so on. The Humane Society of the United States estimates 99 percent of dogs sold in pet stores come from puppy mills, where animals live their entire lives in extremely small, wire cages with multiple dogs. Often they do not have room to stand up or turn around, and they are covered in feces and urine. The dogs never are bathed and do not receive veterinary care. Chain collars are allowed to grow into their necks, and females are bred every heat cycle until a ripe old age. These dogs do not know how to walk on grass or on a floor!
About four million dogs and cats are put to death every year. The massive amounts of puppies produced from mills and pet owners not spaying and neutering creates this slaughter problem. As human beings privileged with the care of these helpless animals, we must take responsibility and act now. It is unconscionable to ignore the problem.
What can one do to help? Always, adopt from shelters, pounds or rescues. Here, one can find pure-bred dogs of all ages and sizes. One-third to 50 percent of dogs in shelters, pounds or rescues are purebred. Nevertheless, do not forget mixed breeds, aka designer mixes, make wonderful pets, and usually have fewer health problems. And sadly, more mixes are put to death each year. Go to www.petfinder.com to search by zip code for local rescues and Scioto County Dog Pound. One will find many beautiful dogs, cats, horses, etc., that are available locally. If you do not find a companion here, look at nearby locations or ask a local rescue to help.
And remember, the No. 1 commandant of responsible pet ownership is to spay and neuter your pets. In addition, if your dog ever needs a new home, remember an unaltered pet could end up in a puppy mill. The mills routinely make fraudulent registration papers for its dogs, get dogs through advertisements, unethical transporters, rescues, dog auctions, pounds and possibly from Scioto County Swap Days.
Ohio is the second worst state in the nation for puppy mills. Pennsylvania, known as the puppy mill capital of the East, has 2,440 kennel licenses and Ohio has more than 11,000! Conditions are improving in Pennsylvania, because the governor and legislators are taking actions to regulate dog kennels. (Please remember, not all dog kennels are puppy mills.) Sadly, many mills are relocating to Ohio, or selling their dogs at Ohio dog auctions.
The good news is there is Ohio legislation in committee known as the Ohio Puppy Mill Bill or H.B. 223. The goal of this legislation is to address the large-scale abuse and neglect of breeding dogs maintained in high-volume breeding facilities. The dog breeding business is unregulated in Ohio. National undercover investigators have shown Ohio to be the worst state for unsanitary living conditions for dogs.
Please contact your Ohio legislators - locally Rep. Todd Book and Sen. Tom Niehaus - and ask them to co-sponsor or support this humane bill. It is time Ohio steps up and passes laws to protect all living beings entrusted to our care. For more information on this bill and photos of puppy mills, visit Columbus Dog Connection at www.columbusdogconnection.com/PuppyMillBill.htm.
Submitted by Cheryl Carpenter, for the Animal Welfare League of Scioto County (858-2446).