New York and Ohio Pass Puppy Mill Bills

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Barbara McKelvey came down for the event.  Her dog, Sammy, looks on as Ohio Governor John Kasich signs the bill into law.
Barbara McKelvey came down for the event, and her dog, Sammy, looks on as Ohio Governor John Kasich signs the bill into law.


New York and Ohio’s governors just signed into law bills cracking down on puppy mills. Though these measures will still allow breeders to continue churning out puppies for profit, the bills aim to greatly improve the lives of thousands of dogs, and are just the beginning of many politicians’ aspirations to better protect animals.

The New York bill was sponsored by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a cat owner and animal lover.

New York’s Department of Agriculture and Markets will go on enforcing current state laws regarding breeders’ care of their animals, and it will be up to local municipalities to adopt the harsher laws.

Hopefully there are going to be a lot of good local bills that prevent puppy mills from either gaining a foothold or operating in these localities,” said Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), a sponsor of the bill. “This is a good step in the giant undertaking of getting rid of puppy mills, which only produce suffering.”

Though he may have already intended to sign it, Governor Cuomo may have been largely influenced by the publicity surrounding the case of the Sprakers dogs, a number of Border Collies and Shih Tzus being kept outdoors as temperatures plummeted well below zero, with only plastic oil barrels as shelter. It was reported that two puppies had already frozen to death.

Many of the dogs were seized from owner Herbert Weich, and some will be returned if he provides adequate shelter for them within two weeks. The law is very lax considering that pets die from being left out in the elements, and carries a maximum fine of $100 for a first offense.

The current penalty is the equivalent of an expired parking meter,” state Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk (D – Duanesburg) said in a statement. “Knowingly leaving dogs to suffer in the cold should be treated as a crime, not as an expired parking ticket.”

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal at a rally urging Governor Cuomo to sign the bill.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal at a rally urging Governor Cuomo to sign the bill.


Montgomery County Sheriff Michael Amato wrote a letter to Tkaczyk, complaining that his office and state police “are not able to do anything” about cases like these. Tkaczyk’s knowledge of the situation initiated her own action in seeing the law changed.

It’s just one step,” she said. “We’ll be continuing to work on this to make sure that what we’re changing makes sense to what’s out in the community, and what our local officials are dealing with.”

Ohio has long been criticized for being the second worst state for dog breeding. Dogs there face very little protection from unscrupulous mill owners, who do not care that their dogs spend their entire lives in misery. Now Ohio breeders must have background checks, proof of insurance, a surety bond and a set relationship with a veterinarian who will provide their animals’ care.

The puppy mill industry wanted to keep the state law unchanged because it allowed maximum profit and minimum accountability,” said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “But with this law, we’ll be able to keep a closer eye on these operations, stop inhumane practices, and undoubtedly save many lives. For New Yorkers and animal lovers – and animals themselves – this is a huge and important win. The ASPCA stands ready to assist local governments as they seek to enact and enforce tougher laws on pet stores and commercial breeders.”

Though the bills are a big step, they’re just the beginning of a long road. Rosenthal will continue in her efforts of increasing animal protection.

The ultimate goal,” she said, “is to end puppy mills.”





24 thoughts on “New York and Ohio Pass Puppy Mill Bills”

  1. Why are so many people buying sickly puppies from shady dealers (and probably dropping a good amount of $$) when there are so many wonderful dogs and cats waiting to be adopted from animal shelters??? I will never understand that.

    • One problem is that people are restricted to having dogs of less than so many inches in height or weight. I am disabled and live in an apartment. The rules here are no taller than 15 inches. You can’t know for sure a dog will be less than that, if they are acquired as a puppy. I have found that in most cases, the larger the breed, the more docile the dog. Just look at the usual temperament of a Chihuahua compared to a Labrador Retriever! These rules make no sense. Smaller doesn’t mean nicer or quieter. Therefore, people tend to get dogs that fit within the guidelines of these rules they are forced to live under. A tenacious small dog can do a lot of damage. I have a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel due to this very reason. She’s a great loving dog but, she cost much more than I can afford in the future. I’m not saying there are not nice small dogs or mean large dogs, but in general. I wish people who know about dogs would make the rules. Not people who apparently know so little.

  2. I hope the site administrator can do something about the fact that an ad for shi tzu puppies from popped up right below this story on my screen. That’s disgusting. Whoever allows such ads to exist on sites like this, fix your algorithms. Better yet, quit allowing such ads to exist anywhere!

  3. I urge folks to adopt. There are breed specific resues as well as shelters. My companions are all rescues. Ohio is dominated by politicans who are all about the bottom line.

  4. I WOULD LOVE TO ADOPT SMALL MIXED BREED ALL THE RESCUE SITES HAVE LARGE DOGS…BRUNSWICK oH 44212 on rescue site for peek..pom’s shitzu’s on disability just wanting a pet to love and care for…young,,female…no poodles or terriers…

    • contact Judy at Chelsea’s Legacy via facebook ! I have had many friends rescue small dogs via her rescue and have been thrilled with their rescues. She & fosters keep the fur babies until they know their personallities and then suit them with their furever families. Great rescue ! and she will meet you with your baby if you meet the requirements for adoption

  5. Very informative Mary!
    Also very saddening. It seems like this bill is a false sense of hope. When the head honcho of a puppy mill is rooting for this bill to pass, something definately stinks. Corruption in politics, it sickens me to think that the very people who run the puppy mills are helping to write the laws AGAINST it. (With their own agenda in mind)
    I was actually a little optimistic about this bill until I checked out your link and did a little research on my own. Smashed my hope to bits.


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