POSTED: Monday, July 19, 2010 - 9:17pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 - 10:02am
There have been several high profile raids on so-called puppy mill breeders in Texas in the last few months.
And one legislator wants to do something about it.
They are called puppy mills, though some breeders would argue with that term. But as Justice Potter Stewart once said of pornography…we know a puppy mill when we see one.
Legitimate animal breeders want no part of this. These kinds of puppy mill operations have been raided and put out of business all over the country. But Texas is one of the states that, while it has laws against animal cruelty, has no regulation of breeders.
“That would be it,” says Danika Maher of the SPCA. “Whether you know anything or not, you can probably become a breeder. If you’re a conscientious breeder working to better the breed and then you don’t really have anything to worry about.”
Representative Senfronia Thompson of Houston wants to put animal breeders in the same category as plumbers and hair stylists.
She wants a set of regulations, standards and licensing.
“What it’s designed to do,” says Gayle Helms of the Humane Society, “is really to have the commercial breeders, and any breeders, to have an inspection and make sure the facilities are up to proper standards, and the animals are healthy.”
Under her proposal, if you own 11 or more females used for breeding animals for sale, you would be considered a commercial breeder and need to be licensed.
The SPCA thinks that’s a good idea.
“When you have too many animals like that in such a small space,” Maher says, “the potential for disease spread is astronomical. You don’t get the socialization, which leads to behavior problems which is why a lot of animals end up in shelters.”
Breeders though sense this is a slippery slope aimed at ultimately putting them all out of business.
“We believe that there are organizations involved in this that are really after, and they’ve made statements that they would like to see the complete elimination of domesticated animals,” dog breeder David Tapley told us.
“If the breeders want to impact the legislation,” Maher counters, “they should be involved and they should be taking the steps to weed out those that aren’t breeding to standard and not just leave it to legislators and yell about what get passed.”
That last statement may be the truest of them all.
Honest breeders have nothing to fear and removing the bad apples will be good for the industry.
But standing on the sidelines isn't an option for them.