A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Texas to Regulate Puppy Mills

Bill passes with overwhelming support

The Texas legislature has passed a bill that will crack down on puppy mills, and the bill has now gone to the Governor to be signed into law.

The Senate passed the bill on Monday with some minor amendments that were approved yesterday in the Texas House.

Like most laws that give some protection to animals, this one was not without its critics. State Rep. David Simpson argued that requiring some minimal standards of care at puppy mills was establishing “a dog Gestapo.”

These minimum standards include providing:

At least an hour for dogs to be out of their cages so they can get some exercise in an area that has some “natural turf or soil” and is at least three times larger than the dog ‘s primary enclosure and has some shelter.

A rest period for female dogs between breeding cycles.

Minimum levels of veterinary care.

Minimum grooming.

Cages large enough for the animals “to comfortably stand, sit, turn around, and lie down in a natural position.”

Breeders will have to be licensed and to undergo yearly inspection. But breeders who raise greyhounds and herding or hunting dogs will be exempt from regulation.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. John Whitmire, said the legislation was designed to punish only irresponsible breeders and prevent them from raising animals in cruel conditions.

“This bill gets at true puppy mills, which gets to all types of health and animal welfare issues,” he said. “The main thing is to stop breeding in inhumane, unhealthy and unsanitary conditions.”

Full details of the bill and the various debates that transpired during its passage are at the Animal Law Coalition.

What do you say? Some animal protection groups want much stronger regulation of puppy mills – or for them to be banned outright. Let us know your view in a comment below or on Facebook.

What you can do: One thing we can all do is to never buy pets from a pet store. These places get their puppies from puppy mills (and kittens and other animals from other commercial breeders). Always adopt from a shelter or rescue group. Rescue groups often specialize in specific breeds, so whatever you’re looking for is always available.