New Law Cracks Down on "Puppy Mills" - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

New Law Cracks Down on "Puppy Mills"

MERCER COUNTY (WVVA) - West Virginia now joins more than 30 other states that have passed laws to crack down on so-called "puppy mills."

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin just signed off on Senate Bill 437 which will force commercial dog breeders to provide humane living conditions along with veterinarian care.

The bill was sponsored by Senator John Unger, D-16, Senator Robert Beach, D-13, and Jack Yost, D-1.

Summer Wyatt, West Virginia state director for The Humane Society of the United States says that this form of animal cruelty can now begin to be regulated.

"I have personally witnessed puppy mill cruelty," Wyatt said. " I have seen animals euthanized in shelters because there are not enough homes for them all, and I have spoken to families who want to spay their pets but just don't have the resources. I'm deeply grateful to Governor Tomblin, Senators Kessler and Unger as well as the entire legislature for their effective work to help protect our beloved family pets."

This new law requires anyone keeping more than 10 intact dogs for the purpose of breeding to provide each dog with solid flooring, protection from the elements, adequate lighting, food, water, veterinary care and sanitary conditions.

It will also ban crates from being stacked on top of each other and will mandate veterinarian euthanasia only. All facilities will be required to provide adequate means of fire suppression and will force breeders to have their veterinarian certify that their animal is healthy before breeding.

Mercer County Veterinarian Dr. Danny Montgomery says he is in favor of any type of breeding regulation of this nature.

"Really the state is requiring the bare minimum to provide humane conditions for these animals," Montgomery says.

Senate Bill 202 was also passed which will provide funds for spay and neuter programs across the state.

Montgomery says these are the first steps into truly enforcing the humane treatment of animals across the state.

"It's important that if we want these animals to be our beloved family friends that we treat them like beloved family friends and not inventory," Montgomery said.

The new law will go into effect July, 1st 2013.

West Virginia ranks 38th in the HSUS' 2012 ranking of state animal protection laws.


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