Some dog rescue groups are urging their supporters to call their senators at the Ohio Statehouse to urge them to make changes to the puppy mill bill under consideration. Mary O’Connor Shaver with Ban Ohio Dog Auctions says she’s been fielding calls from various rescue groups in recent days over an amendment that has been put in the bill by a senate committee. That amendment would make dog rescues comply with the proposed requirements in this bill. But in an interview with Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles, O’Connor Shaver explains the bill would not apply to smaller, for profit breeders.
O’Connor Shaver: “Clearly if you are a not-for-profit and you operate on an all-network foster network of homes -- and these are all volunteer driven -- you now have the additional regulation not only of recruiting and maintaining a volunteer foster network of homes, but they also have to be open to allowing personal information to be registered with the state and to ensure compliance with registration provisions that they would be subject to inspections. That is not going to be expected of a backyard breeder. So you literally could have somebody who is producing eight or less litters a year, selling 59 dogs or less a year, who will not be subject to any regulation. And they could be operating as a smaller-scale puppy miller, but yet the animal rescue, who is a 501c3, is now going to be tasked with additional regulation on top of an all-volunteer network and it’s very difficult to really be able to maintain and grow an organization that is volunteer-driven when you now have this additional burden of regulation.”
Ingles: "So do you think this could backfire and actually hurt the rescue organizations by people who foster dogs, saying 'Hey, we don’t want to go through all of this?' "
O’Connor Shaver: "Absolutely. You are now being tasked -- volunteers that run these 501c3 organizations, many of them, the majority of them, do not have paid staff members. So they are doing this as a passion -- many of them work full time jobs. Now you are asking them to regulate, in addition to the regulation they adhere to under IRS guidelines if they are a 501c3, that it will clearly impact their ability to recruit and maintain a solid base of volunteers for their foster home network."
O’Connor Shaver says her group supported the puppy mill legislation when it passed the Ohio house. She said rescues were not allowed given the opportunity to be part of the process of the changes made in the Senate. She says those Senate changes weaken protections for dogs in puppy mills while making it more difficult for rescues to operate.