There is good news to report about the controversial Texas Puppy Mill Bill that was referred to by opponents as “dog Gestapo.” The Texas Senate voted to approve the measure on Monday night.
The Senate made a few amendments to the bill which will have to be approved by the House, but ultimately commercial breeders who “sell or exchange 20 or more animals yearly and have 11 or more females capable of breeding” will have to comply with regulations that will protect animals.
Breeders will have to be licensed and submit to a yearly inspection of their kennels. They will have to provide basic grooming for the dogs and cats, keep cages clean and have all of the animals examined by a veterinarian at least once a year.
According to the Associated Press, the Senate bill exempts breeders who raise greyhounds and herding or hunting dogs from regulation.
The bill was originally introduced in the House by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) where it passed in such a heated debate many thought it would never make it to a vote in the Senate.
It then fell to the responsibility of Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston) and the Committee on Criminal Justice. Sen. Whitmire reassured his critics that the legislation wasn’t trying to hurt responsible breeders, but prevent irresponsible ones from raising animals in cruel conditions.
Sen. Whitmire said, “This bill gets at true puppy mills, which gets to all types of health and animal welfare issues. The main thing is to stop breeding in inhumane, unhealthy and unsanitary conditions.”
Opponents still call the bill an overreach of government and warn it will put good commercial breeders out of business.
The SPCA of East Texas was very pleased with the approval of the measure.
Deborah Dobbs, president of the organization told KYTX TV, “The good breeders should be excited because if we can shut down some of these mills their business is going to go up because people will stop buying puppies from bad millers that cost three to four hundred dollars and after 4 or 5 days they die.”
Related Story: Don’t Let The Texas Puppy Mill Bill Die
Photo from Animal Rescue Corps