Washington had no statewide laws to crack down on puppy mills, things are about to change. The impetus behind a new bill was the discovery of horrific conditions in local puppy mills that were raided in January.
State lawmakers corrected this oversight with a strong bill passed by the Legislature this week. The bill prohibits breeders from possessing more than 50 non-neutered dogs older than 6 months at one time. It sets standards for kennel size, exercise and sanitary conditions.
The bill’s language is a clarion call for basic humane treatment of dogs. Breeders will have to provide clean food and water, keep cages clean and allow dogs to leave their cages for at least an hour a day. Violators could be charged with a gross misdemeanor.
Commercial dog breeding requires standards and state oversight to monitor against unsanitary conditions and to protect consumers from the sale of sick and dying animals. There are environmental and public-health reasons to regulate these businesses, including the potential for soil and groundwater contamination and the spread of infectious diseases by poorly cared-for animals.
This is great news, but it’s sad there need to be laws so that these animals are humanely treated, you would hope that’s a given. The legislation now goes to the desk of Gov. Chris Gregoire, where it should be quickly signed into law.