Ohio Dog And Kennel Legislation
Please Contact Your Legislators And Senators
by JOHN YATES
American Sporting Dog Alliance
COLUMBUS, OH – Hearings are scheduled for Tuesday and Thursday on two pieces of legislation that would have a severe impact on all dog owners and hobby breeders in Ohio.
The Senate State and Local Government and Veterans’ Affairs Committee will receive a reported substitute bill for S.B. 173 (House version is H.B. 223) on Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the South Hearing Room. Testimony will not be taken on this new bill. This legislation imposes heavy financial and legal burdens on kennel owners.
On Thursday, at 8:30 a.m. in the Finance Hearing Room, a hearing will be held to review reported amendments to H.B. 446, which affects all dog owners. The House Local Municipal Government and Urban Revitalization Committee reportedly will take testimony at this hearing. The reported amendments were not made available to the public by Monday morning.
It appears that an attempt is being made to ram these two bills through the legislative process as quickly as possible.
These two bills take a giant step toward fulfilling the extreme animal rights agenda of the eventual elimination of the private ownership of animals. They would drastically reduce the number of puppies available in Ohio by sharply curtailing hobby breeding of purebred dogs.
A Senate fiscal analysis of S.S. 173 shows that additional licensing costs will exceed $300,000 for an estimated 2,000 kennels that would be classified as small hobby breeding kennels.
Under the legislation, a small breeding kennel is defined as having between nine and 15 dogs, which would impact most hobby kennels.
In addition, the analysis shows, a new supervisory position would cost about $60,000, and an unspecified number of dog wardens would have to be hired at $43,000 each. Estimates of the number of new dog wardens needed to enforce the law range from a minimum of 17 ($700,000 a year) to 88 ($3.8 million a year), plus numerous start-up costs.
These and other expenses would come out of the pockets of kennel owners.
Our prior reports have contained detailed analysis of this legislation, and this report will only summarize. For readers who want an in-depth analysis, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
S.B. 173 (companion to H.B. 223) has the potential to destroy hobby breeding of purebred dogs in Ohio in a misdirected effort to curtail “puppy mills.”
H.B. 446 mandates licensing for puppies at eight weeks of age, increases fees, reduces the age for a spay/neuter differential to six months, gives county auditors the power to revoke kennel licenses, and makes it much harder for good Samaritans to help lost dogs.
Testimony on the bills has been mixed, with only a few people attending previous hearings. However, some of the legislators and senators asked some hard questions and expressed doubts. Others, however, have signed on as cosponsors to this legislation.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance is supporting Ohio dog and kennel owners in an effort to defeat this legislation, and has offered strong testimony in opposition to the two bills. Ohio Valley Dog Owners President Norma Bennett Woolf has addressed the hearings on behalf of dog owners. Ms. Woolf has worked tirelessly to defeat this destructive legislation, and she is one of the true heroes of the movement to protect dog owners’ rights.
We strongly urge all Ohio dog and kennel owners to take an active role. Your participation and support are crucial. We cannot emphasize too strongly that this legislation stems from an extreme animal rights agenda that aims to greatly reduce the number of dogs as a giant step toward eliminating dog ownership altogether.
This legislation (a companion to H.B. 223) claims to target “puppy mills,” but would have a devastating impact on every kennel that has nine or more unsterilized adult dogs that could be construed as a “breeding dog.” Because of the definition and required burden of proof, almost all small hobby breeders will be affected.
A breeding dog is defined as any male or female dog that is intended for breeding or has produced one litter in a year, either as a stud dog or a mother. The law does not define standards for this definition or for the burden of proof, and the burden of proof rests with the kennel owner. We see this as a “Catch 22,” as there would be no way to conclusively prove the purpose for keeping any dog. It would a matter of convincing the dog warden to take the owner’s word.
This unvarnished animal rights legislation also grants dog wardens the power to confiscate any dog for which there is probable cause to call a breeding dog. The standards for probable cause are not defined, but could be construed as any dog that has the potential for being bred.
To obtain a breeding license, a kennel owner would have to pay an annual fee ranging from $150 to $750, submit to inspections by state officials, provide proof of insurance, purchase a bond guaranteeing financial liability, submit to a personal background check by the police, be fingerprinted and obtain and use an approved vendor number to advertise or sell a dog or puppy.
Inspections would open any area that houses dogs to state officials without a warrant, including the owner’s home. Papers, documents and bank records also could be examined or subpoenaed.
Citations can be given and fines levied for violations or “threatened violations,” which are not defined. Any hearing, trial or appeal of an action must be done through only one Ohio court, in Franklin County.
The inspections would be based on providing a specified level of physical care in housing, sanitation, medical care and food and water.
They would require a kennel to be cleaned every 12 hours, mandate professional veterinary care for even minor conditions, injuries or ailments, require grooming and nail trimming, mandate vaccinations, deworming and heartworm prevention, and require available water at all times, even in freezing weather.
We urge dog and kennel owners to submit written comments to each member of the committee. Emails, letters and phone calls all are important. This is urgent!
Every dog owner will be affected by HB 446.
- Puppies must be licensed for $10 apiece at eight weeks of age, and also must wear a collar and license tag at that age. A puppy must be registered and licensed before it can be sold or transferred. Unlicensed puppies and dogs can be confiscated.
- Individual dog licenses would rise from $2 to $10 per year, and kennel license costs would rise from $10 to $50. The extra charge for licensing for a dog that is not spayed or neutered will be imposed on dogs at six months of age, instead of the current nine months
- Kennel licenses would be required for anyone who raises a single litter of hunting dogs. The bill says: “A kennel owner is a person, partnership, firm, company, or corporation professionally engaged in the business of breeding dogs for hunting or for sale.”
- A particularly onerous part of the legislation gives county auditors the unrestricted power to revoke kennel licenses (this includes anyone who raises a single litter of hunting dogs) for unproven allegations of animal cruelty. County auditors do not have the qualifications to make judgments about animal cruelty, and the guilt or innocence of a dog owner facing such accusations should be determined only in a court of law. This power is given to auditors “if the auditor determines” that a violation of animal cruelty statutes has occurred. No limits are placed on this power, and the legislation does not define any criteria for an auditor to use. In fact, the law gives an auditor the power to revoke a license if he/she simply feels that a kennel owner may have violated cruelty statutes, or even extra-legal personal opinions about what constitutes cruelty.
- Good Samaritans who find a stray dog must notify authorities within two days and turn it over to the animal control agency within 10 days, and do not have the option to give the dog to a no-kill shelter or rescue group, or find someone to take the dog if its owner cannot be found. This exposes the dog to a high probability of euthanasia.
Other provisions regulate dogs that are declared dangerous, cats, ferrets and other animals.
The purpose of greatly increased fees is to make law-abiding dog owners pay for the cost of animal control in Ohio. The unfairness and irrationality of this approach is that responsible dog owners and breeders, who are perhaps the least likely cause of the problem, are the people who are being forced to pay for it.
Breeders and owners of purebred dogs rarely burden animal control agencies and animal shelters. Moreover, purebred puppies almost never are found in municipal animal shelters. This legislation makes responsible dog owners and breeders the “cash cow” that will be milked to pay for animal control efforts directed at irresponsible people who ignore the law. ASDA regards this as the unethical exploitation of law-abiding citizens.
People who actually violate the law should pay for the cost of enforcing it, through fines and other penalties. This cost should not be borne by law-abiding dog owners. We should not be held responsible for the actions of others, over which we have no control.
We urge dog and kennel owners to submit written comments to each member of the committee.
Please feel free to use any information contained in this report, and also to cross-post it and forward it to your friends.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance is the unified voice of sporting dog owners and professionals in America. We work at the grassroots level to defeat unfair legislation and policies that are harmful to dogs and the people who own and work with them. Our work to protect your rights is supported solely by the donations of our members. Your participation and membership are vital to our success. Please visit us on the web at http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org.
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