Puppy mills: Ohio’s dirty little secret

Are you aware of how puppy mill dogs live?

For most, their entire lives are spent in cages that are only 6 inches larger than their body size with up to twelve dogs per cage — cages with only wire floors for them to stand on, stacked on top of each other with the dogs having to relieve themselves inside those cages. The cages are overcrowded, dark and filthy, with little water or fresh food and no provisions for regulating temperatures from freezing cold or stifling heat.

Some facilities have as many as 1,000 dogs. Unwanted animals, unsold puppies and dogs no longer able to reproduce may be auctioned off or killed. (These are standards set forth in the Animal Welfare Act!) Because dogs are considered production stock, females have no opportunity to recuperate or rest between litters, they exist solely for repeated breeding.

Dogs receive little or no medical care resulting in rotten teeth, hair loss, tumors, eye infections, overgrown nails, disease, skin infections and many suffering from dehydration and malnutrition. Breeders perform many medical procedures on their own animals without a vet.

According to the ASPCA, in 2017 there were 6.5 million unwanted animals in shelters in this country and another estimated 2.5 million animals being euthanized. Shelters are closing for lack of funding, as in Logan County, while puppy mills continue to breed millions of dogs every year.

Ohio is second in the nation in the number of licensed commercial breeding facilities (Missouri is number one.)

Ohio is now in the process of trying to push through HB506, revised law governing high volume dog breeders which disguises itself as an improvement to existing regulations while in truth it ensures profits continue to take precedence over animal welfare.

We should be ashamed that we allow this horrendous ‘business’ to thrive in Ohio and ashamed that we allow our politicians to block humane legislation and put profit over compassion.

If we cannot stop the existence of these horrific breeding facilities that profit millions from the suffering of animals, the very least we can do is ensure that the animals are treated humanely with access to fresh food, clean water, bedding, temperature controlled housing, exercise, socialization and veterinary care.

What is wrong with us as a society that we can turn a blind eye to the suffering, neglect and abuse of these animals? How sad is it that we have to fight to legislate for simple compassion and humane treatment?

We must be absolute in our resolve to fight for their right to humane treatment.

If not for us, they have no voice. Please speak up — LOUDLY.

Rebecca Johnson Babjak, Bellefontaine