Puppy Mill Bill Passes in Texas Legislature
AUSTIN, Texas, June 1, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — As of May 30, House Bill 1451, often referred to in the media as the “Puppy Mill Bill,” has passed by wide margins in both the Texas House and Senate.
This proposed law, supported by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association, seeks to eliminate substandard breeding facilities known as “puppy mills” in the state of Texas. The bill applies only to large-scale cat and dog breeders and requires that facilities uphold basic standards of care so that the animals have both the health and socialization necessary to become beloved family pets.
The only breeders subject to regulation under this proposed law are those who have 11 or more intact breeding females and are involved in the business of selling (directly or indirectly to the public) or exchanging their offspring. In addition, the breeder must sell or exchange no fewer than 20 animals in a calendar year for regulations to apply. Dogs that are primarily used for racing, herding or hunting are exempt from regulation.
Commercial breeders who are subject to regulation must become licensed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) who will inspect their facilities every 18 months and charge a fee based on the number of breeding females at the facility. The agency will maintain a directory of state licensed breeders that the public can access. Breeders will also be required to place their license number in advertisements, contracts and display it at their facilities.
The standards of care required under HB 1451 are taken from the United States Department of Agriculture’s established animal standards of care for wholesale breeders. These standards include things like providing animals with access to food, water, sanitation, structurally sound shelter with protection from inclement weather, proper ventilation, daily exercise (unless a veterinarian specifies otherwise), adequate rest between breeding cycles, one regular veterinary exam per year for breeding animals and basic grooming to prevent conditions that adversely affect health.
Further, HB 1451 requires that enclosures have adequate drainage, are made out of safe materials and have adequate space for animals to comfortably stand, sit, turn around and lie down in a natural position. Enclosures that are stacked must not exceed three vertical levels and there must be an impervious barrier between them to prevent materials from falling into cages below.
Breeders must also keep thorough records about each animal including health information, such as routine and preventive care and treatments of any disease or illness that affects the animals’ health or well-being.
HB 1451 has been sent to the Governor’s desk, where it awaits only a signature. A full copy of the bill is available here.
Director of Government Relations
SOURCE Texas Veterinary Medical Association