There is no doubt that West Virginia has a problem when it comes to puppy mills. It seems that every time we turn on the news or open a newspaper there is another story about puppy mills in our state.
In fact, the Humane Society of the United States reports that it has been involved in several puppy mill raids in the state in recent years. One of the largest in the country was in Parkersburg just a few years ago.
So we were thrilled to learn that our legislature this session overwhelmingly passed SB 437, a bill to crack down on these unscrupulous breeders. Hopefully, requiring all commercial dog breeders to provide dogs with the basics, such as food, water and vet care, will help curb this problem.
This bill will also allow for inspections of these facilities by local authorities.
The people of West Virginia want our government to crack down on puppy mills. We sincerely hope our governor, Earl Ray Tomblin, will sign this bill to protect dogs and consumers, and will not give in to the demands and threats from those who profit off breeding dogs in inhumane conditions.
This law is well overdue. We do not want West Virginia to become the "puppy mill" capitol of the east. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia have now legislated stricter regulations on these breeding facilities, which may force the worst puppy mill offenders to relocate to West Virginia.
Theresa Bruner and Mary Ann McDonald
Federation of Humane Organizations of West Virginia