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Veterinary Group Opposes Bill to Clean Up Puppy Mill Industry
Date:5/22/2009

AUSTIN, Texas, May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Animal welfare advocates throughout Texas were stunned by the Texas Veterinary Medical Association's last-minute position to oppose House Bill 3180, a bill to license and regulate large-scale commercial breeding facilities, or puppy mills.

"The TVMA's decision to put the commercial interest of breeders over the welfare of thousands of animals suffering in puppy mills is appalling," said Cile Holloway, president of Texas Humane Legislation Network, a nonprofit organization that advocates for laws to protect animals from cruelty.

Puppy mills are increasing at an alarming rate, flooding the pet market with inbred, sickly puppies sold to unsuspecting buyers through pet stores or Internet ads.

A typical puppy mill confines hundreds of adult dogs in small wire cages, keeping them in perpetual cycles of breeding. Puppy mill operators offer little care to their animals and often fail to provide adequate food and water. Veterinary care is rarely provided, and breeding females tend to be malnourished and in poor health. When an adult female can no longer reproduce, she is usually destroyed or abandoned.

Currently, there are no state laws to prohibit or regulate puppy mill operations in Texas. One of the provisions called for in H.B. 3180 would require routine veterinary care of the animals used and produced in puppy mills.

TVMA stated in a recent press release that it was "strongly in favor of putting an end to the deplorable conditions present in puppy and kitten mills." However, the release goes on to argue against even the most minimal requirements of animal care laid out in H.B. 3180, expressing concern about "putting onerous restrictions on responsible breeders."

In truth, the minimal standards of animal care outlined in H.B. 3180 are standards that any responsible breeder would already be providing. Breeders keeping 10 or fewer adult intact female animals are exempt from licensing requirements in this bill.

The TVMA release argues that animal cruelty laws are already in place to allow the seizure of starving or cruelly treated animals and, therefore, regulations are not needed.

However, by the time that law enforcement and animal control agencies have the evidence to conduct a seizure, the animals they find are often dead, dying or in need of extensive medical care.

Texas Humane Legislation Network, along with the SPCA of Texas and hundreds of other animal welfare agencies and rescue groups throughout Texas, supports H.B. 3180.

For more information on puppy mills and H.B. 3180, please visit thln.org.


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SOURCE Texas Humane Legislation Network
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