Ohio Republicans, at the urging of the Petland chain of stores and their lobbyists, are planning to pass a bill that would overturn local ordinances that regulate pet stores and the dog breeders they purchase from. The laws, in effect in communities including Toledo and Grove City, were passed to crack down on the sale of dogs from unethical commercial breeders running puppy mills – facilities where dogs are kept in inhumane and unsanitary conditions and often carry disease or genetic conditions.

Speaker Cliff Rosenberger regurgitates the lobbyists’ talking points explains:

“It’s important that we not look at how we can potentially put someone out of business in our communities”

But other pet store chains manage to survive without selling dogs from puppy mills. Maybe Petland is doing it wrong?

The bill creates new licensing requirements for commercial breeders and pet stores, but would be the weakest such law in the nation. It contains loopholes allowing pet stores to purchase from unlicensed breeders, as well as from licensed breeders who have received violations in the past.

Far worse is the further attack on local control. The bill states:

“it is the intent of the General Assembly to preempt any local ordinance, resolution or law adopted to regulate the sale, delivery, barter, auction, broker or transfer of a dog to a person from a pet store.”

Advocates and city officials invested months coming up with thoughtful protections against the scourge of puppy mills, but that effort will be undone overnight by far-flung lawmakers at the Statehouse. The bill’s sponsor hails form Sabina, a village of 2,500 in rural Clinton County. Speaker Rosenberger comes from Clarksville, a village of 548 in rural Clinton County. But both think they know better how to create jobs in Grove City and Toledo than the voters there and the elected leaders they’ve chosen.

The bill is assigned to the House Finance Committee and gets its first House hearing Tuesday at 10a.m. Find out more at www.stoppetlandbill.com and contact your Representative.

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