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Lawmakers make another attempt to regulate “large scale” dog breeders

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A bill that’s working its way through the state House would make large-scale dog breeders register with the state. “Large scale” would be any breeder with 15 or more female dogs used for breeding puppies.

Nancy Frank is a veterinarian with Michigan’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. She says talk of stricter state regulations comes up periodically when cases of so-called puppy mills are in the news.

“By knowing where the facilities are and doing education and outreach for them we can actually prevent a lot of problems. We can work on preventing and in the long run that actually lowers costs for everybody,” Frank said.

Frank says the bill would give the state an opportunity to prevent bad conditions and sick dogs from being sold.

Bob Darden is with the Michigan Association of Purebred Dogs, which opposes the latest bill. He says say irresponsible breeders will just ignore the law.

“It’s not based on any scientific fact or sound scientific management. It’s just a number,” Darden says of the 15 female dog designation. “I believe they just want to throw out a wide net to see who they can pull in,” he said.

Darden says more should be done to enforce existing local laws and provide more money for county animal control officers.

“If animal control does an inspection every year, you’ll be able to see a trend towards a situation that sometimes results in some of the horrific things we see on the news,” Darden said.

House Bill 5095 would also require animal shelters or control facilities to hold animals with traceable evidence of ownership for seven days. Pet shops and breeders importing animals from out of state would be required to give them certain vaccines.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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