With the enactment of Senate Bill 130 last March, many animal advocates who may not have gotten all the protections they had hoped for were nonetheless joyful there would be some oversight of the many puppy mills in Ohio.
But animal rescue groups did not escape the notice of the people who wrote the bill. As of Dec. 31, all animal rescue agencies with tax-exempt status operating in Ohio must be registered and licensed with the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the agency responsible for enforcing the new law.
It was kind of a Catch-22 for rescue groups that now must face the scrutiny of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
And with good reason in some cases.
The bill is designed to protect animals from misguided people who are “rescuing” them into situations not much better than they were in originally.
As one local rescue worker so succinctly put it, “We can’t have it both ways.”
For the most part, properly run rescues that register with the state will have no problem with the law. Organizations that are poorly run may not want to register if they are concerned about passing an inspection if a complaint is filed.
For those of you who have never heard of a rescue that has run awry, you may not understand the need for oversight. But some “rescues” are merely a cover for what could be a hoarding situation, or worse, an income-producing business.
Adopters should be aware that some so-called rescue groups in Ohio are buying litters of purported purebreds from puppy mills and then selling them to adopters who are under the mistaken impression that they are helping to rescue a puppy.
In reality, the businesses are supporting and promoting puppy mills. The people behind this despicable practice get up to 50 times more money for each animal than they paid for the poor animal.
In fact, a puppy mill operator who spoke at hearings on the bill said a lot of his business came from “rescues” who bought entire litters and then sold the animals.
“As ashamed as I was to admit it, I knew it was true,” said Martha Leary of Star-Mar Rescue in Wooster, an affiliate program of Rescue Alliance. “So buying dogs/puppies from Craigslist, etc., is the way a lot of rescues function.”
To stop the practice, the law prevents people from buying more than nine dogs a calendar year, with the exception of rescues that pay fees to shelters and pounds.
Senate Bill 130 is accomplishing what proponents wanted it to, said Leary, an advocate of the law.
“Many breeders have closed down. I can go through all my old puppy mill routes and more than half of the breeders are gone. Cage sizes for dogs have changed drastically [much larger, and they are required to provide] mandatory vet care,” Leary said.
The law also requires proper dental care.
“Mandatory teeth cleaning is a big medical plus for these dogs as we get so many dogs with heart issues due to years of tooth decay, not to mention the dogs that come to us with fractured jaws due to years of bacteria actually eating away the bone,” she said.
Learn more about the law at www.legislature.state.oh.us/bills.cfm?ID=129_SB_130.
Not horsing around
Thanks to you readers, Happy Trails Farm Animal Rescue is only $11,000 short of what it needs to start construction on a 65-foot-by-115-foot covered pole barn-like arena for abused and neglected horses.
If you remember, I asked readers to consider donating to Happy Trails to build a safe, dry place where workers can assess animals’ injuries and provide them with a place for rehabilitation in poor weather. The sanctuary needs $54,000 by the end of November to be eligible for a Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust award of $12,000 for the project.
I am happy to report that the fund has grown by $22,000. Also, Ahote, the black and white paint horse that was featured in the story, may be headed to a new home soon.
To learn more about the sanctuary and its campaign, visit Happy Trails at www.happytrailsfarm.org/category/get-involved/ or call 330-296-5914. Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary is at 5623 New Milford Road, Ravenna, OH 44266.
Other animals in the news:
Pets for Vets — One of A Kind pet rescue is offering men and women who served in the military special adoption rates with proof of service from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at its adoption center, 1929 W. Market St., Akron. A Swensons food truck will be on site at 11 a.m. and volunteers for the rescue are sponsoring a bake sale beginning at 10 a.m. For more information, call 330-865-6200 or visit www.oneofakindpets.com.
Photos with Santa — Pawsibilities, the Humane Society of Greater Akron is raising money for homeless animals with Santa PAWS from 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 30 at the shelter at 7996 Darrow Road, Twinsburg. Sitting fee is $10 and photos can be ordered online along with other novelty items that will be ready in time for Christmas.
Kathy Antoniotti writes about pets for the Akron Beacon Journal. She is unable to help locate, place or provide medical attention for an individual animal. If you have an idea or question about pets, write her at the Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309-0640; call 330-996-3565; or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.