Author Topic: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law  (Read 4553 times)

Ginger

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Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« on: July 15, 2010, 04:02:12 PM »
Oklahoma recently passed a new law which is intended to help eliminate or at a minimum identify BYB or puppy mills.  Anyone who has 11 or more (and I think 11 is way too many) female dogs or cats, has to register with the state as a breeder and follow all appropriate rules/regs. If you are found with more than 11 and you are not registered the dogs/cats will be removed.
I like the idea, but I don't think it is going to do much. If they take the animals, they will go to shelters, and sometimes that is not much better than where they began, but it is a start.

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Newcastle

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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2010, 07:29:05 PM »
There are several problems with this bill, not least of which is the fact that it requires breeders to adhere to rules and regulations that haven't even been established yet (but will make home-raising of puppies impossible, since they must meet USDA standards at minimum).  You may feel 11 intact females is too many, but many people can easily handle this number and more - not only true commercial facilities (who are already licensed and inspected by the USDA) that have hired staff, but (for example) families who have maybe 4 dogs and 2 cats each and breed cooperatively. (This bill isn't about 11 animals used for breeding, only 11 intact female dogs or cats - or any combination - over six months old.) 

As well, co-ownerships are included in this count - with co-owns, I have "custody or control" of 8 intact females; most of them don't live with me, but if I have another litter or two with some nice girls to co-own, Oklahoma would consider me a commercial breeder and if I lived there, I'd no longer be able to raise puppies in my house.  I'd instead be required to raise them in the unattached kennel buildings that the "anti-puppymill" crowd always complains about.

What's ironic is that the supporters of this bill called it the "Black Market Breeders Bill", but that's exactly what this bill will do - drive the medium-sized commercial breeders underground and create backwoods breeding  facilities and "black market" (roadside) puppy sales. 

Animal welfare laws already address facilities that keep dogs in filthy, crowded, neglectful conditions.  Adequate enforcement of these laws - which is sorely lacking in most areas - would do far more to improve the lives of dogs than bills that make it more difficult and expensive for the good guys - responsible breeders who care about things like genetic health, socialization, and screening buyers - to produce purebred puppies.  Most will stop breeding, rather than compromise their standards to meet requirements that are contradictory to the optimal health and welfare of their puppies.

(And I do wish these bills would stop exempting shelters and rescues - although of course shelters and rescues would never support them if they did. After all, isn't animal welfare just as important in a shelter environment? If breeders are forced to maintain certain standards of care, why aren't shelters and rescues required to provide that same care?)
« Last Edit: July 15, 2010, 07:32:43 PM by Newcastle »
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Ginger

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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2010, 09:46:27 AM »
Thanks for explaining it from the breeders perspective. I had heard via TV/Paper that the breeders were very much against this, but it was never explained very well why? Oklahoma is a horrible state when it comes to puppy mills, and I think most people are horrified by what the see via the media when one is found.  To those who have never bred for commercial purposes, or bred in a small enviornment, it seemed like a good idea.
It is too bad we could not hear all the arguments from both sides for this bill on media instead of the biased version we always seem to get when it comes to news :veryangry:  And yes, the current laws should be enforced, rather than just making up new ones. That seems to be the way of the world anymore :wall: :angry: 
Regarding the rescues: I do agree many are just as bad as puppy mills. As a matter of fact, there is a so called "rescue" just down the road from us. We called it in, even went down and confronted the lady, and she quickly informed us she was a resuce, not a breeder, and she kept all her males and females seperated (they were, but all are intact ?? :angry:) and she also told us she had more at her house (this place is her sons). We asked her what the name of her rescue etc was and she does not have one! No website, no parterning with other rescues to find homes, she just takes dogs and puts them in these little bitty outside kennels and feeds them once a day. That is it, no interaction, nothing  :furious3:!  I actually have two of the dogs now. My male Rattie, Little Man and a female Chloe. :smitten:
Anyway, off of my soap box for now :laugh4: :laugh4:
Thanks again for the new perspective!

     
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TobysMomma

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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2010, 11:15:35 AM »
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Regarding the rescues: I do agree many are just as bad as puppy mills. As a matter of fact, there is a so called "rescue" just down the road from us. We called it in, even went down and confronted the lady, and she quickly informed us she was a resuce, not a breeder, and she kept all her males and females seperated (they were, but all are intact ?? ) and she also told us she had more at her house (this place is her sons). We asked her what the name of her rescue etc was and she does not have one! No website, no parterning with other rescues to find homes, she just takes dogs and puts them in these little bitty outside kennels and feeds them once a day. That is it, no interaction, nothing 
She may call herself a rescue, but she is not. It seems that anyone with even a little bit of knowledge would be able to tell the difference. The vast majority of rescues are just that...rescues. Sure there are some imposters.  Legitimate rescues do not breed, most of our dogs come from shelters and most are at risk of being euthanized, most are volunteer driven. Our rescue is 100% volunteer. It not about making money, it is about saving dogs that others have dumped.

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(And I do wish these bills would stop exempting shelters and rescues - although of course shelters and rescues would never support them if they did. After all, isn't animal welfare just as important in a shelter environment? If breeders are forced to maintain certain standards of care, why aren't shelters and rescues required to provide that same care?)
While I agree that some shelters are better maintained than others, the obvious difference here is that shelters did not create the pets that are in their  care..again they are dealing with other peoples messes and are most often totally overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of pets and since the tax payers foot the bill they are almost always under staffed and underbudgeted.

It annoys me when discussions about breeding legislation, responsible breeding vs BYB etc so often villianize rescues. I just don't understand the point or need to make rescues the bad guys. There all always going to be some bad apples but why focus on them?? There are thousands of rescue/shelter volunteers all over the country busting their butts to clean up other peoples messes, we do it for the dogs, we aren't the villains. It isn't a threat to responsible breeders that people want to save these abandoned dogs.
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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2010, 12:22:16 PM »
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Thanks again for the new perspective!

Thanks for being open to hearing it! :)

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Oklahoma is a horrible state when it comes to puppy mills, and I think most people are horrified by what the see via the media when one is found. 

Yeah, while this bill was being pushed Oklahoma was the "second-highest puppy mill state in the country" - a status at least three other states have shared. ;)  There's a pattern that has become obvious over the past several years of following these legislative issues: first, start a rumor that there's a problem "OK is #2 for puppy mills"; second, introduce legislation to "solve" the problem; and third, at the critical time, find a way to sensationalize the problem (go after the 1-in-100 breeder that actually keeps their dogs in horrid conditions, and be sure to bring the news stations with you).  Sometimes the 'raid' happens before the legislation is introduced.  What the 'man on the street' fails to realize - and the media never points out - is that the raids happen only because what the breeder is doing is *already illegal*.  (Although sometimes the basis for the raid is totally bogus - yet you never really hear about it when the breeders are cleared of all charges, often after their dogs have been sold or died.)

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While I agree that some shelters are better maintained than others, the obvious difference here is that shelters did not create the pets that are in their  care.

I don't see how that's relevant. Whether they created the pets or not, shouldn't the pets be well cared for?

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are most often totally overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of pets and since the tax payers foot the bill they are almost always under staffed and underbudgeted.

Then they need to find ways to sell more pets and work with the community to increase funding, volunteers, etc.  Lack of staff or budget wouldn't be acceptable reasons for a breeder to keep their dogs in squalid conditions, and they shouldn't be for a shelter, either.

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It annoys me when discussions about breeding legislation, responsible breeding vs BYB etc so often villianize rescues.


Who has villainized rescues?  A desire for equal standards of care is not a condemnation of rescue groups.   

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There all always going to be some bad apples but why focus on them??

That's a very good question.  The vast majority of breeders have clean, healthy, happy dogs - so why pass legislation to address the few bad apples and punish the good guys?

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It isn't a threat to responsible breeders that people want to save these abandoned dogs.

And it isn't a threat to responsible rescues and shelters that people want those abandoned dogs to be treated well - assuming, of course, that the rescues and shelters think the standards set by these anti-breeding laws are reasonable and in the best interests of the dogs. (And if they're not, then why are rescues and shelters supporting them?)

I'm not remotely anti-rescue - I've worked with rescues, I've donated to rescues, and our club does fundraising every year specifically to support rescues.  (It's a simple fact, however, that many rescues are anti-breeder - far more than breeders who are anti-rescue.) I'm not even anti-shelter, if the shelter is one that is focused on reducing kill rates rather than increasing them.  I just think that if standards of care for multiple dogs are instituted, they should be instituted across the board, regardless of the person or group's tax status.
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Ginger

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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2010, 12:35:47 PM »
I too volunteer and donate to the RDBR (where I got Walker) and I agree wholeheartedly (Sp?) with their mission. I do however feel if they are considered a resuce they must actively try to find animals in need and find them homes, while ensuring they are well taken care of in the meantime.
RDBR does just that. They ensure every dog they rescue is vet checked, medications are provided,spay/nutering is done,  shots are up to date before they even adopt out. They are active at many events all year long. Each dog is fostered by careing individuals who have boxers of their own or at least some kind of dog, they home check, just very professional, but most of all they LOVE what they do. 
Now the lady down the street obviously loves the dogs and wants to help them, but I don't think she is helping them that much. They are alive, and they have food daily and shelter but they are left alone, no one to give them pets or socailize them, day after day, year after year and I think that is very sad.  We hear them barking and barking and barking and it just makes my heart hurt.  I guess if I was any kind of good person, I would go down there everyday and play with them, but I am afraid I would get in trouble for trespassing, or I would end up bringing all of them home.... and I am realistic enough to know I can't do that.
     
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TobysMomma

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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2010, 01:37:38 PM »
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While I agree that some shelters are better maintained than others, the obvious difference here is that shelters did not create the pets that are in their  care.

I don't see how that's relevant. Whether they created the pets or not, shouldn't the pets be well cared for?

The point is that they are not the cause of the problem, they are trying to clean it up. I just wouldn't be quite so quick to criticize the job they are doing with the limited resources they are working with...

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are most often totally overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of pets and since the tax payers foot the bill they are almost always under staffed and underbudgeted.

Then they need to find ways to sell more pets and work with the community to increase funding, volunteers, etc.  Lack of staff or budget wouldn't be acceptable reasons for a breeder to keep their dogs in squalid conditions, and they shouldn't be for a shelter, either.
Breeders can limit the numbers of dogs they produce...shelters can not limit the number of intakes..though it is their dream to do so and most try their best to increase funding through outreach programs etc. but it is never enough especially in this economy where funds are so tight.

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It isn't a threat to responsible breeders that people want to save these abandoned dogs.

And it isn't a threat to responsible rescues and shelters that people want those abandoned dogs to be treated well - assuming, of course, that the rescues and shelters think the standards set by these anti-breeding laws are reasonable and in the best interests of the dogs. (And if they're not, then why are rescues and shelters supporting them?)

That is my point..MOST rescues and shelters are treating them well...they are doing their best to SAVE them.

Sorry I couldn't get the quote tags to work out quite right...lol
« Last Edit: July 16, 2010, 01:39:31 PM by TobysMomma »
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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2010, 02:13:17 PM »
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I just wouldn't be quite so quick to criticize the job they are doing with the limited resources they are working with...

I haven't criticized the job they're doing, at all.  I'm simply stating that standards of care should be universal.

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shelters can not limit the number of intakes..

Sure they can, and many of them do. (And I'd wager all rescues do, when they run out of foster homes.)  If there's no room at the shelter, there's no room; they either kill the dogs they have to make more room, or they stop taking in new dogs. The more progressive ones have aggressive campaigns to get the pets they have into homes as soon as possible to make room for new ones. (A shelter here recently was selling cats for $5 and dogs for $25 to get them out the door quickly.  They don't provide any vet care, so can set prices that low, but they're up-front about the fact so I don't see any problem with it.)

Breeders can limit the number of dogs they produce, but sometimes things happen and they run into problems without breeding any litters - yet they are villainized for falling on hard times instead of being offered help to sell off some of their dogs or figure out a way to get things manageable again.

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MOST rescues and shelters are treating them well...they are doing their best to SAVE them.

Right.  And MOST breeders are treating their pets well and are doing their best so the puppies they breed never NEED to be saved.  So why focus on the few bad apples? (Or, if welfare is important enough that the bad apples deserve the focus - and this goes for breeders and shelters and rescues alike - why not work on providing education and support so that they can meet the appropriate standards of care?  Instituting engineering standards that make it impossible to produce home-raised puppies doesn't help anyone - not the breeders who are doing it right, and no longer will be able to; not the breeders who are doing it wrong, and will ignore the new laws as thoroughly as they ignore the existing ones; not the buyers, who suffer most when puppies are raised in detrimental conditions; and not the shelters and rescues, who will likely see far more dogs coming in because there will be fewer well-bred puppies available, meaning more 'problem' dogs getting dumped.)
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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2010, 06:46:09 PM »


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shelters can not limit the number of intakes..
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Sure they can, and many of them do. (And I'd wager all rescues do, when they run out of foster homes.)  If there's no room at the shelter, there's no room; they either kill the dogs they have to make more room, or they stop taking in new dogs
The shelters do not ahve the luxury to limit the number of "intakes" (euthanized dogs are still 'intakes')and yes they are forced to euthanize when they are too full. I fail to see how that can be compared to breeders that CAN control the numbers of dogs they produce. If they can not provide quality care they should produce fewer litters, an option shelters do not have. It is a rather BIG difference. And of course rescues are limited by how many foster homes are available...not by how many dogs they 'produce'. We wish there were NO dogs to rescue.
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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2010, 10:29:55 AM »
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The shelters do not ahve the luxury to limit the number of "intakes" (euthanized dogs are still 'intakes')and yes they are forced to euthanize when they are too full.

It may not happen in your area, but many shelters stop taking in dogs if they're full.  And I would disagree that they are "forced" to kill dogs - there are other options available, should they choose to think outside the box. (Many northern states - especially in the Northeast - constantly import dogs from shelters in other states, because they have more homes than dogs; some even import dogs from other countries.  I've mentioned the "fire sale" pricing, of course.  Nathan Winograd has many other excellent ideas for shelters to increase turnover rate and improve their reputation and standing.)

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I fail to see how that can be compared to breeders that CAN control the numbers of dogs they produce.

My comparison, again, was a breeder who hit hard times *without* producing any litters.  Even four dogs can be too many if you lose your job and are in danger of losing your home.  Yet most people will villainize those breeders, instead of offering support or assistance.  (Heck, it happens to non-breeders, too; any pet owner is seen by some as a villain if they fall on hard times.)

This, however, is far, far from the point that standards of care should be universal, and if a breeder with multiple dogs - no matter how many they're actually currently breeding, if any - has to keep their dogs in certain conditions, then shelters and rescues with similar or higher numbers of dogs should have to meet those same conditions.  That's all I'm saying - and I still don't understand what the resistance to the idea is.  I'm not interested for this discussion in whose "fault" it is that shelters have multiple dogs (because as I'm sure you know I disagree that breeders are responsible, for the most part) - but I cannot comprehend why someone would be offended at the suggestion that shelters keep their dogs in the same conditions that people want to require of breeders.  Does that fact that shelter dogs are "second hand" make them less worthy of proper care?  I hardly think so, but what other reason could there be for such resistance?
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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2010, 12:23:13 PM »
Wow I am just wondering how much time you have actually spent at shelters? Maybe shelters in CA are totally different than where you live. That is actually a very nice warm fuzzy thought.  If it was just a matter of thinking outside the box and being creative the problem would already be solved. Shelters are FULL despite all the creative programs and armies of caring volunteers. All the outreach programs are in place, volunteers are recruited, fosters homes at capacity and the shelters are still FULL. You can't send dogs to other shelters when they are also full. I was at our local shelter a few days ago and they are full to capacity with both dogs and cats and in just the few hours I was there SIX more dogs were coming in. All the phone calls and volunteers in the county can not keep up with the sheer numbers. And this is not just a glitch...I go to many shelters around CA and it is the same story every where.

Do second hand dogs deserve to be treated with less care? Of course not...but it is rediculous not to look at the source of the problem...someone... most likely BYB or puppy miller brought that puppy into the world. The pup was most likely sold with little/no screening and once the money changes hands the breeder doesn't look back. If all, or even most, breeders cared enough to screen homes carefully and have take back clauses we would have lots of empty cages in our shelters and even a few empty foster homes. Unfortunately you can not make people care about the dogs they bring into the world. Legislation will not make people care. I am not a big supporter of legislation but I do understand WHY so many people push for it. Their thinking may be misguided but the idea is to do SOMETHING.

My original point here is that I do not believe shelters/rescues are the SOURCE of the problem (quite the opposite is true)and that is why I have an objection to the idea that they are to be included in legislation that is intended to control the SOURCE of the problem  .. It makes no sense to me. I guess we can just agree to disagree.
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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2010, 03:35:17 PM »
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Maybe shelters in CA are totally different than where you live.

Quite likely, as I said.  Then again, San Francisco is a no-kill community, so obviously they've figured things out.  LA is a different matter, of course, as they've had Ed Boks in there trying his best to increase the kill rate over the years.  (From the sounds of it, the just-appointed new Director will be a vast improvement - not that that would be hard, but she sounds very promising.)  And there are the 30,000 puppies smuggled over the border into CA every year - so obviously there are homes out there, it's just that most of the CA shelters don't have enough market share.

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You can't send dogs to other shelters when they are also full.

The shelters in the Northeast, as I mentioned, are not full.  That's why they import dogs; they don't have enough owner-surrenders or strays there to meet the demand for shelter pets.

Think about it - there are approximately - even at the H$U$' highest estimate, which no doubt includes animal brought in for vaccination and spay/neuter clinics - 8 million dogs and cats brought to shelters every year and 4 million killed in shelters ever year (about 70% are feral cats, but we'll ignore that for now).  There are about 78 million owned dogs, and 94 million owned cats, in the US (the vast majority of which are sterilized, as an aside).  Even pretending that every dog killed in a shelter was sellable (there is a small percent which are brought to the shelter for euthanization, because they are too old or ill or aggressive), that's about 2% of the total pet population.  I can't for a second believe that there aren't homes for that 2%, if shelters market effectively, communities create reasonable pet laws, and - perhaps most importantly - limit laws are repealed.  (How many people do you know with three dogs who would gladly take another, and could easily provide it with excellent care, if their community didn't have a law limiting them to three?)

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If all, or even most, breeders cared enough to screen homes carefully and have take back clauses we would have lots of empty cages in our shelters

I'm not sure you would, if you're that full already.  Certainly take-back clauses would help in some cases, but most people are embarrassed to admit that they can't keep their dog for whatever reason - they wouldn't contact the breeder, even if they could.  And the breeders who have fines and penalties in their contracts if the people don't contact them also are the ones many people feel are "too controlling" - many of the people who dump their pets at shelters would never buy one from a responsible breeder in the first place.  We've seen that attitude here and on other forums often enough.

In CA, you're also probably seeing many of the same issues we are here with unemployment and home foreclosures. In that case, by your logic, it's the corporations and banks who are responsible for your current surge in shelter population.  (I think Michigan beats CA in unemployment and foreclosure, actually, but you're right that our shelters are not in nearly the dire situations that you seem to have. I've mentioned on here before the creative tactics our big shelter used to increase cat adoptions - http://www.michiganhumane.org/site/PageServer?pagename=CPO - and they're on their way to no-kill, with only a 10% kill rate a couple of years ago.)

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I do not believe shelters/rescues are the SOURCE of the problem (quite the opposite is true)and that is why I have an objection to the idea that they are to be included in legislation that is intended to control the SOURCE of the problem

If the legislation was intended to "control" the source of the problem - and if breeders actually were the source, which they're usually not - it would limit the number of litters a breeder could produce.  That would also be objectionable, and likely would fail a constitutional challenge, but it would at least make more sense if that were the actual intent.  This legislation does nothing at all to "control" the number of litters being produced each year.  All it does is make it more difficult and expensive to legally keep multiple dogs, whether you're breeding once a year or once a decade.  Some people might stop because of it, mostly the good ones that don't contribute to the shelter population no matter how you look at it.  Others will increase their volume - if they're going to have to build separate kennel facilities, they're going to need to increase their income to pay for it.  And, again, others will go underground, and those are the dogs you'll keep seeing in the shelters because not only will those breeders not screen their buyers, but they won't even be giving out their phone numbers to call for help in case a problem does arise. 

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I guess we can just agree to disagree.

I guess we'll have to, and I'm sure anyone who's still bothering to read this thread will be glad of it. ;) But I do hope you think about what I've said here, and think about whether standards of care legislation will really do anything about what you feel is the source of shelter population.  Also please keep in mind that just because someone sees ways rescues and shelters could improve, that doesn't meant they're criticizing what rescues and shelters are doing.  (And that even if someone does criticize a specific rescue or shelter, or a specific common practice, they're not criticizing every aspect of every one.  Lord knows there's tons of criticism of specific breeders here, but no one jumps in thinking it's a criticism of all breeders.)
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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2010, 07:08:45 PM »
Sorry just one quick comment..

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Then again, San Francisco is a no-kill community, so obviously they've figured things out.
Their latest idea is to ban pet sales altogether..........
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Re: Oklahoma Puppy Mill Law
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2010, 07:27:33 PM »
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Their latest idea is to ban pet sales altogether..........

Well, yes, that's a bone-headed move that I can't imagine will really fly.  However even the AC admits that surplus dogs and cats are not the problem - it's hamsters that are the most-euthanized animals in SF shelters.  (So I suppose I should clarify - SF is a no-kill-dog-and-cat community. Not to minimize the plight of the hamsters, but that's a totally different kind of problem and has no relation to dog breeders, anti-dog legislation, or breed rescues.)
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