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Amy Kracht, Fargo, Published March 08 2013

Letter: Bill has loophole for puppy mills

4 Luv of Dog Rescue in Fargo applauds North Dakota lawmakers for introducing SB 2211, a bill to reform North Dakota’s animal cruelty code and provide first-offense felony penalties if a pet is tortured in our state. However, we are concerned about a loophole potentially exempting cruelty found in North Dakota puppy mills.

4 Luv of Dog Rescue has been rescuing and rehoming dogs for more than seven years. We welcome dogs into our adoption program from animal control facilities, other rescues and owner surrenders, but we’ve also rescued many puppy mill dogs. For those that do not know, puppy mills are often inhumane breeding facilities that produce puppies in large numbers. They are designed to maximize profits and commonly disregard the physical, social and emotional health of the dogs.

If the dogs at a North Dakota puppy mill are neglected or abused, an exemption in SB 2211 could prevent the owners from being prosecuted. The exemption states “any usual and customary practice in the breeding, raising, training, showing and competition of animals.” It may have been written to exempt animal agriculture, but that needs to be more clearly stated or it could eliminate protection for dogs in North Dakota puppy mills.

We urge legislators to amend SB 2211, closing this loophole, and pass SB 2211. So many people have worked hard to create a meaningful piece of legislation protecting North Dakota pets. Let’s make sure it also provides protection for dogs that may suffer neglect or abuse in puppy mills.