By Randy Krehbiel, Tulsa World
Pet breeding is one area in which state regulation is appropriate, the latest Oklahoma Poll has found.
More than 70 percent of the 520 likely voters surveyed earlier this month said they support state regulation of large breeding operations. Fewer than 15 percent opposed such regulation.
“A lot of these places are breeding horrible quality dogs,” said poll respondent Shelly Young of Big Cabin. “I can’t stand it when I see dogs matted and covered in urine and feces and living on feces. To me, only licensed professionals should be breeding dogs.”
A law goes into effect this summer requiring dog and cat breeders with more than 10 breeding females to be licensed and inspected by a self-supporting state agency called the Board of Commercial Pet Breeders.
Licenses cost $300 to $420, depending on whether the facility is already licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Inspections can cost as much as $600 for facilities with more than 200 animals.
The USDA licenses breeders who sell to brokers and pet stores, but not those who sell directly to the public. The new Oklahoma law would regulate such breeders.
The law’s intent is to rein in so-called puppy mills – breeding operations that produce young cats and dogs with little regard for the health of the mothers. In 2007, Oklahoma was identified as one of the worst puppy mill states in the country.
A freshman state senator, Republican Josh Brecheen of Durant, said he wants the law repealed because it is too intrusive. Other critics warn it could lead to tighter regulation of livestock breeding operations.