Sen. Jones wants to protect ‘man’s best friend’

Sen. Jones wants to protect ‘man’s best friend’

LANSING—A bipartisan package of legislation that would make “puppy mills” illegal was introduced in the Michigan Senate on Tuesday, said sponsor state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge.

“Dogs are companion animals, and they should not be looked at as a commodity that can be raised for profit,” Jones said. “If they are abused in puppy mills then they develop behavior problems.  The family that buys them suffers too.  This bill is about consumer protection as well as the humane treatment of dogs.”

Senate Bill 118, sponsored by Jones, would require “puppy mills” with more than 15 female dogs to be inspected by the Department of Agriculture. Jones’ bill and  SB 117 sponsored by Sen. Steve Bieda, D-Warren, address problems with large scale dog  breeding in Michigan. 

In April of 2012, a puppy mill with nearly 350 dogs, 12 cats and two birds was discovered in Jones’ district. These animals were kept in filthy cages that were stacked on top of one another.

Puppy mills are currently defined as any breeding operation that houses more than 50 animals. Dogs at puppy mills typically receive little to no medical care; live in squalid conditions with no exercise, socialization or human interaction; and are confined inside cramped wire-floored cages for life. There is little regard in puppy mills for the dogs’ health or any existing genetic conditions that may be passed on to the puppies.  

“Currently, Michigan has no regulations in place on large-scale breeders. The Puppy Protection Act will ensure that these animals are treated humanely,” said Jones. “The measure will crack down on irresponsible breeders and prevent from setting up shop in Michigan.”