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New bill would ban Ohio breeders from performing some surgeries on puppies

A yorkshire terrier
Stephen DeWeese

When you see Dobermans, Yorkshire Terriers and some other breeds of puppies, you may notice their tails have been cut off. Docking a tail is a standard practice performed on certain breeds when they are young puppies.

Oftentimes, veterinarians will do that surgery but they normally put the puppy under anesthesia and give them pain medications.

However, large breeders often do that surgical procedure in-house. They also often remove dewclaws, an extra claw that is at the bottom of a puppy's legs, crop their ears or "debark" the puppies with a process that involves removing a large amount of laryngeal tissue.

Some breeders are doing these procedures on young puppies without giving them anything to manage the pain. A new bill being introduced at the Ohio Statehouse would make it illegal for dog breeders from performing painful surgeries on puppies without pain medicine and anesthesia.

A few years ago, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law a bill that cracked down on puppy mills. It contained a provision was supposed to prevent large-capacity breeders from doing these painful surgeries on dogs.

Yet Vicki Deisner, executive director of Ohio Animal Advocates (OAA), said that law has been implemented in a way that still allows breeders to do that on very young puppies, often with no anesthesia or pain medication. So she is backing a new bill that she says would stop that practice for good.

“That will not be the opportunity or the option in this new bill that’s being presented. There will be no question that commercial dog breeders will not be doing any surgeries," Deisner said.
Under this bill, Deisner said those surgical procedures cannot be done without a veterinarian and mandates pain medication be used in the process.

Deisner said there’s currently not enough enforcement of existing animal abuse laws. She said she hopes as this bill makes it through the legislative process, the Department of Agriculture, which oversees enforcement over puppy breeders, will add more money to its budget to crack down on animal abuse.
State Rep. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) is one of the bill's sponsors. Lanese, OAA's legislator of the year, has sponsored and supported several key pieces of animal welfare legislation over the years, including that 2018 bill cracking down on puppy mills and a law that allows dogs on patios at public restaurants, if restaurant owners want to allow pups on their patios.

She said she intends to push for passage of this bill when the Ohio General Assembly comes back into session this year. But she will be leaving the legislature at the end of this year. If it doesn't pass this year, she said her co-sponsor on this bill, Rep. Jim Hoops (R- Napoleon) will bring it back for consideration after the first of next year.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.