GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Humane Society of the United States hosted Lobby Day meetings throughout the state today, including in Guilford County. One goal was to gather support for an anti-puppy mill bill in North Carolina.
House Bill 930 passed the State House last year but is now stalled in the State Senate.
Guilford County Humane Society leader Summer Connor said, “In the past four weeks alone we’ve had three major puppy mill busts. These things happen because there are no laws in place to protect those animals.”
Connor says the proposed law “requires the very basics.” It establishes standards of care for large commercial dog breeding facilities.
The bill primarily requires fresh food and water, daily exercise, appropriate veterinary care and sanitary shelter at any site where ten or more female dogs are bred.
“It’s kind of stuck in limbo,” Connor said of the bill. “We have a lot of support on the House side but not quite as much on the Senate side.”
After getting resistance last year, language was written into the bill to exclude hunting, sporting and show dogs.
The American Kennell Club opposes the bill.
In a statement to FOX8 Friday, a spokesperson explained, “The American Kennel Club believes that devoting more resources to enforcing current laws is a better solution than more regulation. North Carolina’s Animal Welfare Act already provides laws to govern the care of animals. Recent law enforcement actions against substandard kennels demonstrate that these laws work. The priority should be on providing local law enforcement with the resources they need to properly enforce these laws.”
FOX8 also reached out to Senator Phil Berger for more information about why the bill is not passing through the Senate.
His communications office pointed us to statement from January that said “unethical tactics derailed the puppy mill bill.”
“Senate leaders recently became aware that a group of individuals secretly recorded a private conversation with a senator about the prospects for a puppy mill bill. The individuals then used the recording in an attempt to politically extort lawmakers into doing exactly what they demanded,” the release said.
Marsha Williams, Guilford County’s Animal Shelter director, believes the law would help in North Carolina.
“Animal shelters are inspected every day. So if someone had hundreds of animals on their property living in deplorable conditions, not getting basic needs… the animals don’t have a voice. We need to be the voice for the animals,” she insisted.
Williams’ team of employees and volunteers is currently caring for dozens of dogs and puppies rescued from suspected mills.
Some will be available for adoption this weekend. Williams says they are healing physically and emotionally.