WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- It's business as usual for puppy mill owners in North Carolina.
The unregulated practice of mass producing puppies for money has made headlines for years. Facilities are almost always discovered in deplorable conditions with dogs forced to breed in small kennels without basic standards and veterinarian care. Many times dogs are found living in their own waste and never allowed outside.
The state Senate refused to take up a bill, the House passed this year, that would have required large scale breeders provide basic care.
“We were just asking for these animals to be provided with necessary sustenance; food, water, shelter and medical care when they need it,” said Lori Shore-Smith who knocked on lawmakers’ doors pushing for the bill.
Also knocking on their doors, the American Kennel Club and hunting groups who feared the bill would violate breeders’ property rights.
“We do have responsible breeders out there ... they do it the right way,” said Shore-Smith. “But on the other hand, you have these puppy mills that just mass produce these puppys’ and it's all about money.”
In January, Senate leaders said they would not consider the legislation after a senator was recorded cursing against the bill and the recording later made public.
Animal advocates say dogs and puppies in North Carolina should not suffer because of an isolated incident between a Senator and his constituents.
“I don't understand how anybody can't rationalize fair treatment to animals,” said David Hayes. He and his wife Lida adopted Munson, one of many bulldogs rescued from a Stokes County puppy mill in 2012. “[Munson] didn't know how to walk up steps, eat out of a bowl, he had never been out on the ground,” Hayes said. “We would just let him outside and he would just stand.”
More than half of states have some form of puppy mill legislation.
“I hope that the public will remember this when they go to the polls in November,” said Shore-Smith. “You have to vote these people out that are not looking out for animal welfare.”