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Puppy Mill Law to Prevent Unhealthy Practices in Ohio

COLUMBUS (Adam Aaro/Kate Liebers) -- Ohio legislatures hope that the state can reverse its unfavorable dog-breeding reputation with a new puppy mill law.

"Ohio has the distinction, an unfortunate distinction, of being one of the worst states for breeding dogs," House Rep. Teresa Fedor said.  

ABC 6/FOX 28 exposed evidence of this in October, when a puppy mill bust in Licking County revealed dozens of dogs were kept with little food and water.

"They were living in really deplorable conditions, kennels were stacked on top of each other," said Lori Carlson of the Licking County Humane Society. 

Since then, the Ohio State Legislature passed laws to crack down on bad breeding practices.

Beginning Jan. 1, the new state law will mandate that large breeders -- those who produce at least 9 litters and 60 dogs a year -- obtain a license. This registration will allow breeders to be monitored by Ohio Department of Agriculture investigators.

"There really weren't care standards before," said Erica Hawkins of the ODA. "There were cruelty standards, which are a much higher threshold to meet the definition of cruelty."

Breeders must pass a background check and have insurance in order to get a license.

Supporters have claimed this is critical legislation for a state that is considered to be lacking in oversight.

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