Amid fundraising problems, the Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions (CBODA) has decided to drop its November ballot initiative to ban dog auctions in Ohio.
The organization, which has been pushing against dog auctions and puppy mills since 2006, originally gathered 118,000 signatures to present a bill banning dog auctions to the state legislature. The state legislature failed to act on the bill, forcing the CBODA to seek signatures for a ballot initiative, but the organization could not raise enough money to do so.
“We had a fundraising goal that we needed to meet by May 21 to secure paid circulars in the final round of signature gathering,” says Mary O’Connor-Shaver, the treasurer at CBODA. “We were not successful in meeting that signature goal.”
O’Connor-Shaver says it is possible the CBODA will try for a ballot initiative for 2013. Until then, the group will continue pursuing its goal of banning dog auctions through lobbying and by raising awareness with the help of other animal advocacy groups.
The Ohio legislature is currently trying to pass Senate Bill 130 in an attempt to regulate puppy mills, but the CBODA has criticized the bill for not going far enough and favoring puppy mills. Under the bill, puppy mills will only be inspected once every two years, while animal shelters will be checked whenever a complaint is filed. Additionally, adoption prices for animal shelters will now have to be approved by the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, but puppy mills will be able to sell dogs at any price. The bill has no regulations on dog auctions or standards of care in puppy mills, but standards of care will be decided by the Commercial Dog Breeding Oversight Board if the bill passes.
In February, a CityBeat report found that the dogs in these auctions were typically in poor health, largely due to a lack of regulation and the fact most of these dogs come from puppy mills.
Puppy mills are known for breeding dozens and even hundreds of dogs in factory-like conditions. The CBODA has criticized puppy mills for having little regard over the health and safety of dogs bred.
In a 2010 investigation, the USDA found abhorrent conditions at a puppy mill in Cushing, Minnesota. The puppy mill, Clearwater Kennel, was using expired vaccines, molded feed in feeders, inadequate records for transport and cages with less floor space than required. Dogs at the puppy mill were found to have overgrown nails, mucous eye discharge, skin disease and lesions on their feet.