(Columbus, Ohio) – Ohio’s sporting dog owners and hobby breeders are breathing easier after Governor Ted Strickland committed only to support legislation aimed at commercial dog breeders if it preserves adequate protections for sportsmen. The Governor’s commitment is intended to assure sporting dog owners who are concerned that any legislation addressing commercial breeders be done in a way that does not catch hobbyists and hunters in a web of regulations and restrictions.
“The agreement between Ohio agricultural leaders and the Humane Society avoids a costly ballot initiative that would have severely impacted our agricultural community. Instead, the Humane Society has agreed not to pursue a ballot initiative this fall. Importantly, as part of this agreement, we will develop recommendations to the legislature in support of the commercial dog breeding bill,” said Governor Strickland. “I know that Ohio sportsmen have worked hard to ensure that legislation includes provisions that ensure they are not treated as commercial operators. Consistent with our agreement, my support is for the current version of the legislation which includes those important protections for sportsmen and women. In other words, this legislation will in no way interfere with the rights of Ohio sportsmen and women.”
As part of a compromise between the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) and the Humane Society of the Untied States (HSUS), the Governor agreed to push for enactment of Senate Bill 95, sponsored by Senator Jim Hughes (R- Columbus), which is intended to address sub-standard conditions in some commercial dog breeding operations. As originally written the bill would have greatly impacted sporting dog kennels and hobby breeders who largely do not sell dogs. The US Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), through its Sporting Dog Defense Coalition, worked vigorously with legislators to convince them to adopt amendments ensuring that sportsmen were not treated as commercial operators. Adoption of these amendments in the current Senate bill allowed the Alliance and its coalition allies to withdraw opposition to the legislation. Now sportsmen are counting on Governor Strickland to help preserve the protections.
“We really appreciate the Governor making it clear that he will not allow any bill to become law unless it maintains critical protections for the sporting dog community,” said Rob Sexton, vice president for government affairs for the USSA. “Without these protections, law abiding sportsmen and other enthusiasts would be run out of existence because they do not produce enough revenue to offset the cost of regulations and restrictions. Senator Hughes agreed to these changes to prevent that from happening and with the Governor’s pledge, sporting dog owners can rest a lot easier.”
The compromise between HSUS and OFBF resulted in the animal rights group agreeing not to submit signatures for a ballot issue that would have forced new regulations on Ohio’s livestock industry. In exchange, the Governor agreed to support specific changes in livestock pen sizes to be phased in over the next 15 years, the dog breeding bill, legislation dealing with cockfighting and issue an executive order concerning exotic animal ownership.