Signed by Kasich in 2018, the laws banned some of the cruelest practices used by commercial dog breeders, or “puppy mills,” such as stacking dogs in cages on top of each other or keeping animals in cages with a wire floor. The legislation also limited the number of times a mother female dog could be bred per year and required that dogs have access to proper food, water, exercise and veterinary care.
The laws were among the most progressive animal cruelty laws at the time and made Ohio a “national leader” in preventing cruelty to breeding dogs, according to the Humane Society.
“It’s given Ohio a leadership role in regulating commercial breeding: regulations and rules that commercial breeders can follow to improve the care and welfare of the animals involved,” Haines said.
The demand for family dogs often does not match the capacity of a living, breathing animal. According to the Humane Society, puppies born on unregulated commercial breeders are often sick or inbred, which can lead to heartache and significant veterinary bills. Haines and her husband breed and show Pointers, and her dogs are often sold two to three years in advance.
“People want pets today. And they’ll go where there’s a supply,” Haines said. “But if they have a puppy, we want it well taken care of.”
Haines also supported the work of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association to address the shortage of veterinarians in rural areas and address the issue of vet suicide.
Male vets are 2.1 times more likely than the general population to die by suicide and female vets are 3.5 times more likely, according to Not One More Vet, an organization that studies mental health issues in the veterinary field. At the same time, clinics across the state have also seen an increase in demand for services.
“Veterinary medicine is emotionally very difficult,” Haines said. “Since COVID, it has become very strange. Every practice you talk to is outdated. In emergency departments, it is not uncommon for them to have waiting lists of six to eight hours.
For families looking to adopt or buy a pet, Haines’ advice is to take the process slow and buy from reputable breeders who take good care of their dogs.
“Study the breeds, see what fits your lifestyle, and once you’ve done that, look for breeders who do their homework, who health test their animals. Go to their kennel, see who the parents are, see how they are treated,” she said. “Be patient. Someone will join your family.