It appears that the puppy mill bill is dead. So say the leaders of the state Senate in a press release sent out Monday afternoon.
Leaders blame “extreme, divisive, and unethical tactics” used by supporters lobbying for the bill. They say that a private conversation with a senator was secretly recorded and used to extort the senator into supporting the legislation.
Sen. Tom Apodaca, R-Henderson, the Senate Rules Committee chairman, released the following statement:
“Over the last few weeks, Sens. Bill Rabon and Trudy Wade, two dedicated veterinarians, have worked in good faith with the governor’s office on legislation to protect the welfare of dogs and make sure they are treated humanely. While we certainly respect that people are passionate about the causes they support, we regret that the unethical and unacceptable tactics of an overzealous few have erased the progress made by Sens. Rabon and Wade. It is wrong to secretly record private conversations with members of the General Assembly and then threaten to expose those conversations to the media to force legislators to meet specific demands. That is nothing short of political extortion and represents a new low in lobbying for legislative action. To dignify those actions by moving ahead on this issue would set a dangerous precedent while condoning and encouraging these unethical tactics. It would create a chilling effect on the ability of legislators to have candid and honest dialogues with their constituents on the merits of potential legislation.”
I find no fault with the Senate leadership for being repulsed by such actions. So am I.
What’s troubling is their reaction to this distasteful act. The bill passed by the House last spring and now residing in a Senate committee is rather modest. It seeks to provide certain protections for commercial dog breeding facilities where there are 10 or more female dogs used for the purpose of breeding and selling the offspring as pets.
It would require breeders to provide daily exercise for the puppies, access to fresh food and water, appropriate veterinary care, daily assessments of a dog’s overall health, care to prevent parasites, and protection from extreme weather conditions. There are also stipulations requiring enough space for dogs to turn around, and minimal requirements for enclosures.
They don’t appear overly burdensome to me, but those who disagree could certainly voice their opposition in committee, or perhaps on the Senate floor.
First lady Ann McCrory has voiced support for the bill, as has Gov. Pat McCrory. The first lady, governor, and supporters of the puppy mill bill believe these pets deserve the protections that would be afforded to them by the legislation.
The actions of a few unscrupulous supporters don’t change that. Senate leaders shouldn’t kill the puppy mill bill out of spite. Instead, they should act for or against the legislation despite the distasteful actions of a few supporters.