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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Olympia

Senate bills takes aim at inhumane conditions in “puppy mills”…

Declaring that dogs "are neither a commercial crop nor commodity," several senators are proposing legislation to require humane practices in commercial dog breeding.

"Without proper oversight, puppy mills can easily fall below even the most basic standards of humane housing and husbandry," says Senate Bill 5651, prime sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

No state agency regulates the operations, Kohl-Welles says, and abuses can lead to unnecessary suffering and an expensive problem -- abandoned or neglected dogs -- for local authorities.

The bill would ban people from having more than 25 dogs, unless they've been neutered or spayed or are under the age of four months.

For anyone with 11 or more such dogs, the bill spells out how much space the dogs should get, and how much exercise and how often (no treadmills. Seriously.). It requires adequate ventilation, a working smoke alarm and fire suppression and lighting, Temperatures would have to be kept between 50 and 85 degrees

It requires annual veterinary exams, details the size and construction of kennels and runs, and limits female dogs to one litter a year. There are exemptions for animal shelters, researchers and other facilities. 

The bill's been referred to the Senate labor committee.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.