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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Law targets puppy mills

Dog breeders face tougher standards, ownership limits

American Eskimo dogs check out their temporary new home at the Spokane Humane Society after being rescued from a Kennewick puppy mill in May. A new state law cracks down on breeding dogs for profit. (Dan Pelle)
American Eskimo dogs check out their temporary new home at the Spokane Humane Society after being rescued from a Kennewick puppy mill in May. A new state law cracks down on breeding dogs for profit. (Dan Pelle)
Associated Press

OLYMPIA – A new law, designed to eliminate puppy mills in Washington state, imposes tougher standards on dog breeders.

The law, which took effect New Year’s Day, makes it illegal to own or have custody of more than 50 dogs capable of breeding and over the age of six months. It also spells out requirements for taking care of the dogs, including the size of their cages, temperature and cleanliness. If a breeder has 10 or more dogs at any one time, it requires that each dog have adequate time and space to exercise.

The Legislature approved the law last spring after several puppy mills were discovered in the state.

“The hope is this will help prevent situations from arising that could lead to animal cruelty,” said Mary Leake Schilder, spokeswoman for the Progressive Animal Welfare Society of Lynnwood.

“This will give law enforcement a little more leverage to prevent breeding facilities from getting out of hand. We believe this law is fair to responsible and compassionate breeders,” she said.

Retail pet stores, veterinary facilities, boarding facilities and some others are exempt under the measure.

A similar law took effect Friday in Oregon.

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