Columbus -- With one pooch standing on the table at his elbow and several others watching from their owners' arms, Gov. John Kasich signed ceremonial papers Jan. 10 marking the enactment of new regulations on so-called puppy mills.
Kasich signed the actual legislation last month after the Ohio House and Senate gave their final approval for law changes that were years in the making. The regulations will take effect later this year.
"We all know how special these animals are," Kasich said. "It's really kind of beyond our understanding as to how anybody would not treat these wonderful animals with great love and affection and kindness."
He added later, "Our dogs are going to be better taken care of, and we're not going to have renegades leaving where they currently are and coming to Ohio."
Under the new law, breeders who produce nine litters of puppies and who sell 60 or more dogs annually will be required to obtain a license from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Licensing or registration requirements also will be instituted for dog retailers and rescue operations.
Application fees will range from $150 to $750, depending on the number of dogs sold in a year. Licenses could be denied to individuals convicted of animal cruelty or animal fighting crimes in the past 20 years or revoked if breeders mistreat their animals.
The director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture will be responsible for establishing housing, nutrition, exercise and other care standards for breeders, with inspections annually to ensure those standards are being followed.
Kasich participated in a ceremonial bill signing Jan. 10 at a Columbus-area humane society.
"This was never an effort to try to disrupt anybody's business practices," he said. "... As a result of these rules and as a result of public recognition and public concern and public demand, finally, after seven long years, we are now going to have proper protection for man and woman's best friend."
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at email@example.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.