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Saine’s amendment battles puppy mills

ELIZABETH HEFFNER
Staff Writer

The North Carolina House of Representatives has passed a budget amendment to expand the definition of a dealer in the animal welfare section to include commercial dog breeders who have 10 or more female dogs. The amendment exempts breeders of hunting dogs, according to a press release from Gov. Pat McCrory’s office.
The amendment, which passed in the House on Thursday, will work to combat the state’s issues with illegal puppy mills.
“I am glad that we are able to add this into the budget with a strong bipartisan vote,” said Rep. Jason Saine, the Lincoln County Republican who wrote the amendment.
“If anyone has had to deal with this issue in their community, they know just what a problem puppy mills are for our state. I hope that the Senate will work to keep this in the bill during the conference period where both houses iron out our differences.”
Earlier Friday, the Rutherford County’s Sheriff’s department rescued 56 dogs from a home in Rutherfordton and at two other locations.
“Today’s rescue of more than 50 dogs from a suspected puppy mill in Rutherford County further demonstrates that North Carolina continues to be a haven for puppy mill operators,” McCrory said in a press release.
“By applying existing common sense standards for dog breeders, we can help stop unscrupulous puppy mill operators who take advantage of our state’s lack of regulations. I congratulate Rep. Saine and the House for providing law enforcement this valuable tool.”
The House and governor’s budgets also include language that would move the animal welfare section from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Public Safety, “to improve coordination with local law enforcement officials,” McCrory’s release said.
The House passed its $21.1 billion budget on Friday. The senate has already passed its own budget, and negotiations are expected to begin this week.
Those interested in learning more about the amendment should visit www.governor.state.nc.us/.

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