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Dayton backs bill aimed at squelching puppy mills

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Pet lovers rallied at the state Capitol Tuesday, calling on policymakers to license and regulate professional breeders of dogs and cats.

Gov. Mark Dayton spoke at the event organized by a coalition of humane societies and other groups fighting animal mistreatment. Dayton says he'll do all he can to ensure passage of the bill that targets operations often called puppy mills or kitty mills.

Here's more info on the event's website. Some legislation advocates also launched a Facebook page.

“I’ve witnessed dogs being fed road kill, amateur C-sections, whatever it takes to produce the product — which is the puppy or the kitten that’s subsequently going to be sold to the public,” Keith Streff, an Animal Humane Society investigator, told a legislative committee last week, WCCO reported.

The proposal would require yearly inspections and fees for breeders who breed 10 or more animals or produce more than five litters per year.

Advocates say reputable breeders won't be burdened, but some hobby breeders say the new measures would make maintaining their operations more difficult, the Associated Press reports.

KARE 11 talked to a Twin Cities woman who breeds Havanese and Russian Toy dogs. "I love them, that is a difference between me and a commercial breeder. I don't breed dogs for money, I do it as a passion," Nona Dietrich told KARE.

Dietrich objects to new rules for hobby breeders, and she questions how the law would be enforced. She told KARE 11 she is already regulated by city rules.

"If were to meet the standards of a commercial breeder, I would have to cement my floor, I would have to sterilize the beds they sleep in, in my bedroom, " Dietrich told KARE. "Here is what I think what will happen to many people, they will quit and commercial breeders will do more."

Lawmakers have raised questions about the logistics of inspections and how the new requirements would be paid for, the Worthington Daily Globe reported.

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