Puppy mill legislation advances as 56 dogs rescued in raid - WNCN: News, Weather

Puppy mill legislation advances as 56 dogs rescued in raid

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56 dogs were rescued from a Rutherford County dog breeder on Thursday. 56 dogs were rescued from a Rutherford County dog breeder on Thursday.
RALEIGH, N.C. - State lawmakers took a first step in passing new regulations on puppy mills on Thursday, the same day deputies in Rutherford County rescued 56 dogs from a commercial breeder.

Rep. Jason Saine introduced an amendment to a budget proposal being debated on Thursday that would direct the state's Department of Public Safety to draft new standards of care for animals that belong to commercial dog breeders.  The amendment passed, 75-41.

"They know they can move here because we don't have state laws that regulate them," said Saine, a Republican from Lincoln County.

Animal advocates have been trying to get new laws regulating puppy mills for years.  On Thursday, deputies with the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department rescued 56 dogs from a suspected puppy mill.  Many of them were malnourished, in need of medical care with visible bones and missing teeth.  One dog had a missing eye.

The North Carolina Humane Society said this was the fourth puppy mill bust in the state this year, and the 20th in three years, making the Tar Heel state the worst in the nation for puppy mills.

Thursday's House vote was controversial.

"I am concerned about loading up the budget with every provision we want to force down to accept in law," Rep. John Blust, a Republican from Guilford County said.

Rep. Jimmy Dixon of Duplin County even questioned the timing of Thursday's raid, suggesting it may have been timed to coincide with the House vote.

"If there's anybody on the floor of this House that's surprised that there's an announcement that there's a raid going on today," Dixon said on the floor, "then I've got some nice highway front property in the middle of Goshen, which is a nice area in Duplin County, that I would like to sell you."

The Humane Society pushed back against that comment, saying any suggestion law enforcement specifically waited to perform the raid on Thursday was not true.

Rep. Jeff Collins, a Republican from Franklin County, questioned the need for further regulations.

"If we already have laws in place, where we can raid puppy mills and take care of the problem, then what's the need for this additional legislation?" he asked.

Rep. Rick Catlin, a New Hanover County Republican, responded saying, "It would give them more authority to do more often inspections and not have to get to the point where we have to do a raid."

Gov. Pat McCrory praised the vote, saying in a statement, "I congratulate Rep. Saine and the House for providing law enforcement this valuable tool."

The House still has to take a final vote on the budget.  It was also immediately unclear what any new regulations would look like.

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Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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