Annie Guion

‘Backyard breeders’ are a menace

It might surprise local residents to know that a loophole in local and state law allows even large-scale dog breeders to easily evade inspection and oversight.

A “backyard breeder” can have an overwhelming number of dogs in their home, and the state is powerless to inspect the premises for neglect and abuse, unless a search warrant is secured, as happened last summer in Bakersfield, where 59 labs were removed from a neglectful breeder after years of complaints.

A bill under consideration in the Vermont state legislature, S.142, aims to close that loophole by providing clear definitions for breeders so facilities that repeatedly breed dogs can be licensed and inspected to ensure that animals are not being neglected or abused.

I see firsthand the problems with the “personal use” language in the current pet merchant statute. Here in Windham County, we have pet owners who are convinced they can make money selling puppies and can easily evade oversight by claiming the “personal use” language.

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