State lawmakers in Austin are putting the finishing touches on a bill to regulate large scale dog breeders and shut down puppy mills.
Right now, HB 1451 would affect breeders with 11 or more unspayed female dogs, like the one discovered this month in Kaufman County where 49 dogs were rescued.
The state would require large scale commercial breeders to get a license and enforce strict regulations.
"They will set standards for the care of these animals, such as cage sizes, frequency of veterinary exams, frequency of inspections. Things like that, they'll set up those rules" said Dallas attorney Robert "Skip" Trimble, who lobbies for the Texas Humane Legislation Network, which is backing the bill. "We're trying to make sure that their life's are life's that at least, even though they're not ideal, at least they're clean, they're healthy, they're well cared for, well fed and that get decent and periodic veterinary medical attention."
But many breeders, even those without enough dogs to be affected, oppose the bill.
"Define us and separate us from the puppy mill" said Della Highley, who breeds a litter of show dogs every two years.
"I think the definition of what is a commercial breeder versus what is a pure bred breeder, those of us who do it for a hobby, that show dogs, etc, there's a lot of difference in that" said Highley, who owns High Stone Pet Lodge in Dallas.
Others argue the proposed law would only hurt reputable breeders, forcing them to pay a fee while puppy mill owners would simply avoid getting the proper liscense.
"My thinking is, is that good breeders should welcome this because my belief is a good breeder is already doing the things that we are trying to get done in this bill" said Trimble.
Hb 1451 has already passed the Texas House, now the State Senate is expected to vote this week or next.