I-TEAM: Exposing the gaps in the system to protect puppies

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CLEVELAND -- The FOX 8 I-TEAM is continuing to ask hard questions about a new law cracking down on what the Humane Society of the United States calls puppy mills.

This week the I-TEAM revealed that the Humane Society of the United States ranks Ohio near the top in the country for problem dog breeders.

Ohio has a new law and new hope to protect dogs, but we investigated and asked state lawmakers if we will actually see any impact.

"We have dogs coming from mills that are malformed, they have lots of health issues," said Lisa Kime, president of Golden Retrievers In Need. Her organization works with volunteers to get these dogs from a so called puppy mill in Holmes County. Group leaders say they are told breeders get rid of dogs that have medical issues.

"When we get these dogs they are very shut down, they are terrified, they have had little to no human interaction," Kime said.

The I-TEAM took a hard look at a new state law aimed at cracking down on dogs raised in what some animal activists say are cramped overcrowded dirty cages with little medical care.

"There is no reason we allow this animal crisis to exist in our state," said Corey Roscoe, Ohio State Director of the Humane Society of the United States.

The HSUS ranks Ohio number two in the country for so-called puppy mills.

"From our research Ohio and Indiana have been the two states where we have seen growth in what they call the commercial dog breeding industry," said John Goodwin, senior director of the Humane Society of the United States Stop Puppy Mills campaign.

The HSUS is watching closely to determine if the new law actually has an impact, a better life for every dog.

"No stacking of cages, no wire floored cages, more rooms for dogs so they can turn around and lie down without touching the sides of the cages," Roscoe said.

The dogs are also supposed to get required medical care and have daily human interaction.

The state department of agriculture has four inspectors for the almost 300 breeders statewide.

"My concern is enforcement," said Kenny Yuko, one of the state senators, who helped sponsor the new law.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture believes they do have enough inspectors.

Meanwhile, groups like the Golden Retrievers In Need will be watching.

Continuing coverage, here.

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