For the past two years I’ve attended Lobby Day in Nashville, meeting with politicians just as they are about to vote on various bills pertaining to commercial breeding facilities, commonly known as puppy mills.

Perhaps you’ve seen photos of the conditions these breeding dogs and their offspring are kept in: either dark warehouses or outside in the elements, dirty wire cages, empty bowls, and no human contact most of their lives. Advocates have been trying to change their situation for some time now, through legal channels that would include requiring veterinary care, licensing of facilities, and basic standards of care and hygiene.

Keep in mind, these dogs are not considered pets, they are kept alive solely for the purpose of breeding for money, and so their welfare must be regulated if our great state is to ever improve conditions for them.

I believe that humane education is the key to change for these companion animals. In communities where these conditions are brought into the light, the public outcry leads to healthier conditions for both the breeding animals and the puppies they sell.

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This year our state’s legislative session ended without passage of legislation to regulate commercial breeding facilities and help stop this cruelty. It’s past time for our elected officials to regulate these mills, and for the public to speak up and demand it.

Mary Marr
Chattanooga

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