An intiative to end public dog auctions in Ohio won’t make it to the ballot this year because supporters say they don’t have time to gather enough signatures to force the measure to a vote.
According to the Columbus Dispatch
, the effort was abandoned by the Coalition to Ban Dog Auctions that two years ago gathered enough signatures to put the measure before the state legislature.
But lawmakers have never acted on the issue, and the coalition says it can’t meet a 90-day deadline to complete another petition drive to place a ban on the ballot because it would take time and money away from ongoing dog rescue and other animal humane efforts.
“Looking at the funds that we had on hand, we didn’t know if it was going to be enough to successfully mount a campaign,” said Mark McGinnis, an attorney and lobbyist for the coalition, told the Dispatch. “For a group like this, that is really focused on this singular issue, that’s money diverted from rescues and our other efforts. We have to be really judicious in how we use our money.”
The Dispatch reported Friday that Ohio has some of the nation’s weakest laws on public dog auctions and so-called puppy mills that turn out dogs for sale under abusive situations.
Coalition leader Mary O’Connor-Shaver told the newspaper that dogs sold at auction often come from puppy mills. The legislature, she noted, has also stalled on a bill to ban puppy breeding farms.
The Dispatch reported in January that few dog auctions were still being held in the state. At the time, Polly Britton, a lobbyist working for the Ohio Association of Animal Owners, defended the auctions, saying they were an “integral part of the animal industry.”
But she suggested that the commercial benefits of the auctions for breeders were hurt by protests.
O’Connor-Shaver said that until recently, about six auctions were held in Ohio every year, with some 350 dogs being bought or sold at each one.
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