All over the state of Vermont, animal shelters see firsthand the effects of "backyard" breeding -- the poor standards in care resulting in unhealthy animals, in part because of the weak language in the laws with the inability to see that improvements for the animals are made.
As an example, we recently received two, 12-week-old puppies from a backyard breeder. These puppies had been diagnosed with contracting tendons in their front legs which was due to the inadequate food/poor nutrition provided by their "guardian." If the physical therapy and an improved diet provided by shelter staff did not help these puppies, then their legs would have needed to be splinted to correct the problem. Thankfully for these puppies, they recovered.
This is just one example of many that can be shared by animal shelters and their staff in Vermont as a result of inadequate laws to protect companion animals. Fortunately, we now have an opportunity in front of us to help make a bad situation much better. It is an opportunity to eliminate that loophole that permits the irresponsible breeder to continue to mistreat and neglect their animals. So I urge your Vermont readers to please contact their state senators before March 2nd and ask them to support the Pet Merchant and Puppy Mill Bill (S. 142). This is an opportunity to help improve conditions and care and to better safeguard against neglect with unregulated backyard breeding, so now is the time to act.
The author is the executive director of Second Chance Animal Center in Shaftsbury, Vt.