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Animal Activists Demand Stronger Fight Against Puppy Mills

REYNOLDSBURG (Rob Wells/Kate Liebers) -- Days after dozens of dogs were found in a broken down van in Licking County, state leaders discussed imposing a crackdown on puppy mills.

The commercial dog breeding advisory board held a meeting Tuesday about the conditions in which the animals were kept. Sixty dogs were being transported from Indiana to New Jersey before they were rescued.

"This is the second situation we've had with an out-of-state breeder in Ohio in three months," said Lori Carlson of the Licking County Humane Society. "It's happening in Licking County, Ohio. It's happening in other parts if Ohio."

Gov. John Kasich launched Senate Bill 130 this month in an effort to stop puppy mills and dog auctions, but animal activists said more work needs to be done.

"We need to do everything we can to help rescues and breeders to get them registered," said Vicky Deisner of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. "We need to make complaints if we feel something is wrong."

While state regulators have said it will take a while for new bill to take hold in Ohio, many hope it will stop cases like the one in Licking County from happening again.

"What we'll be doing is inspecting properties to make sure they're complying with our rules, which deal with housing and care standards if these animals," said Dr. Tony Forschey of the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

USDA investigators are looking into the Licking County case because the animals started their journey in Indiana. Because the driver crossed state lines, officials said the dog breeder may face federal as well as local charges.

Veterinarians said the overall health of the dogs "isn't horrible" and they should be ready for adoption in a few weeks.
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