Iowa House and Senate Pass Improved Puppy Mill LegislationPosted by Tony Eliseuson, ALDF Volunteer Attorney Member on February 26, 2010
On February 23, 2010, the Iowa Senate passed a “puppy mill” bill designed to improve the conditions for dogs and cats at commercial breeding facilities. The bill, House File 2280, passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 41 to 9. The bill will now be presented to Iowa Governor Chet Culver. Notably, some of the legislators that both voted for and against this bill indicated their concern that this type of legislation would have a domino effect that would lead to legislation to regulate the level of care provided to farmed animals. It is important that despite that concern, in a agrarian state such as Iowa, the legislation was still passed.
The bill provides some important provisions that will potentially allow enforcement officials to ensure that dogs and cats are treated humanely. This includes the following language, which is party of new Section 162.10A:
1. a. A commercial establishment shall provide for a standard of care that ensures that an animal in its possession or under its control is not lacking any of the following:
(1) Adequate feed, adequate water, housing facilities, sanitary control, or grooming practices, if such lack causes adverse health or suffering.
(2) Veterinary care.
House File 2280. While this provision is an important step, it is unfortunate that it was not drafted with more precision to outline specific requirements (minimum cage size, level of vet care, keeping animals outside in various weather conditions (hot or cold days)). Regardless, it is still a step in the right direction, and the passage of this type of legislation in the heart of farm country should set a precedent to allow other states to pass similar legislation.