A bill has now been introduced in the North Carolina house to regulate large scale dog breeders.
House Bill 930 would put new regulations on breeders to prevent so-called "puppy mills," where dogs are often packed in tight quarters without adequate vet care for the purpose of reproducing.
The bill would mandate breeders with 10 or more dogs make sure those dogs get access to food and water, access to veterinary care and humane euthanasia if necessary. The bill would also require breeders to keep their dogs safe from extreme weather and provide clean bedding.
Violators could face fines ranging from $25 to $1,000 and repeat offenders could face misdemeanors and some jail time.
This is not the first time lawmakers have tried to put some controls on those breeders, but this time advocates are hopeful they get the measure passed.
Animal advocates say it's time for action because so many neighboring states have imposed regulations.
"We have no regulations for people who sell dogs to the general public, so North Carolina has become a haven for people that don't want to follow rules; for unscrupulous breeders who run what we call puppy mills," claims Kim Alboum, State Director of the Humane Society of the United States.
The Humane Society believes there's as many as 300 puppy mills in the state.
For the last four years, advocates have been trying to get laws passed to regulate them, but the bills go down to defeat.
"Special interest groups such as the Farm Bureau and the Pork Council are against having standards in place for companion animals," said Alboum.
In 2012, WNCN investigated why puppy mill bills failed to make it into law.
WNCN asked Senate President Phil Berger why he voted against the puppy mill legislation.
"Does it have some unintended consequence on our pork industry or an unintended consequence on other industries that are very important to the economy of North Carolina?" said Berger.
Now, advocates are trying again to regulate breeders and this time they think they've got the winning formula.
"Our sponsors have been working with all the interested parties and we hope this bill is a compromise for everyone that will not only protect animas but make all parties happy," said Alboum.
Rep. Jason Saine, a Republican from the 97th District said, "The bill is bipartisan in nature and seeks to alleviate some of the fear mongering that has traditionally followed such legislation."
Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass. More>>