The Animal Advocates of Pearl River County addressed the board of supervisors Monday to ask for breeding regulations in the county.
Brenda Nirenburg, a representative of Animal Advocacy, mentioned that puppy mills are a particularly serious problem in Pearl River County.
“There is a lot of cruelty that goes on with breeders. Animal Advocacy has done several rescues over the last few years involving breeders,” Nirenburg said. “These were very, very sad cases. When advertising breeders will say ‘I will deliver’, they don’t want you to see where the puppy came from. They will often leave dogs to the elements, to starve, and have mass graves for these animals. It’s sad.”
Nirenburg suggested the county consider a method in which animal breeders are required to register and have a license.
“In other states people who are breeders have to register, pay a fee, and have a license so it becomes an income stream for the county,” Nirenburg said. “I would say there are at least dozens of breeders out there, some more reputable than others. If an ordinance was to be passed that if you are a breeder, you need to be registered, and pay a fee for a license. Then they could be monitored and if someone bought from them and the puppy died, and the place was filthy, they could report them and then perhaps their license could be pulled.”
According to board Vice President, Hudson Holliday, the board is interested in the possibilities, but there are concerns about how far these regulations would go.
“The question is how do you regulate it, how do you define it,” Holliday said. “If a guy has some puppies in a shed behind his house on private property, how do you start policing something like that? A lot of the problem is people have a dog or a cat out there with litters. They’re not puppy mills and they’re not selling them. They’re just letting them be born.”
Nirenburg explained, "There is a difference between people who are breeding for profit and people who do not spay or neuter a pet. Breeders are breeding a specific breed such as chihuahuas, pit bulls, or pomeranians. The way to tell a breeder is if they have multiple litters of pure-bred dogs for sell on their property."
The Board accepted a motion to adopt a modified version of a dog shelter ordinance brought up by Nirenburg in a board meeting earlier in the year and the supervisors agreed to research more about how to regulate puppy mills and to address it in the future.
“When I was out running for office I went by a house and there were dogs every where, you see some stuff out there,” Holiday said. “We’re trying to clean up the county and I don’t think anybody on this board is opposed to making people do what they need to do. We don’t want animals to be abused.”