Puppies at a reported puppy mill according to the ASPCA. File photo.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has certified the petition for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution regarding animal welfare.

On September 6, 2017, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office received a written petition to amend the Ohio Constitution, entitled The Ohio Puppy Mill Prevention Amendment, from the attorney representing the petitioning committee, Stop Puppy Mills Ohio. The petition has now been certified as containing both the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from registered Ohio voters and a “fair and truthful” summary of the proposed amendment.

“Without passing upon the advisability of the approval or rejection of the measure to be referred, but pursuant to the duties imposed upon the Attorney General’s Office […] I hereby certify that the summary is a fair and truthful statement of the proposed law,” Attorney General DeWine stated in the certification letter.

Once the summary language and initial signatures are certified, the Ohio Ballot Board must determine if the amendment contains a single issue or multiple issues. The petitioners must then collect signatures for each issue from registered voters in each of 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, equal to five percent of the total vote cast in the county for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election. Total signatures collected statewide must also equal 10 percent of the total vote cast for the office of governor at the last gubernatorial election.

According to the website from the group, Stop Puppy Mills Ohio, “Ohio is an infamous puppy mill state and is home to hundreds of commercial breeding facilities. Ohio’s current law has failed to solve Ohio’s massive puppy mill problem. In puppy mills, dogs spend their whole lives in small, filthy wire cages without adequate veterinary care, socialization, or exercise. Breeding dogs are treated as nothing more than puppy-making machines and puppies as nothing more products.”

The further describe the issue as, “This ballot measure will alleviate the suffering of tens of thousands of dogs languishing in Ohio puppy mills by vastly improving their standards of care. It requires commercial breeders (those with 8 or more breeding females) to provide dogs with nutritious food and clean water, proper veterinary care, housing, exercise, socialization, protection from extreme temperatures, and more. It also prohibits commercial breeders and other sellers, regardless of where they are located, from selling dogs to Ohio consumers unless they meet these humane standards of care.”

The final language, however, has yet to be approved.