PETA Begs Rep. Rezabek, ‘Kill Your Bill, Not Shelter Dogs’

Proposed Ohio ‘State Dog’ Bound to Fuel Puppy-Mill Problem

For Immediate Release:
March 19, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Columbus, Ohio

In response to Ohio State Rep. Jeffery Rezabek’s likely well-intentioned introduction of House Bill 539, which would make the Labrador retriever the official state dog of Ohio, PETA has sent a letter today urging him to withdraw the bill or at least amend it to recognize mutts or adopted dogs instead because of a crisis in the state’s animal shelters.

In the letter, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—points out that designating a specific breed as the state dog would increase demand for that breed, just as shelters have seen an influx of huskies since they were popularized by Game of Thrones, a situation that’s happened with various other dog breeds in the past. Puppy mills—which keep mother dogs in tiny cages and use them as breeding machines until their bodies give out—would cash in on the demand, while Ohio’s animal shelters would see an uptick in Labradors when new owners discover that they’re expensive, time consuming, and in need of training.

“The last thing that Ohio’s already severely crowded animal shelters need is a deluge of yet another type of dog,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “If Ohioans’ hearts are set on naming an official state dog, PETA suggests the humble, healthy, and 100 percent lovable all-American mutt.”

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PETA’s letter to Ohio Rep. Jeffery Rezabek follows.

Dear Rep. Rezabek,

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide—including many thousands in Ohio—to urge you to withdraw House Bill 539, which would name the Labrador retriever the state dog of Ohio, or amend the bill so that it would recognize the lovable, all-American mutt or “adopted dog” instead. We are sure this is a well-intentioned bill, but it would only exacerbate Ohio’s homeless-dog overpopulation crisis. Every single animal shelter in Ohio is expending either private and public funds in order to cope, and dogs are being euthanized daily because of the problem. No animal-protection organization would be happy with this bill.

Designating a specific breed as Ohio’s state dog would increase the demand for purebred dogs and entice puppy mills to churn out litters of them. Dogs in puppy mills are often kept in tiny, filthy cages and denied love, attention, and everything that is natural and important to them. Breeder dogs are often killed when their worn-out bodies can no longer produce puppies.

Animal shelters in the United States must euthanize millions of deserving dogs and cats every year because of a lack of good homes. Every animal purchased from a pet store or breeder takes away a homeless animal’s chance for placement with a loving family, but you have an opportunity to set a tremendous example by promoting the adoption of shelter dogs.

Increasingly, Americans are choosing to save lives by adopting animals from shelters instead of buying them. Please don’t encourage Ohio to take a step backward by promoting a specific breed—wonderful as is it—as the state dog. By doing so, you’d be condemning other dogs to death. Instead, please consider naming a shelter dog as the state dog to raise awareness of the issue and encourage adoption. Thank you.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk


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