Ohio may allow breeders without veterinary training to operate on dogs

COLUMBUS, Ohio — A proposed rule change being considered at the Statehouse could allow some dog breeders without medical training to perform certain surgeries on puppies shortly after birth.

The agency’s Joint Committee on Review of Rules (JCARR) will hear evidence on Tuesday about a rule that would allow any commercial or high-volume breeder to tail dock and dewclaw removal for puppies ages two to five days. This rule was proposed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA).

Although it is a common cosmetic practice for some dogs, the question of who performs the procedure worries animal advocates.

“There are rules that the Ohio Department of Agriculture is trying to continue to uphold and enforce that would allow breeders of dogs without a veterinarian, without pain, without medication, without anesthesia, to cut off dogs’ tails and use dewclaws as well,” said Vicki Deisner, state government affairs adviser for the Animal Welfare Institute.

The Humane Society describes “puppy mills” as high-volume, inhumane dog-breeding facilities. Ohio ranks second in the nation for most plants.

Deisner believed that this proposal would result in even more inhumane conditions.

“Now I’d like to show you some of the equipment that puppy mill breeders will use to do this,” she said as she pulled out the equipment. “Here’s a pair of little garden clippers. Here’s a knife they use to cut it. Here’s a pair of scissors, just old garden scissors and a rubber band, because that process would be to tie the end of the tail and basically cut off the blood supply until it rots and falls off.”

A 2021 report by the Humane Society found Ohio ranchers to be one of the worst offenders for the inhumane treatment of animals — with botched dental surgeries, dogs living in feces, and cold winters. , and keeping dogs in crates with other dead or badly injured puppies.

“To simply say, ‘yes, we can lob a tail or a dewclaw and not understand the anatomy behind it, not dull the pain behind it, and not know how to properly care for that injury,’ you could put a pup in grave danger,” Dr. Ole Alcumbrac, medical director of White Mountain Animal Hospital, said.

Alcumbrac is a longtime veterinarian and wildlife expert. He’s seen plenty of botched cases of breeders and non-professionals trying to modify their dogs, he said.

Although they initially considered doing an interview with News 5, they changed their minds. Their spokesperson Bryan Levin provided answers to emailed questions.

This rule change is due to a five-year review of the rules and the fact that there were two updates to the revised Ohio code in 2018 and 2019. There are also plans to update the rules to reflect the current ORC, Levin said.

“These procedures have been authorized to be performed by the licensed high-volume dog breeder since the law took effect,” he said. “The CAO requires the high-volume dog breeder to have a Veterinary Health Care Plan developed by their veterinarian that outlines how the license holder will perform these procedures, if applicable (not all dog breeds have the tail docked or dewclaws removed). Therefore, although the license holder may perform these procedures, veterinary supervision is required.”

Deisner said that while it may be their code to do this practice, it goes directly against Ohio law.

“There is no provision authorizing the practice of veterinary medicine based on the age of the pet, whether it is two to five days old,” she said. “Allowing a layman to perform these procedures violates laws that establish the qualifications of a licensed veterinarian and puts animals at risk by allowing an unqualified person to perform surgery, which also alters the animal’s body and may cause long-term damage.”

She also added that the law states, with respect to high-volume commercial dog breeders “if a surgical or euthanasia procedure is necessary, have a veterinarian perform the procedure.” As the legislation clearly states that a veterinarian must perform all surgical procedures, the ODA does not have the authority to issue regulations allowing anyone other than veterinarians to perform such procedures, she said. .

A representative from the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) said some activists may misinterpret the regulations. He said that, technically, tail docking and ergot removal were not surgery. Alcumbrac disagrees.

“Any time you cut a body that’s considered surgery,” Alcumbrac said.

It turns out that the OVMA, along with the registered kennel veterinarians of ODA-licensed high-volume breeders are part of the ODA Stakeholder Group, Levin revealed.

Allowing a person to perform cosmetic surgery on any animal, regardless of age, without proper pain management and euthanasia is considered animal cruelty, torture and torment, Deisner added, citing the law.


Ohio animal rights activists are fighting a new rule that would allow dog breeders without medical training to perform surgery on puppies

If people really want their dog to look the same as the rest of his breed, go to a vet, Alcumbrac said, even if he doesn’t like procedures.

“It’s going to be done right and the standards are being met for the breeds,” he said. “For example, if we’re doing tails on a puppy, there are already pre-set standards for where we cut that tail, how we make that tail look, and we’re going to do that, aseptically. We’re going to suture the wounds. We’re going to do whatever we need to do to get the best result for that desired look on this dog.

The number one reason people don’t want to take their puppies to the vet is because the vet can be expensive, Deisner said.

“It would save them money,” she said. “If you look at what the pet store costs, where the puppy mills go, you often see dogs being sold for between $2 and $5,000. There’s obviously money being made, and if there’s that much money that is made, it should go back and some of it should be spent on animals that are suffering.”

She also adds that when a person has a large number of dogs, it is impossible for them to actively take care of each of them in the best possible way. Many dogs are just for profit, she said.

“Our mission is to prevent cruelty to animals in the State of Ohio and throughout the country and in this regard we urge viewers and those who care for and advocate for dogs that come from puppy mills and end up being sold in pet stores, talking to their lawmakers — but especially the lawmakers who control JCARR,” she said. “Ask them to invalidate these rules and respect what the law says. – only surgical interventions can be carried out by veterinarians.”

Follow WEWS State House Reporter Morgan Trau on Twitter and Facebook.