Action Alert: ODA Rule Allows Puppymillers to Perform Surgery on Dogs – Take Action to Stop this Atrocity Now!

ODA Revised Rule submitted to JCARR allows breeders to perform surgical procedures on dogs. Take action and tell JCARR that this cruel rule violates Ohio Law. Deadline: 12/9/22



In April, thanks to concerns raised by Ohio Animal Advocates and advocates across Ohio, the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) tabled rules proposed by the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) allowing puppy mill operators to perform painful surgeries such as tail docking and dew claw removal on young puppies without the benefit of a veterinarian, anesthesia, or pain control.  

But now ODA has submitted to JCARR a “new” rule: one that still allows unqualified non-veterinarians to perform surgical procedures on animals, in violation of Ohio law. The puppies need you again.

On Monday, December 12, JCARR will hold a hearing on ODA’s revised rule. This presents another opportunity to invalidate this rule. Under Ohio law, specific criteria, called “prongs,” are used to determine whether a rule is valid. Two of those prongs are relevant here: (1) Does the rule exceed the agency’s statutory authority? (2) Does the rule conflict with the intent of the legislature when it enacted the statute? 

In this case, as before, the existing statute, ORC 956.0341(V), states that surgical procedures must be performed by veterinarians. Clearly, allowing non-veterinarians to perform such procedures violates the legislature’s intent, and it is not within the ODA’s authority to circumvent this.

What You Can Do

JCARR will hold a hearing on puppy mill regulations on Monday, December 12, so it is urgent that you email JCARR staff and committee members by 12/9/22, asking them to invalidate OAC Proposed Rule 901:1-6-05. Please be sure to share this action with family, friends, and co-workers in Ohio, and encourage them to send a message as well:

JCARR staff:

Theresa Gavarone, Chair,, (614) 466-8060

Jamie Callender, Co-Chair,, (614) 644-6074

Hearcel Craig,, (614) 466-5131

Kristin Boggs,, (614) 466-1896

Dale Martin, , (614) 466-4857

Brett Hudson Hillyer, , (614) 466-8035

Kirk Schuring,, (614) 466-0626

Michael Skindell,, (614) 466-5921

George Lang,, (614) 466-8072

Brian Stewart,, (614) 466-1464

If you have time, please attend the hearing on Monday, December 12, which will be held at 1:30pm in the Finan Hearing Room 126 of the State Capitol in Columbus.

Take Action

Dear JCARR Member,

I was alarmed to learn that ODA is back seeking approval for another rule that would still permit operators of puppy mills to perform surgical procedures—tail docking and declaw removal—on young puppies. These individuals shouldn’t be allowed to operate on animals in the first place. To allow anyone but a veterinarian to perform surgery on dogs and without anesthesia compounds the harm (OAC Proposed Rule 901:1-6-05).  The American Veterinary Medical Association regards dew claw removal and tail docking as surgical procedures that cause acute pain in puppies. Similar to the rule you tabled in April, this regulation not only threatens animal welfare, but also meets JCARR’s criteria for invalidation. 

OAC Proposed Rule 901:1-6-05 violates JCARR’s standards because the rule exceeds the rulemaking agency’s statutory authority (prong 1) and conflicts with the intent of the legislature in enacting the statute under which the rule is proposed (prong 3).

ORC mandates the use of a veterinarian for surgical procedures. In reference to high-volume commercial dog breeders, ORC Section 956.031(V) states, “If a surgical or euthanasia procedure is required, use a veterinarian to perform the procedure.” ODA lacks the authority to enact regulations that contradict this clear direction by allowing anyone other than veterinarians to conduct such surgical procedures.

Since the OAC Rule 901 rule package is before JCARR, it must now address the fact that OAC Proposed Rule 901:1-6-05 violates JCARR standards prong 1 and prong 3. This calls for invalidating this rule.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you on this important matter.


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