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Editorial: It's time to rein-in puppy mills

It's time for the Minnesota Legislature to take action to rein-in puppy mills.

House File 388 was introduced in the Minnesota House of Representatives by Representative John Benson.

The language of the bill is identical to a bill introduced last session that had broad support from animal welfare organizations, breeders, veterinarians and others.

According to a fiscal note prepared by the Board of Animal Health last year, the bill would not cost the state any money.

In fact, according to further input from the Department of Revenue, if this bill is passed into law, it will generate additional revenue for the state, according to of Minneapolis.

According to research by DOR, puppy mill operators not only violate animal cruelty laws, they break Minnesota tax laws by not paying sales tax on puppies sold.

A shocking 75 percent of commercial breeders reviewed were not in compliance with Minnesota sales tax laws.

House File 388 would help bring breeders into compliance with sales tax laws, generating needed revenue for the state, and it would also help end wide spread cruelty in Minnesota's puppy factories.

As House File 388 was being introduced, a short-form documentary film produced by the Companion Animal Protection Society was going viral on the Internet.

It has made a splash on CNN's iReport and on YouTube, as well as other sites.

It has received more than 25,000 downloads or views on Vimeo alone. The video tells the story of a Minnesota breeder, Kathy Bauck, and how she has avoided the law and continues breeding, even after having her USDA license taken away, and having been repeatedly convicted of animal cruelty and torture.

Another indication of Minnesota's growing concern over the commercial breeding of dogs and cats is the growth of a new Facebook page that publishes action alerts and other ways that Minnesotans can get involved in helping to pass legislation that would allow Minnesota to begin regulating puppy mills.

Shortly after the page was created, it had already attracted more than 1,000 followers.

A companion bill to House File 388 is expected to be introduced in the Minnesota Senate in a matter of days.

This bill makes fiscal sense - and more importantly, it's the right thing to do. We hope lawmakers agree and act to protect our canine friends.