Man’s best friend has two new allies in the Alabama Legislature — Jacksonville-Republican state Rep. K.L. Brown and Bessemer-Democrat state Sen. Priscilla Dunn. The duo introduced bills drafted by the Alabama Puppy Mill Project, HB45 and SB17, in their respective chambers, which require commercial breeders of dogs and cats to be licensed and inspected annually in hopes to put an end to inhumane practices like puppy mills.
On Thursday both bills finally got a name, and face, of their own — Atti’s Bill.
Named after rescue pup Atti, short for Atticus Finch, along with her sister from a breeder in Troy, Ala. The bill now carries Atti’s name. According to the Alabama Puppy Mill Project, “they were riddled with parasites and had Parvo. They did everything they could to give them every ounce of veterinary care they could to save their lives. They were both fighters but Atti succumbed to the Parvo and died several days later.” The bills have now been renamed in her honor and memory.
While neither bill directly refers to “puppy mills” they would apply to cat and dog breeders who have more than 10 female animals. They’d have to be licensed and inspected by the Alabama Dog and Cat Breeders Commission, which the legislation also creates.
The state Department of Agriculture and Industries would have jurisdiction over the commission and funding would be covered through breeders’ licensing fees.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASCPA), Alabama is one of only 20 states that doesn’t have regulations for puppy mills — a large-scale commercial dog breeding facility where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.
HB45/SB17 hopes to put an end to that.