As an individual whose family members include farmers and breeders, it is my firm belief reporter Chris Kick has chosen to ignore the legitimate concerns of Ohio voters, and the perspectives and expertise of respected animal welfare scientists and veterinary experts, as a means in which to boost circulation for Farm and Dairy (“Holmes County in the dog house?”, May 27, 2010.)
The Coalition to Ban Ohio Dog Auctions is not, as one source claimed, an “animal rights activist group which thinks animals should not be controlled by humans.” We are a group comprised of over 12,000 supporters from 72 counties, many who are breeders, farmers and residents of Holmes County, who believe the Ohio dog auctions are a symptom of the puppy mill industry.
Many of us stood in partnership with the Ohio Farmer’s Union in opposition to Issue 2, for reasons outlined in OFU’s official position statement on this ballot initiative.
At no time have I or any committee member or supporter of the coalition stated that livestock auctions will be our next focus. The coalition was formed as a Political Action Committee (PAC) specifically for our ballot initiative, the Ohio Dog Auctions Act. We have no plans now or in the future to address livestock auctions.
The coalition firmly believes, based on a review of dozens of USDA reports issued on the current owner of the Ohio Dog Auction, past owner of the Ohio Dog Auction and breeders who have consigned and purchased dogs at this auction, that these events serve as a major distribution channel for breeders who have multiple USDA violations of the Animal Welfare Act and have been convicted of animal cruelty.
The coalition fully supports the strategy adopted by the business and political leaders of Geauga County in addressing the Buckeye Dog Auction following its sale to Middlefield Township-based Bylerville Enterprises LLC in March 2007.
Following tremendous pressure from voters of Geauga County, which included concerns of an economic threat to local commerce, the auction was sold back to Holmes County within 120 days following its initial sale.
A meeting on May 18 with the Holmes County Humane Society board of directors does not substantiate any remarks or opinions expressed by its board president, Donna Norfolk.
The presentation, which included a review of the goals, mission statement and objectives of our ballot initiative, was well received by all attendees of the society and included a request for petitions in support of our signature drive.
In a recent poll conducted by The Daily Record, a paper whose circulation includes hundreds of readers from Holmes and surrounding counties, the question was asked, “Do you feel dog auctions should be allowed to continue to operate?” A resounding 92 percent of 1,714 respondents voted “No”.
Lewis Center, Ohio
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