Texas Senate Approves New Rules For Breeders

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Texas lawmakers are proceeding on new rules for so-called "puppy mills" that breed animals in unsafe conditions.

The Texas Senate approved a measure Monday night to impose new regulations, fees and licensing requirements on commercial dog and cat breeders, then sent it back to the House for approval.

Breeders would have to provide basic grooming, a yearly veterinary exam and clean caging.

The legislation defines commercial breeders as those who sell or exchange 20 or more animals yearly and have 11 or more females capable of breeding.

Opponents call the bill a government overreach and say it could put responsible breeders out of business. Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat, said his legislation is only meant to punish irresponsible breeders who keep animals in "inhumane, unhealthy and unsanitary" conditions.