From: Karin Raile

Winona

 

Why aren’t we known as the humane capitol of Minnesota? I read the recent article about dog breeding kennels in Winona County and that a moratorium is still “on the table.” Wonderful! I support a moratorium on further permits of dog breeding kennels that will allow real discussion.

 I have lived in Winona County for over 20 years. For as long as I can remember, I have supported animals. I care about how animals are treated; that includes how businesses treat animals, too. I have followed this issue for many years, including back in 2016 when the County Board gave permits to seven of these puppy mills. It still continues. I testified at one of the recent board meetings in August and expressed my concern about these kennels. I am happy to see that the County Board is willing to discuss the permits, the conditions, and (hopefully) the treatment of the animals. 

These mills are not producing lumber or flowers — they’re keeping adult dogs for years in cages and pens and mass breeding them to create multiple puppies to be shipped to brokers and pet stores. I do not support this mass production of puppies. 

One commissioner said that she thinks discussion of animal health and welfare is micromanaging. It is not. It is the board’s role to govern responsibly and to reflect our values in the county. If the County Board (with recommendations by county staff) is granting permits with conditions but not following up to ensure compliance, that is not good governance. Yes, that can take time and effort. But why grant a permit if you’re not going to check it? 

Especially when it involves the production of living, breathing dogs and puppies. Dogs in these kennels are not the same as dogs on a “city block,” as she suggests. Dogs in homes get walks and playtime, and love and attention. They are part of the family. Dogs and puppies in these breeding kennels are seen as inventory and products to be sold; the less labor and energy spent with the animals, the more profit for the kennels. It’s about making money at the expense of the dogs’ health and wellbeing. 

This issue can no longer be pushed under the rug. The County Board needs to step up and make changes — for the community and for the animals. Winona County should be known as the humane capitol of Minnesota, not the puppy mill capitol of Minnesota.