Crime & Courts

Governor promises to try again on puppy mill legislation

Gov. Pat McCrory, accepting an award on behalf of his wife at a Humane Society fundraiser Thursday in Charlotte, said he will re-introduce the puppy mill legislation that caused a ruckus in January.

The governor said he hopes a ban on gassing animals will get tacked onto that legislation, and he wants to add $100,000 to the money counties get from the state to help spay and neuter animals.

About 90 women gathered at the Duke Mansion to recognize Ann McCrory and Kim Alboum, North Carolina state director for the Humane Society of the United States, for their work to stop what host Maureen O’Boyle called “the atrocities” of large-scale commercial breeding operations, often called puppy mills. Ann McCrory couldn’t attend because of a medical issue, the governor said.

In accepting her award, McCrory said he’ll again push for regulations to require “basic water and basic care” at puppy mills. He cited pressure from agriculture supporters “afraid of a slippery slope” when it comes to animals’ living conditions.

He then quoted Ann: “Even our dog Moe knows the difference between a hog and a dog.” He said he’d chided his staff with: “Why can’t you give me lines like that?”

In January, Sen. Bill Rabon was quoted as calling the legislation an “abomination” and a “flagrant violation of power” in a private meeting.

“Here’s where I need your help,” McCrory said Thursday. “I need you to bombard (legislators). ... If we get it to a vote, there’s no way they can vote no.”

McCrory pointed out he wants to move the state’s animal welfare section, which inspects county and municipal animal shelters and regulates euthanasia, from the agriculture department to public safety.

He said that plan and the puppy mill legislation, along with plans to return the state historic tax credit and a change in the film subsidy system, will be announced next week as revisions to his budget.

Shelly Moore, president and CEO of the Humane Society of Charlotte, told the women the organization helped more than 17,000 animals in 2013. That included its largest-ever total of spay/neuter surgeries (more than 12,000) and adopting out and fostering homeless animals.

This first annual Women for Animal Welfare luncheon, she said, offered the women “a great opportunity” to work toward “the ultimate goal: no more homeless pets.” The Society’s Donna Ragan said the event raised $49,238, easily topping the $30,000 goal.