Xenia Vet Named Best in State

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Laws signed by Kasich in 2018 ban some of the cruelest practices of commercial dog breeders, or “puppy mills,” like stacking dogs in cages on top of each other or keeping the animals in wire-bottomed cages. The legislation also limited how many times a mother dog could be bred in a year and required dogs to have access to adequate food, water, exercise and veterinary care.

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The laws were among the most progressive animal cruelty laws of the time, making Ohio a “national leader” in preventing cruelty to breeding dogs, according to the Humane Society.

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dr Patricia Haines examines a canine patient at the Pony Express Veterinary Hospital in Xenia. CONTRIBUTION

dr  Patricia Haines smiles during her check-up of a very confused dog at the Pony Express Veterinary Hospital in Xenia.
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dr Patricia Haines examines a canine patient at the Pony Express Veterinary Hospital in Xenia. CONTRIBUTION

“It gave Ohio a leadership role in regulating commercial breeding: regulations and rules that commercial breeders can adhere to to improve the care and welfare of the animals involved,” Haines said.

The demand for family dogs often does not match the capabilities of a living, breathing animal. Puppies born in unregulated commercial breeding mills are often diseased or inbred, which can lead to heartache and high vet bills, according to the Humane Society. Haines and her husband breed and show pointers, and their dogs are often sold two to three years in advance.

“People today want pets. And they will go where there is supply,” Haines said. “But if they do have a puppy, we want it to be well taken care of.”

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Haines has also supported the work of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association to address rural vet shortages and address the issue of veterinary suicide.

According to Not One More Vet, an organization that studies veterinary mental health issues, male veterinarians are 2.1 times more likely than the general population to die from suicide, and female veterinarians are 3.5 times more likely. At the same time, clinics across the state saw an increase in demand for services.

“Veterinary medicine is very emotionally challenging,” Haines said. “Since COVID it has become very strange. Every practice that is addressed is overwhelmed. It’s not uncommon in emergency facilities to have waiting lists of six to eight hours.”

For families looking to adopt or buy a pet, Haines advises slowing down the process and buying from reputable breeders who take good care of their dogs.

“Study the breeds, see what fits your lifestyle, and then look for breeders who do their homework and health test their animals. Go to their kennel, see who the parents are, see how they are treated,” she said. “Be patient. It will be someone to join your family.”

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