Animal welfare advocates say Wednesday's fire that killed eight dogs at a commercial breeding facility near Selma could have been avoided by better regulation. Kim Alboum is North Carolina Director for the Humane Society of the US. She says state regulation of commercial breeders is so lax, no one even knows how many are in business here. Alboum says the lack of oversight makes North Carolina an attractive place for puppy mills:
"As long as you don’t sell to pet stores or research facilities, you can come here and you can breed your dogs, and nobody’s going to ask you for anything. Unless there’s a complaint against you, and then you might have somebody come and look at your property. And if they do, as long as you’re doing food, water, shelter, what difference does it make?"
The dogs at Puppy Paradise were housed in open-air wooden pens. Alboum says that meets the minimum state standards for breeders. Her group backed a bill last session that would have required higher kenneling standards, but it was shot down by lawmakers. Johnston County Animal Services Director Ernie Wilkinson says 46 dogs were saved from Wednesday's fire. Six others required veterinary care. The cause of the fire is still unknown.