A bill that would regulate dog and cat breeders has passed the Senate and is now bound for a conference committee, where lawmakers say significant changes could be made. House Bill 1332 would require dog and cat breeders who sell more than 35 animals a year to become licensed by the state Agriculture Department. The measure also would set minimum standards for animal health and fine breeders who don’t meet those requirements. The bill passed the Senate 30-16, with opponents arguing the bill would not address the problem of puppy mills across the state and would target reputable breeders who are already following federal rules for breeding animals. "This sets minimum standards for dogs and cats; it’s a pet quality assurance act,” said Sen. Cliff Branan, R-Oklahoma City, who carried the bill in the Senate. "I haven’t met with anyone from PETA, I’m not an animal rights activist. This is a public health issue.” Under the bill, investigators from the Agriculture Department would visit breeders to make sure they are following the rules. There are currently 11 investigators for the state. Sen. Jay Paul Gumm, D-Durant, argued that without more investigators, the bill unfairly targets breeders already complying with federal standards. "Everybody wants to get rid of puppy mills; this isn’t going to stop that,” Gumm said. "This only regulates USDA breeders who are already doing the right things.” The bill is now headed for a conference committee. Branan has made several suggestions for changes, including allowing breeders to forgo state inspections and licensing if they are already licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Changes also would allow the state to decide whether breeders should be punished for minor infractions.