Friday, November 19, 2010

Legal Issues/ dog breeders

The American Kennel Club Government Relations group tracks activity by the US Congress in matters of importance to dog owners. One of the bills being considered during the current lame duck session is:

H.R.5434 – This legislation, known as the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act, would require all breeders who breed and sell more than 50 puppies in a 12-month period to be regulated under USDA dog dealer regulations. Requirements would include obtaining an annual USDA license, maintaining minimum federal standards of care, and regular inspections at least biennially. It also would require that breeding dogs receive daily access to exercise that is sufficient to maintain normal muscle tone and mass, the ability to achieve a running stride, and is not a forced activity. The AKC has expressed a number of concerns with the measure and will keep owners and breeders up to date on any changes in the bill’s status. S.3424 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry. H.R. 5434 is assigned to the House Committee on Agriculture. No hearings have been scheduled for either bill.


This bill is in response to the "puppy mills" that have gained notoriety through assorted media sources. It is surely a well meaning attempt to save unfortunate puppies that suffer through the shocking neglect by a minority of large scale breeders.

As is usually the case in adding federal standards and regulations, this will put many kind and honest smaller scale breeders out of business due to the extra expenses to comply. Consider: How much does this license cost? And who do you think pays for the inspection? The breeder. Then the breeder must charge more for his puppies. And if he can't sell the overpriced puppies?

Government is micromanaging banks, motor vehicles, insurance, food, medicines and now dog breeding?! How many industries are going to stagger at the brink of extinction before we realize that just because a law appears to do good doesn't make it a good idea?

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  1. I agree with you on the "more laws aren't always the best answer" stuff. But, and I may be out of the loop in terms of professional breeding, isn't breeding and selling 50 or more puppies a year not exactly small scale? Even if you're breeding labs (which can have notoriously large litters), that's still at least five bitches on the premises.

    Managing five adult dogs may doable for a family environment, but five adult dogs perpetually giving birth to litters of 10 puppies at a time is a whole lot of dogs to care for.

    I'd hope that the license and inspection fees wouldn't be expensive at all; after all, the focus should be on having a record of who is producing a lot of puppies and the ability to shut them down if they're effectively running a puppy mill.

    Breeding dogs takes money, and on a large scale, it makes money too. People who are doing things properly should have no problem passing inspection — my hope would be that inspections, and licenses, are inexpensive and easy to obtain.

  2. True, 50 puppies is alot. But when a breeder has the market and can handle the volume of dogs they ought to be able to run their business without government horning in. License fees, inpection fees, whether large or small, add to the cost of doing business. Inspectors on the premises disrupt the business too. This intrusion is one step away from government coming in to everybody's home to be sure they are living right. Are there child proof lids on those medications? Are the anti slip daisies in the bathtub plentiful enough? Hold it, is that an Edison light bulb in that socket?

    My main concern is too much government involvement. Most reputable dog breeders already belong to organizations with a Code of Ethics. They already follow good practices in the care of their breeding stock and puppies. This is the kind of law that punishes the vast majority of hard working capitalists while doing little to rehab the very few bad apples.

  3. I agree that a line must be drawn before the government regulates all of our small businesses. And, perhaps most breeders do "follow good practices in the care of their breeding stock and puppies." (I don't know the specific statistics, but obviously the negative situations are much more frequently covered by the media)

    In actuality, purposeful breeding of ANY dogs at this point is not only unnecessary, but arguably irresponsible as a practice. Admittedly, I am approaching the issue from a point of view strongly slanted toward animal rights. Even so, the number of dogs available as family pets far exceeds the demand. Breeders not only contribute to pet overpopulation directly, but also indirectly, as their puppies later breed to produce more puppies, etc.

    It is easy to blame just a few people for running inhumane puppy mills, and say that the other breeders are just "hard working capitalists", but please consider that even those puppies from so called, 'good stock' find their way into gas chambers or injected with the 'pink stuff' in alarming numbers when they are not sold or adopted from a shelter.

    Much like an employee receiving an evaluation, dog breeders will have to meet certain minimum expectations: all employees are periodically observed and evaluated, even if most of the employees would do their jobs regardless.

    Small business is an important part of our economy, and must be allowed to have a certain degree of autonomy. Please don't forget, however, that dogs are living things. Although not to be regulated by the same standards as humans, they are able to suffer. If we can take steps to save some animals from suffering, we probably should.

  4. Yes purple, dogs are living things and if we can save them suffering we should.

    You clearly speak from the -don't ever buy a dog-because there are plenty to save- standpoint. That's noble as far as it goes.

    I still believe that dog breeders are necessary not only to keep the many breeds going (there are reasons there are so many different breeds!) but also, as I said, so that the healthiest of animals are the ones bred. Certainly, the best policy is to spay and neuter most dogs.

    As heartbreaking as it is knowing that the "pink stuff" continues to be meted to many a goodly dog, I don't think ending breeding is the answer any more than I think going vegan will save cows and chickens the indignity and suffering of feeding my self or my own dogs.

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