“P.U.P.S for Dummies”
In writing this explanation to the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety bill (P.U.P.S.), please know that I am not separating members of OESCA into two intellectual categories. I am simply aware that for people who are already involved in canine legislation matters, this news would be old news. For people who enjoy their OES as pets, it is my intention to explain just what this bill can mean to our lives with dogs.
First, this bill is just that, a bill. It is currently in the House Agriculture Committee of the Congress. Perhaps it is even still in an Agricultural Sub-committee. I will do all I can to let you know when it starts moving. Keep in mind a companion bill is also in the Senate committee on Agriculture. Right now there is no movement on the bills and they may not be the same but they are there and will not see the light of day as a law unless they are voted on in the committees and then passed by vote in both the House and the Senate. Having said that, however, this is NOT the time to ignore these bills. Here’s what they contain in all or part and you need to be very concerned as to how they will affect you as a dog owner should it become law. In the days to come I will post the names of the Congressmen and Senators who sit on the Agriculture Committee. You need to write a letter to YOUR representatives on this committee and explain in your own words why this is such a bad bill.
- The bill would restrict the number of dogs/puppies brought into the U.S. from foreign countries. This part of the bill might not be so bad by itself. Bringing dogs in from other countries has the potential of adding to the many number of dogs who roam the streets and roads of this country because they do not have a home. Feral dogs come from this situation when dogs begin to run in packs. They can be very dangerous to humans as well as our own dogs. Since they have no owner, they may be without the necessary inoculations that are required in the U.S. for dogs. The fact that certain entities bring in mass numbers of foreign dogs for the purpose of resale should certainly be of concern to all of us.
- This bill would require anyone who owns (or co-owns) 50 or more dogs that produce dogs/puppies and/or are offered for sale (through internet, classifieds, or phone, etc.) over a 12 month period to be regulated under existing USDA (US Department of Agriculture) dog “dealer” regulations. Such regulations are designed for “high volume commercial kennels” that produce puppies for wholesale. Commercial kennels must acquire a USDA commercial license. Some of the regulations include kennel engineering standards (such as crate size, yard or exercise area specifications) and regular inspections. To weigh down a small hobby breeder who operates out of their private domicile with such regulations puts an enormous weight of added expense and paper work on both the Dept of Agriculture and the hobby breeder.
This bill wants to put every puppy producing individual in the country into the same category and thereby impose these regulations on everyone. It doesn’t take much to see that this would shut down most small kennel/hobby breeders who breed first, to preserve the breed, and second, to enjoy the sport of dogs through competitions. Besides this, every “kennel”, no matter the size, would require periodic inspections and would take away a resource of funds to the government that needed to enforce against abusive or negligent operations. According to statistics of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), there is already a shortage of inspectors for the inspections presently done.
Other concerns about this bill include:
- The definition of a breeding female is an intact female dog aged 4 months or over. This definition is misleading for numerous reasons:
- In the first place, a female dog at this age is NOT sufficiently developed to be bred.
- “Commercial high volume retail breeders” are designated as such based on sales, not on the number of dogs owned as the small hobby breeder would be.
- The definition of a “high volume retail breeder” which defines them as “someone with an ownership interest in 1 or more breeding female dogs” is overly broad and does not consider the reason for having an intact dog. Wholesale breeders have a completely different reason for breeding dogs as do dog show participants, sporting dog trainers, hunting club members, and other hobbyists.
- The reference to the “number of dogs owned by a breeder” is misleading in legislation that does not limit ownership rights to ALL breeders.
- The required exercise language in the bill is overly vague. Should all dogs be required to have the same amount of exercise? Can exercise on a tread mill be substituted for a walk in the rain and to what extent can one calculate the time exercised or the means by which a dog is exercised to be equivalent?
- This entire legislation requires expanding the number of breeders to be regulated and inspected each year. It is both overburdening to the USDOA inspecting services and extremely costly to the DOA to say nothing of the unfairness it represents to the small hobby breeder.
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