CFA Legislative ALERTS
CFA Federal & State Bill Tracking ALERTS: Federal | State | Local
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Action Alerts - FEDERAL
USDA/APHIS Proposes Federal Licensing and Inspection of Many Home Hobby Breeders
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed changes to federal regulations that would treat many small/hobby breeders and pet rescue groups as commercial breeders. The proposed rule change would require federal licensing, regulation and inspections that would eliminate many small hobby breeders and threaten the existence of many pedigreed breeds. With hobby breeders gone, pet buyers would be forced to obtain pets from large, commercial vendors. Now is the time to contact your elected federal representatives asking them to help. Please read the CFA Next Step Guide (click here, or see below)
On May 10, 2012 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a proposal for broad new rules to regulate pet breeders who sell directly to the public. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) unit currently regulates large-scale commercial breeders who sell animals at wholesale or for research. Hobby breeders selling directly to the public at retail are exempt from federal regulation. State and local governments already can regulate all breeders; and buyers can, whether or not all actually do, visit the breeders’ premises.
The USDA is under fire for lax enforcement of existing law. Last year Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin introduced in the US Senate the Durbin-Vitter "Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act" (PUPS) to require federal licensing and inspection of many home hobby breeders (see below). As the PUPS bill has become stalled in congress, proponents are circumventing the process by having the agency amend regulations without need of new legislation.
The proposed new rules will be much broader than the PUPS bill. The new regulations include all small animal species, including cats, and would require licensing of catteries who sell even one kitten without the buyer actually entering their home to view the animal. Only a cattery with 4 or fewer “breeding females” would be exempt. (Of course, since this is a regulation and not a law that limit could be lowered even more.) Below are links to Joan Millers article about this USDA/APHIS proposal with background information as a first step in understanding. CFA OPPOSES.
* Federal Register Docket: APHIS-2011-0003
* Regulatory Impact Analysis: APHIS-2011-0003
* USDA/APHIS proposal UPDATE – Do you want federal inspectors in your bedrooms? (June 14, 2012)
* Federal licensing of cat breeders – a heads up !! (May 15, 2012)
* APHIS Fact Sheet (July 8, 2012)
* APHIS Fact Sheet (revised July 16, 2012)
* APHIS Fact Sheet (revised July 17, 2012)
CFA's Comment Letter (July 16, 2012)
USDA/APHIS proposal UPDATE - Comment Period extended to August 15th! (July 18, 2012)
CFA public flyer (Please give to spectators at your shows, kitten buyers, etc)
CFA Fact Sheet
CFA Comment Guide
NEW: APHIS responds to FOIA
NEW: CFA Next Step Guide
CURRENT STATUS: The deadline for comments to the proposed rules changes by individuals and groups has expired, but there is still much work to get done. Please contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators. Let them know you oppose the rule change and you are asking for their support in getting the USDA/APHIS to withdraw the proposed changes. You may include the CFA Comment Letter with your own cover letter if you wish. For more information or to find your representatives see the CFA Next Step Guide. We don't know how long APHIS will take to review the public comments so you must act immediately. Please share this information with family, friends, co-workers, kitten buyers or any pet lover who wants to protect their right to home raised pedigreed cats.
The "Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act" (PUPS) [Senate Bill S 707 / House Bill HR 835] is a proposed amendment to the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The AWA currently regulates large-scale commercial breeders who sell animals at wholesale or for research. Hobby breeders selling directly to the public at retail are exempt from federal regulation. Since consumers have access to the breeders in direct sales, small retail breeders are currently regulated by local government. PUPS would expand federal jurisdiction into pets and require federal licensing and inspection of home hobby dog breeders who own one intact female and who place as few as 50 puppies per year. Contrary to the claims of PUPS supporters it is NOT limited to Internet sales. It would apply to a breeder who places pets "via any means of conveyance." The USDA is currently under fire for lax enforcement of existing law. In FY 2008 the USDA had 99 inspectors who conducted 15,722 inspections or re-inspections on facilities including 4,604 licensed breeders and 1,116 licensed brokers. The numbers of facilities/homes that would be added by PUPS would be in the thousands, meaning fewer inspections of the large, commercial breeders the AWA was intended to regulate. The USDA's current animal care regulations cover breeders who sell at wholesale, who breed commercially in large quantities, and are ill-suited to home-based hobby breeders. Compromising the regulations in order to accommodate the newly added home breeders may lessen the enforcement of the AWA standards of care for the commercial operations it was intended to regulate. CFA OPPOSES
CURRENT STATUS: Senate Bill 707 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry. House Bill 835 has been assigned to the Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Subcommittee of the House Committee on Agriculture. Neither bill has been scheduled for committee hearing. Supporters of PUPS are lobbying legislators in both houses to become cosponsors. Immediate action is needed. Please bookmark this page for updates.
Action Alerts - STATE
Hawaii Senate Bills 2504 and 2198 would ban the sale of any cat or dog who had not been spayed or neutered. Both would mandate sellers microchip all dogs and cats prior to sale, make certain health disclosures and maintain records. Neither bill provides exceptions for sale of intact animals to responsible breeders and would, in effect, mandate the extinction of pedigreed cats and dogs in Hawaii. CFA OPPOSES BOTH BILLS.
Hawaii Senate Bill 2490 requires pet sellers provide veterinary inspection to buyers. It would create a mandatory warranty on the sale of any pets and make sellers liable to the purchaser for any defect in the cat or dog for two years from the date of sale. The amount of damages the buyer can claim is not limited. Hawaii House Bill 2161 would also create a mandatory warranty on the sale of dogs but would limit damages to the original purchase price of the pet. CFA OPPOSES BOTH BILLS.
CURRENT STATUS: These bills and several others in Hawaii are being monitored by CFA. Due to the unusually short legislative session in Hawaii these bills are advancing very quickly. Hearings have already been scheduled and even rescheduled on these bills. Please refer to the Hawaii State Legislature's web site:
http://www.capitol.hawaii.gov/legcal.aspx for the most current hearing dates and times.
IMMEDIATE ACTION IS NEEDED. Please write your letters in opposition today.
House Bill 1166 defines a "companion animal hoarder" as a person who is in possession of 7 or more companion animals in addition to other requirements. The bill provides that a person must obtain a permit to possess 7 or more companion animals. The possession of 7 or more companion animals is a misdemeanor and a second or subsequent violation is a felony with every day that a violation continues constituting a separate offense. CFA OPPOSES.
CFA supports reasonable regulations for the humane treatment of animals based on factors such as: adequate space, nutrition, sanitation, shelter, veterinary care, socialization and the welfare of the animal and opposes the establishment of arbitrary quotas on numbers of animals. A large facility may have excellent care; a small one may be substandard. Quotas also operate to discourage proper genetic diversity in breeding facilities and may have ad adverse effect on the health and well-being of the pets. Hoarding is a complex issue involving both legal and mental health considerations. For a discussion of hoarding see: "Understanding Animal Hoarding & Its Impact"
CURRENT STATUS: Due to widespread opposition the author has decided not to press forward with this bill. It was introduced and sent to the Rules Committee but has not been assigned to a committee or given a hearing date. While the author promised to withdraw the bill it has been carried forward into 2012. We will continue to monitor it until the two-year legislative session ends.
Action Alerts - LOCAL