AKC FILES ‘FRIEND OF THE COURT’ BRIEF APPEAL OF DDAL LAWSUIT SET FOR NOVEMBER
By: Patti Strand Date: 01/8/2012 Category: | Animal Legislation | Canine Issues |
On July 30, 2001, a US federal court determined that the federal government has oversight of fanciers who breed dogs and cats in their own homes and that the US Department of Agriculture should treat home breeders as pet dealers. The USDA appeal of that decision will be heard on November 4.
The court decision came in a lawsuit filed by the Doris Day Animal League, an anti-breeding animal rights organization. DDAL petitioned USDA to make the changes in 1998, but the agency declined to do so after two comment periods and tens of thousands of written opinions by animal rights activists, pet owners, breeders, exhibitors, and others with an interest in dog and cat breeding.
The American Kennel Club received permission to file an amicus curiae brief in the case and did so on July 31 this year. The points made by AKC are:
- Such a change would bring a dramatic increase in the number of licenses and a constant shift in individual licensees as many breeders do not breed every year.
- The need to inspect private homes would change the USDA focus from the commercial facilities that pose the greatest risk to residential sellers of dogs that are already subject to a high degree of oversight by buyers, AKC, and local and state authorities.
- Most complaints about deplorable conditions are already violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act.
- It is an unwarranted invasion of privacy to go into breeders’ homes. The care standards established for wholesale dealers of dogs under the AWA are not appropriate for residences. These standards address care for high numbers of dogs; include specifications and procedures for large-scale facilities; and require materials and procedures that are difficult, unnecessary, and virtually impossible for small breeders to follow.
- The changes mandated by the DDAL lawsuit will in fact hurt consumers by driving small breeders out of the hobby and forcing consumers to turn to dealers who are interested solely in profit. The changes will thereby encourage the puppy mills and scurrilous breeders the AWA was designed to prevent and thus undermine the basic purpose of the Act.
- The entire 30-year legislative history of AWA supports including residential sellers of dogs under the “retail pet store” exclusion.
The regulations that enforce the AWA require licensing and inspection of pet dealers who supply puppies and kittens to retail outlets. These facilities are not generally available for on-site visits by pet buyers, so USDA inspectors are charged with the responsibility to assure that these businesses meet health and safety standards. Included are those who own more than three intact females and net more than $500 per year in pet sales. Exempted are retail outlets, including home breeders and fanciers who sell directly to the consumer who enters the store, home, or kennel and can see conditions for themselves.
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All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |