By: Patti Strand  Date: 01/8/2012 Category: | Canine Issues |

The US Court of Appeals agreed with the US Department of Agriculture that hobby breeders should not be federally licensed and inspected and overturned a lower court decision in an animal rights lawsuit in a decision filed on January 14, 2003.

NAIA congratulates AKC for its success on behalf of the dog fancy in opposing the lawsuit and working with USDA to find and deal with substandard kennels that have avoided compliance with the AWA. As a result of its standing as the leading registry for purebred dogs, AKC was granted permission to file a friend of the court brief to support the USDA appeal.

The court decision noted that USDA had acted within its authority to write regulations that provide the most efficient use of resources to implement the Animal Welfare Act and that federal oversight of home breeders could result in government intrusion on private property.

The suit was filed by the Doris Day Animal League after USDA declined to make regulatory changes that would bring all dog breeders under federal oversight.

The original court decision determined that Congress did not intend to exempt breeders who produce and sell puppies from their homes, but the appeals court said that Congress did not address the situation one way or another but instead entrusted the Secretary of Agriculture with the job of writing regulations to implement the AWA.

The court further found that the Secretary was within his authority to depend on existing oversight of home breeders by the public, by breeder organizations and through state and local laws. The decision noted this argument made by USDA:

“Second, we have determined that retail dealers, especially those who sell from their homes, are already subject to a degree of self-regulation and oversight by persons who purchase animals from the retailers’ homes, as well as by breed and registry organizations. Breed and registry organizations, such as kennel clubs, require their registrants to meet certain guidelines related to the health and genetic makeup of animals bred and to the education of the registrants. These organizations also monitor the conditions under which animals are bred and raised. Wholesale dealers typically do not have this type of oversight from the public.”

The opinion concluded as follows:

“While plaintiffs are unhappy about the degree of self-regulation and the amount of oversight from local humane societies, kennel clubs, and state agencies, the Secretary, applying his expertise, was entitled to rely on these factors in making his judgment about the need for federal regulation. And he was entitled also to differentiate retail sales from wholesale sales of dogs on the basis that “wholesale dealers typically do not have this type of oversight from the public.”

“The Secretary also declined to amend the definition on the ground that the best interest of animal welfare is supported by allowing the Department to ‘concentrate [its] resources on those facilities that present the greatest risk of noncompliance with the regulations.’ The Department has decided to focus on wholesale dealers, where its resources are likely to yield the greatest benefit. This is a reasonable choice, keeping in mind the purpose of the Act to promote animal welfare. It was also within the authority delegated to him by Congress for the Secretary to decline to amend the definition in light of the potential invasions of privacy that would result if federal inspectors began enforcing ‘cleaning, sanitation, handling, and other regulatory requirements in private homes.’”

This article appeared in NAIA News, Winter 2002-2003 issue.

About The Author

Patti Strand's photo
Patti Strand - NAIA President

Patti is a recognized expert and consultant on contemporary animal issues, most notably responsible dog ownership and the animal rights movement. She often appears on radio and television and her articles on canine issues, animal welfare, public policy and animal rights have appeared in major US news publications and in trade, professional and scientific journals. Patti and her…

All Authors Of This Article: | Patti Strand |
Like this article?
Don’t forget to share, like or follow us



blog comments powered by Disqus