Federal "PUPS" legislation (S 395/HR 847), sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Jim Gerlach reintroduced
March 1, 2013
Federal "PUPS" legislation (S 395/HR 847), sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Rep. Jim Gerlach has been reintroduced in the U.S. Congress and assigned to the House and Senate Agriculture committees. The bill is substantially the same as previous versions introduced in 2011 and 2010, which never received committee hearings.
The AKC continues to express grave concerns about this measure. The AKC believes that all dog breeding programs should be undertaken responsibly and does not oppose the concept of regulating high volume breeder-retailers. However, as currently written, the definitions proposed in this bill are misleading, overly broad, and potentially damaging to small responsible breeders who individually maintain and breed only a few dogs in their homes.
Although the stated purpose of PUPS is to regulate internet sales of puppies, S 395/HR 847 as currently written would require anyone who owns or co-owns even a few female dogs that collectively produce 50 or more puppies offered for sale in a year to be regulated under existing USDA dog "dealer" regulations. These regulations are designed for high-volume commercial kennels that produce puppies for wholesale or research, and require a USDA commercial license, maintenance of specified commercial kennel engineering standards and regular inspections. These requirements are not appropriate for small breeders who may keep only a few dogs in their homes.
AKC's specific concerns with PUPS include the following:
- Defines "high volume retail breeder"as someone with "an ownership interest in or custody of one or more breeding female dogs”. This definition is overly broad and does not take into account co- and joint ownerships common among dog owners, dog show participants, hunting club members, sporting dog trainers and other hobbyists. This would hurt many small hobby breeders who keep or breed only a few dogs in their homes by subjecting them to commercial standards of regulation as a result of agreements they maintain with other small breeders.
- Defines "high volume retail breeder"as someone with "an ownership interest in or custody of one or more breeding female dogs”. Because the threshold for regulation is based on the number of dogs bred and sold, any reference to the number of dogs owned or in custody is unnecessary and potentially misleading.
- Defines "breeding female" as an intact female dog aged 4 months or older. This is misleading and implies that a female dog may be bred at 4 months. Female dogs are not sufficiently mature at 4 months of age to be bred and should not be deemed "breeding females".
- Exercise language should be clarified with respect to the terms "solitary and goal oriented"to ensure that the daily exercise requirements do not preclude training that involves other types of wholesome activity that could fall under this definition (e.g., playing fetch, field training for hunting dogs, or the responsible use of treadmills for keeping canine athletes in top physical condition).
- PUPS would exponentially expand the pool of breeders regulated and inspected by the Animal Care Division of the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS). However, a May 2010 audit of this program by the USDA’s own Inspector General demonstrated that the existing inspections program is insufficient to carry out current responsibilities. AKC believes these issues and full funding for the current program and enforcement of current laws should be addressed before attempting to exponentially expand the program’s responsibilities and workload.
AKC encourages you to respectfully share these reasonable concerns about the potential damaging consequences of this bill with your member of Congress.
AKC and AKC's federal representatives will continue to closely monitor and keep you up to date on this measure.
Click here for more info:
The USDA Proposed Rule and You
By: Patti Strand
The US Department of Agriculture has recently published a proposed rule that would expand USDA licensing requirements to dog breeders who were formerly exempt from licensing. Without changes, this new classification would impact many of our members. It is very important that concerned parties comment on the proposal. Please scroll to the bottom to find the proposal and the address for making comments. NAIA is working on our comment letter now and will send it to you along with our recommendations for action as soon as we have fully analyzed the proposal and have considered the best way to respond. Meanwhile, if you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at NAIA@naiaonline.org, or by phone at (503) 227-8450.
When USDA dog licensing regulations were first drafted 40 years ago, most commercial dog breeders sold their dogs through middlemen who distributed them to pet stores where they were ultimately sold to the pet-buying public. The licensing was designed to provide oversight and protection to dogs bred in large commercial kennels operating away from the consumer's view.
Over the last 20 years, though, the Internet has significantly changed the way dogs are sold, rendering those regulations inadequate. By using the Internet, large breeding kennels are able to connect and conduct business directly with consumers, so they are not required to be licensed. Today, many of these kennels operate without oversight and some have developed severe animal welfare problems. Many of the bad breeding operations we see on the nightly news fall into this unregulated category. USDA's proposed rule is aimed at correcting this shortcoming by bringing under licensure those breeders who have more than 4 breeding bitches and sell dogs to consumers at retail, "sight unseen." The proposal exempts all breeders from regulation who keep 4 or fewer "breeding bitches" and it would exempt breeders who sell their pets directly to consumers from their property if they sell only those pets they breed and raise on their own premises.
While this rule would achieve the USDA's goal of capturing virtually all of the large scale commercial breeders selling pets to consumers "sight unseen," the proposal, together with pre-existing regulations, would also capture many breed enthusiasts for whom the commercial standards and operating practices would be inappropriate and even harmful.
Although breed enthusiasts sell the overwhelming majority of their puppies directly to puppy buyers from their residences, nearly all sell a puppy occasionally to someone who lives at a distance or cannot visit the kennel. They also make repeat sales to distant purchasers, people who visited their premises in the past but cannot or choose not to spend the extra time and money to make the trip again.
NAIA will be addressing several concerns in our comment letter. Here are a few that we will be focusing on:
- the definition of breeding bitch;
- how the regulations would treat shared ownership interests in breeding bitches between parties living on separate premises;
- how the consequences of these rules could prove fatal to the rarer breeds, where maintaining genetic diversity is so critically important;
- practices, which under the proposed rule would cause a breed enthusiast to lose their exemption; selling even one dog remotely, even to a repeat purchaser, even in a rare breed where consumers and breeders are separated by hundreds or thousands of miles; selling even one puppy taken in lieu of a stud fee or from a co-owned breeding bitch (selling puppies not bred or raised on seller's premises).
USDA is seeking your help in developing the best possible regulations. It is extremely important that you take the time to read the proposal carefully and comment on it. We have been through the comment process many times before with several agencies, including USDA. They have always treated our comments in a thoughtful manner with due consideration and have made changes based on our input. The comment period is open for 60 days, until July 16. This is an important process that everyone needs to be part of. Your input is vitally important and will make a difference!
Our alert was aimed primarily at purebred dog enthusiasts, but it is very important to note that this rule will affect breeders of many different species, including: Cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds, coldblooded species
Click to download opposed rule
Click here to read the factsheet
Make your comments to USDA here.
Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003
Regulatory Analysis and Development
PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8
4700 River Road, Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737-1238
Federal PUPS Legislation Information Update
January 3, 2012
The American Kennel Club and our Washington, D.C.-based advocacy team continue to closely monitor the federal Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) legislation introduced last spring as Senate Bill 707 and House Bill 835. Each of the bills has been assigned to the Agriculture Committees of their respective chambers. To date, no hearings have been scheduled and no formal action has been taken on this bill.
PUPS would purportedly require anyone who owns or co-owns dogs that produce 50 or more puppies offered for sale in a 12-month period to be regulated under existing USDA dog "dealer" regulations. These regulations are designed for high-volume commercial kennels that produce puppies for wholesale, and require a USDA commercial license, maintenance of specified commercial kennel engineering standards and regular inspections.
The AKC does not oppose the general concept of reasonable regulations for high volume breeder/retailers. However, the PUPS bill is misleading because such regulations would hurt responsible small breeders who raise only a few litters of puppies each year in their homes, while also reducing the availability of resources needed to enforce against abusive or negligent operations.
The AKC also has a number of serious concerns with the bill as introduced and does not support this measure. These concerns include:
- Definition of "breeding female" as an intact female dog aged 4 months or older. This definition is misleading because female dogs are not sufficiently mature at 4 months of age to be bred. Additionally, such a definition should not be necessary if a "high volume retail breeder" is to be based on sales, rather than the number of dogs owned.
- Definition of "high volume retail breeder" as someone with "an ownership interest in or custody of one or more breeding female dogs." This definition is overly broad and does not take into account the tradition of co- and joint ownerships common among dog show participants, sporting dog trainers, hunting club members, and other hobbyists. Additionally, a reference to the number of dogs owned by a breeder is unnecessary and potentially misleading in legislation that does not limit ownership rights per se.
- Current exercise language is overly vague and should be clarified to ensure that the daily exercise requirements do not preclude use of legitimate training or exercise equipment or other types of physical activity.
- This legislation calls for exponentially expanding the numbers of breeders regulated and inspected by the Animal Care division of the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS). However, a May 2010 audit of this program by the USDA's own Inspector General demonstrated that the existing inspections program is insufficient to carry out current responsibilities. The AKC believes these issues and full funding for the current program should be addressed before attempting to exponentially expand the program's responsibilities and workload.
Although PUPS is not actively being considered in Congress at this time, we encourage responsible dog owners and breeders to share their concerns about this measure with their federal representatives.
Click here for details http://www.akc.org/news/index.cfm?article_id=4543
New Rule Will Limit Importation of Puppies for Resale in the United States
September 2, 2011
Yesterday, the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) distributed proposed rules that provide guidance to federal agencies tasked with enforcing a 2008 law that amends the federal Animal Welfare Act. This measure limits the importation of dogs under the age of 6 months into the United States for the purpose of resale. The proposed rule is necessary to implement this law and further ensure the health and welfare of America's dogs. The AKC believes the proposed regulations, as written, are a reasonable interpretation of the statute.
As far back as 2007, the AKC Government Relations Department worked with members of Congress and federal agencies to ensure the reasonableness of parts of the federal agricultural authorization (the "farm bill ) that impact dogs. Since the bill became law in 2008 as the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act, the AKC has continued to work with APHIS to ensure that any proposed regulation that focuses on dogs ensures the health and safety of American dogs and the wellbeing of the dog-owning public.
Strong enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act as amended law is supported by the American Kennel Club and other animal welfare organizations, recognizing that a large number of puppies are being bred overseas and imported into the United States in order to bypass the welfare regulations and standards required of American breeders. In many cases, irresponsibly bred and undocumented foreign puppies end up at shelters, rescues or other informal or unregulated retail venues. Diseases borne by such animals can create public health issues for both animal and human populations.
WHAT THE PROPOSAL DOES:
The new regulations provide specific guidelines needed by US Customs to prevent the continued "dumping of unregulated foreign puppies for resale onto US markets. The underlying law (7 U.S.C. 2133) defines resale to include "any transfer of ownership or control of an imported dog of less than 6 months to another person, for more than de minimis consideration.
Specifically, the rules "prohibit the importation of dogs from any part of the world into the continental United States or Hawaii for purposes of resale, research or veterinary treatment, unless the dogs are in good health, have received all necessary vaccines and are at least 6 months of age".
Dogs intended for resale, research, or veterinary treatment may be allowed into the U.S. as long as they obtain an import permit from APHIS, import that dog within 30 days of the proposed import date stated on the permit, and abide by other requirements including:
- The dog is not younger than 6 months of age.
- Dogs imported into the United States for resale, research, or veterinary treatment must be accompanied by an import permit issued by APHIS. This would help ensure that the requirements for importing dogs are understood and met by the importer.
- Detailed health and rabies vaccination certificates are provided for each dog imported into the United States. The certificates must be in English and signed by a licensed veterinarian. The veterinarian must provide his license number on the certificate. By providing proof of having received vaccinations necessary to protect against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, parainfluenza-DHLPP-and rabies, personnel at a port of entry will be able to best determine that each dog is in good health for importation.
- Improved identification and tracking requirements. Under the regulation, importers and exporters are required to provide personal identification and contact information and detailed information for each dog imported. This will help APHIS to determine whether dogs are eligible for importation, to identify dogs at a port of entry, and to contact appropriate parties if any questions arise concerning the importation.
The proposed rule also provides sanctions for those who attempt to import dogs without complying. In addition to penalties already available under the Animal Welfare Act, non-complying importers will be required to provide for the cost of care (including appropriate veterinary care), forfeiture, and adoption of the dog, at his or her expense. This will help ensure the welfare of dogs imported into the U.S., serve as a punishment for violators, and provide a deterrent against potential non-compliance.
The import permit does not guarantee entry into the US, and any dog may be refused entry for non-compliance with requirements.
WHAT THE PROPOSAL DOES NOT DO:
These proposed rules do not prohibit individuals from bringing foreign dogs into the United States for their own use or breeding programs, nor target certain breeders for undue hardship.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Comments on the proposed rules will be accepted until October 31, 2011. If you would like to comment, please go to
http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2009-0053-0001 and click "Submit a Comment.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Gerald Rushin, Veterinary Medical Officer
Animal Care, APHIS
4700 River Road Unit 84
Riverdale, MD 20737-1231
Phone (301) 734-0954
Click here for details http://www.akc.org/news/index.cfm?article_id=4474
Federal PUPS Legislation Information Update
July 22, 2010
The American Kennel Club and our Washington, D.C.-based advocacy team continue to closely monitor S. 3424/H.R. 5434, the federal Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act. There has been no official action on the bill since its introduction in late May.
As previously reported, the 2010 PUPS bill seeks to expand federal regulation of dog breeders who breed and sell more than 50 puppies a year directly to consumers. This version is a significant improvement over previous versions, which focused on the number of dogs owned, regardless of what was bred or sold. This version would require the new category of breeders to abide by basic minimum standards of care and conditions and to abide by new performance-based exercise requirements.
However, the AKC also has a number of serious concerns with the bill as introduced. Some of these concerns include:
- Definition of "breeding female" as an intact female dog aged 4 months or older. Female dogs are not sufficiently mature at 4 months of age to be bred.
- Definition of "high volume retail breeder" that is overly broad and does not take into account co- and joint ownerships. Additionally, a reference in this definition to the number of dogs owned by a breeder is unnecessary and potentially misleading.
- Exercise language should be clarified to ensure that the daily exercise requirements do not preclude training that involves other types of activity as well.
We will continue to monitor this legislation vigilantly and to outline our concerns regarding PUPS legislation to appropriate members of Congress and staff. Given the issues that AKC and other responsible dog owner groups have raised, and that Congress will be in session for fewer than six weeks prior to the November elections, it is not likely that there will be action on PUPS in the near term.
AKC will continue its education campaign with legislators and we will keep you up to date on any new developments.
Click here for details http://www.akc.org/news/index.cfm?article_id=4163
Grants for States that pass Devocalization Legislation!
May 27, 2010
U.S. Representative "Dutch" Ruppersberger (D-MD) has introduced HR5422, A Bill to Authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to make grants for the prevention of Cruelty To Animals, which will authorize the Secretary of Agriculture to make grants up to $1,000,000 to states that have enacted laws prohibiting the performance of devocalization procedures on dogs and cats for purposes of convenience.
Federal PUPS legislation introduced
May 27, 2010
U.S. Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) introduced US Senate bill S. 3424 late Tuesday evening. The bill is designed to close the "internet loophole" in the Animal Welfare Act which allows breeders who sell numerous puppies over the internet or directly to the public to avoid the USDA regulation required of other breeder-retailers.
The measure, called the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act (PUPS) is a complete revision of previous measures by the same name. This bill would require individuals who breed and sell more than 50 puppies a year over the internet or directly to the public to be regulated by the USDA.
The bill amends the Animal Welfare Act in the following specific way:
1. Defines anyone who breeds and sells more than 50 puppies a year as a High Volume Breeder Retailer. High Volume Breeder Retailers would be required to abide by current USDA dog dealer regulations. These regulations require kennels to: Obtain a USDA license; Meet federal minimum standards of care; Be inspected (generally not less than once every two years) by the USDA.
2. Requires new exercise standards that allow a dog daily access to exercise that enables it to move sufficiently to maintain normal muscle tone and mass, the ability to achieve a running stride, and is not a forced activity.
The area for exercise should have flooring that allows for this type of exercise.
- It should be constructed of solid flooring or non-solid, non-wire flooring that is safe and appropriate for the breed, size and age of the dog, is free from sharp edges, and is designed so that the paw cannot extend throughout and become caught in the flooring.
- The flooring must be cleaned at least once daily, be free of infestation and designed to prevent escape.
- The bill provides an exemption from exercise for dogs that should not exercise for reasons of health/condition/well-being as certified by a licensed veterinarian.
This measure does not limit the number of dogs a person/kennel may own or define commercial breeders based on the number of dogs they own.
The measure would go into effect one year after the date of the enactment of this bill.
For a fact sheet on USDA Animal Care compliance inspections, click here http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_welfare/content/printable_version/fs_awinspect.pdf
For a copy of USDA/APHIS animal care inspections checklists, click here - http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/Inspection_Requirements_Attachments.PDF
The AKC is currently studying the impact of this measure.
Government Relations Department
American Kennel Club