Legislative news found here has been obtained from various sources. The MPCA does not guarantee the accuracy of the information.

MPCA Legislation Chairperson

Linda Witouski – dropfred13@aol.com


APHIS proposes to revise the definition of “retail pet store” to bring more pet animals sold at retail under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licensing and regulations. APHIS will narrow the definition of retail pet store so that it means a place of business or residence that each buyer physically enters in order to personally observe the animals available for sale prior to purchase and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase. Under the proposed rule, no dog or other pet animal will be sold at retail without either public or APHIS oversight.

Anyone who sells the following animals to the public for use as pets: Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds, and cold-blooded species.”

APHIS plans to license and regulate these retail sellers unless they can meet the exemption requirements in the revised definition of retail pet store. A breeder may gain an exemption by selling only to buyers who physically enter the premises to observe the animals available for sale prior to purchasing them. A breeder can be exempt from regulation if income from sales (for listed species) is less than $500 a year; this does not include wild or exotic animals, dogs, or cats. Finally, a breeder may be exempt if he/she maintains a total of four (4) or fewer breeding female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals, such as hedgehogs, degus, spiny mice, prairie dogs, flying squirrels, and jerboas,and who sells only the offspring of these dogs, cats, or small exotic or wild mammals, which were born and raised on his/her premises and sold for pets.

Docket No. 2011-003
APHIS FACTSHEET. Questions and Answers on Proposed Rule – Retail Pet Sales
Title 9 Integrated with proposed rule

It is IMPERATIVE that dog, cat, and small animal breeders submit comments on this over zealous proposed rule. Hobbies and livelihoods are at stake. APHIS needs to hear from breeders and rescuers how this impacts your hobby. APHIS needs to hear how this proposed change impacts breeding programs if you cannot ship dogs/puppies/cats between friends and fellow breeders.

POST A COMMENT ONLINE via Federal eRulemaking Portal. GO TO THE PORTAL.
Via postal mail to:
Docket No. APHIS–2011–0003
Regulatory Analysis and Development
PPD, APHIS, Station 3A–03.8
4700 River Road, Unit 118
Riverdale, MD 20737–1238

This is a proposed rule by an agency, not a law Congress will vote on. However the impact on the retail sector, economy, and the agency’s budget is enormous and has far reaching affects. This proposed rule over-regulates responsible home breeders and small private entities, threatening to drive them out of existence. If enforced to its full extent, rescue organizations and their efforts will also be severely weakened.

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Basically the new rules present breeders with few choices. Sell all animals only to buyers who physically enter your premises, reduce and maintain the number of breeding females to four (4) including co-ownerships and dogs shared with family members; or obtain a license under the Animal Welfare Act, have a federally compliant facility, and allow APHIS inspectors to inspect your homes and facilities.

Selling even one pet off premise via shipping, at a friend’s home, at a show, at a park, will result in loss of an exemption from licensing, placing limitations on both buyers and sellers. The narrow limits of the exemption restrict the ability of hobby breeders to work together remotely, sharing dogs from litters in order to implement their breeding programs and/or increase diversity in their lines.

This Rule would have dire consequences on the ability of rare or uncommon breed breeders to sell their puppies. Generally, if a purchaser desires a puppy of a more unusual breed, they probably will not find one within easy driving distance, and the puppy must be either shipped commercially or otherwise transported, or the breeder will meet the buyer half way. If each purchaser is required to visit the breeder to observe the animals or pick up his/her purchases, the number of buyers who are able to do this in the case of the more uncommon breeds is very low. Without a ready market to sell pups, these breeds will quickly die out.

In the case of rare or uncommon breeds, this Rule would make it difficult to maintain genetic diversity, since a breeder could not ship a puppy cross country to another breeder for the purposes of improving the genetic diversity in that person’s breeding program.

Breeders will no longer be able to assist rescue by fostering and/or selling dogs unless they are willing to lose their exemption from licensing. This will have a severe impact on purebred rescue.

Rescue organizations have long enjoyed the same retail pet store exemption that excluded breeders from federal licensing requirements. It has been the practice of USDA/APHIS to interpret that regulation falls within the commercial/wholesale sector. The Rule removes that previous commercial/retail dividing line for pet sellers and proposes only a very narrow exemption for retail pet sellers.

It has become common practice today for rescue organizations to utilize the Internet to locate buyers, along with transporting dogs from high volume shelters to areas with shortages. The new Rule being proposed will apply to all retail sellers of dogs, cats, and small animals without special exemption for rescue. Rescue organizations would therefore be at risk of losing their current retail exemption for multiple reasons: (1) transporting dogs or other animals for sale to buyers who did not physically visit their primary location; (2) selling rescued animals, which are not born/raised on premise thus failing to meet exemption criteria; (3) selling animals off premise, i.e. adoption days, thereby failing again to meet the exemption criteria that buyers must physically enter business or residence. The proposed rule could end most rescue organization efforts.

The FY 2012 federal Budget contained appropriation for APHIS programs of $837 million, which was 8.3% or $76 million lower than the amount appropriated for APHIS in FY 2011. For the past several years, APHIS’ budget has been shrinking; since 2010 the budget has decreased by approximately $87 million, or roughly 10 percent. In a recent February meeting, APHIS administrators discussed agency changes in response to reduced funding and how the agency plans to preserve core functions while challenged by annually decreasing budgets.

Budget cuts are likely to continue into the foreseeable future. The President’s 2013 budget request submitted in February to Congress calls for a decrease in APHIS’ funding by an additional $54 million, or 6.6 percent.

The massive expansion of regulatory responsibilities into the private sector outlined in the proposed rule is not only impractical but unaffordable within an agency that is currently addressing serious budget challenges.

Information Regarding proposed APHIS Rule from the MPCA Legislation Chair



Sign AKC’s Petition to Protect Responsible Small Breeders by July 15th

Act Now! Sign AKC’s Petition to Protect Responsible Small Breeders by July 15th

Join us in supporting responsible breeders and giving the American public access to acquiring happy, healthy puppies. The American Kennel Club has created the Join With the AKC to Protect Responsible Small Breeders petition in response to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) new proposed regulations which would create harsh and unintended consequences for responsible small and hobby breeders in this country.

Under the proposed regulations, breeders or others who sell a puppy sight unseen, by any means including online, by mail or by telephone, would now be regulated in accordance with USDA standards, if you own more than four “breeding females” of any of the listed species, including dogs and cats. The effect of these proposed regulations would be to take away the public’s opportunity to obtain puppies from those breeders, who in many cases have dedicated their lives to breeding for health, breed type and temperament.

Please join us by signing the Join With the AKC to Protect Responsible Small Breeders petition before July 16 when the public comment period to the Animal Care Division of the USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service ends. The petition, along with AKC’s comments on the proposed rule change, will be sent to the USDA.

Visit www.akc.org/petition and click “Sign Here Now!” follow instructions to submit your comment.



Legislation Reports

Monthly legislation reports are provided by Linda D. Witouski (dropfred13@aol.com) & Ken Sondej (4winds@viawest.net) . These reports list dog legislation by state. To view the current monthly report, please visit their website at http://mnlreport.typepad.com/ .

The Report will begin sending out timely updates on legislation, meetings, urgent news & alerts with the December report. The summary of the month compilation and events will still be published, in full, at month end, for those who choose to print the Report for distribution to club members or organizations. Time sensitive issues & alerts will be sent out throughout the month. The Report is available to you, including the archives, at any time, by simply going to the web address.

Please take time and subscribe to receive automatic updates using your email address. By subscribing, you will also, automatically, receive the full report summary when it is published at the end of the month.

They would appreciate circulating the Report address and encourage you to share it with the members of your clubs, organizations and friends that concern themselves with any type of animals and their right to continue to have them.

As always, you can contact either Linda or Ken with questions or information.

Legislation Sources:

Legislation Related Articles

AKC Launches New Canine Legislation Tracking System

[May 7, 2009]

The AKC is pleased to announce the launch of the new AKC Government Relations Legislation Tracking Service. This new service enables you to check the status of all 2009 canine legislation in each of the 50 states, as well as federal legislation.

To use this service, go to the AKC Government Relations web page, www.akc.org/canine_legislation and click on the large “AKC Government Relations 2009 Legislation Tracking” icon. This will bring you to a new page with a clickable map of the United States. To view federal legislation, click on the “US Fed” icon to the right of the map. You can also click on any state to view that state’s pending canine legislation, the latest legislative developments, the progress of specific bills, and, if applicable, AKC legislative alerts and messages. In addition, you can view the actual text of the bill or read a brief official legislative summary.

The AKC does not have a position on every bill posted; rather, this service is meant as a reference tool for you to see all the issues being considered in your state.

We hope you will enjoy using this new service of the AKC Government Relations Department.

Any questions or comments regarding this new service should be directed to the AKC Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

Some Basic Facts and FYI For You Regarding Noise Ordinances

It is imperative that YOU know the laws in your city, town, county, township BEFORE anything happens. With the current status of dog legislation running amok across the country, forewarned is forearmed.

Attorneys will usually recommend the following first: ( to he/she who is complaining about the barking)

If the situation doesn’t improve after your efforts to work something out, it’s time to check your local laws and see what your legal options are. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be better prepared to approach your neighbor again or go to animal control authorities, the police, or a small claims court judge.

Proceeding from there, just FYI:

In some places, barking dogs are covered by a specific state or local ordinance. For example, Massachusetts law allows neighbors to make a formal complaint to the town’s board of selectmen (city council) about a dog that is a nuisance because of “excessive barking.” The board holds a hearing and makes whatever order is necessary to stop the nuisance – including, in some cases, ordering the owner to get rid of the dog.

Similarly, state law in Oregon declares any dog that disturbs someone with “frequent or prolonged noises” is a public nuisance. The county investigates complaints.

Keeping a dog whose barking is a nuisance may even be a minor criminal offense. A woman in Connecticut, for example, was convicted of violating a local law that prohibited keeping a dog that was an “annoyance to any sick person residing in the immediate vicinity.” The neighbor who complained suffered from migraine headaches. The penalty for a first offense was a fine of up to $100, up to 30 days in jail or both.

If there’s no law aimed specifically at dogs, a general nuisance or noise ordinance will make the owner responsible. Local law may forbid loud noise after 10 p.m., for example, or prohibit any “unreasonable” noise. And someone who allows a dog to bark, after numerous warnings from police, may be arrested for disturbing the peace.

A Tennessee judge imposed a fine of $6,200 on a man whose dogs – up to 19 of them, at times – disturbed his neighbors. The steep fine came after the dog owner said, in court, that he didn’t care what the neighbors said. One of those cases where you open mouth and insert citation.

To find out what the law is where you live, go online or to a law library and check the state statutes and city or county ordinances yourself. Look up “noise,” “dogs,” “animals” or “nuisance.” You can probably also find out about local laws by calling the local animal control agency or city attorney.

Just some FYI for you all. It’s getting pretty rough out here !!!

Linda Witouski