Monday, May 9, 2011

TX: Stop HB 1451 In the Senate!

HB 1451 passed the House on 4/27/11 and has been assigned to the Senate
Committee on Criminal Justice chaired by Sen. John Whitmire (D-15). It is
anticipated that Whitmire will be the bill's advocate in the Senate.

HB 1451 requires licensure and inspection of kennels for simply owning more than 10 intact female dogs even if breeding is occasional. The bill classifies these
owners as commercial if even a single litter a year is bred to be used as
hunting, working, security, herding and livestock guardian dogs, service dogs,
or family pets.
Sara Chisnell-Voigt, Legal Counsel United Kennel Club, writes, "UKC believes
that the health and well-being of dogs are of the utmost importance, and are
significant concerns. However, this bill will do more harm to the responsible
breeders than they will to protect the welfare of dogs. Defining a commercial
kennel by 11 or more intact adult female dogs is an unacceptable threshold."

Bill author, Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) and supporting animal rights
groups continually mislead the media claiming the bill is only designed to
ensure that breeders meet health and safety standards and that animals have food
and clean water. However, the Federal engineering standards required by HB 1451
are not compatible with home-based breeding programs. Compliance with Federal regulations would require small and mid-size sporting dog and hobby breeders to construct temperature, humidity, and diurnal lighting controlled kennel buildings costing tens of thousands of dollars. Labeling and registering
breeders as commercial businesses simply because of the number of intact dogs
owned will end many hunting and hobby kennels throughout the state.

Mary Beth Duerler, RPOA Texas Outreach and Responsible Pet Owners Alliance,
explained, "HB 1451 is not written to regulate dog and cat breeders in Texas. It
is written to eliminate them
. The Standards for Care; Confinement and
Transportation adopted must meet federal USDA regulations at a minimum. Bill
sponsors and proponents know they cannot be met in a home environment."

Following the House vote to pass HB 1451, Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) posted
the following commentary on his blog, "It establishes a new licensing and
regulatory bureaucracy for breeders. I spoke and voted against the bill because
it increased state government by $2.6 million for the biennium and increased
state bureaucrats by 14. Moreover, I believe it will be ineffective. I doubt
that criminal and cruel breeders, who are already operating outside the law,
will submit themselves to be licensed and regulated and pay a $1300-$4300 fee
per year. It will certainly hinder responsible breeders though and probably
cause some to go out of business. The bill also violates the 4th Amendment by
authorizing inspectors to come unannounced and without the owner or licensee
onto a breeder's property and even into a breeder's home to access animals or
documents without a warrant."

HB 1451 is supported by a number of animal rights organizations, including Texas
Humane Legislation Network (THLN), HSUS, ALDF, and ASPCA. These groups
highlight kennels where hundreds of dogs are kept in poor conditions and, in
true activist style, vilify dog breeders across the board to promote the need
for restrictive legislation.

Texans pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the State's economy every year
hunting, exhibiting, training, and breeding dogs. Their dogs could not hunt,
track, herd, search, or compete in shows and trials if they were not well taken
care of.


Call, fax, and email your Senator and the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice
and request they oppose HB 1451.

Committee Contacts:

Sen. John Whitmire (D-15)
(512) 463-0115 / Fax: (512) 475-3737

Sen. Joan Huffman (R-17)
(512) 463-0117 / Fax: (512) 463-0639


Sen. John Carona (R-16)
(512) 463-0116 / Fax: (512) 463-3135

Sen. Rodney Ellis (D-13)
(512) 463-0113 / Fax: (512) 463-0006

Sen. Glenn Hegar (R-18)
(512) 463-0118 / Fax: (512) 475-3736

Sen. Juan Hinojosa (D-20)
(512) 463-0120 / Fax: (512) 463-0229

Sen. Dan Patrick (R-7)
(512) 463-0107 / Fax: (512) 463-8810

HB 1451 is opposed by: American Dog Breeders Association; American Kennel Club;
Animal Owners Association of Texas; Endangered Breeds Association; National
Animal Interest Alliance
; RPOA Texas Outreach and Responsible Pet Owners
; Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance; United Kennel Club;
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance; and many more local and national organizations.

Additional information can be found at the SAOVA website:

http:// at U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance: Wolf
Sportsmen's & Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Issue lobbying and working to identify and elect supportive legislators
Visit SAOVA News

Thursday, May 5, 2011

MA: May 11 will be a big day for dog legislation in Massachusetts

May 11 is a big day in MA
The Massachusetts Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government will consider a series of dog bills at its hearing on May 11, 2011. Responsible dog owners in Massachusetts are encouraged to attend the hearing or contact the committee with comments on any of the bills on the agenda.

View the names and contact information for the committee here.
If you are interested in attending the hearing on May 11, contact the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (MassFed) at


Over 10 bills are scheduled to be considered by the joint committee, including

House Bill 562 – The AKC and MassFed both support this bill, which strengthens the Commonwealth’s dangerous dog laws by creating a number of provisions, including:

· Allowing dogs declared “at risk” to have the designation removed if the dog does not exhibit the behavior again within two years.

· Preventing municipalities from establishing breed-specific at-risk or dangerous dog policies

House Bill 1455 – The AKC and MassFed both oppose this bill, which makes numerous changes to the animal control laws, including:

· Requiring an intact animal permit for all owners of intact dogs (current law already requires a special license for unspayed females). The AKC opposes all differential licensing for owners of intact dogs.

· Allowing municipalities to ban or regulate specific breeds. Once approved, the local government must develop a 3-person board “to identify and determine the breed of dogs”. This board would include two members of the public (one who must be an “expert in the field of animals”) and the local animal control officer.

· Providing a list of recommended penalties for nuisance violations, including sterilization or euthanasia

Other bills to be considered by the committee include:

Senate Bill 1033 – This bill makes numerous changes to the animal control and licensing laws, including differentiating between commercial breeder kennels, personal kennels and commercial boarding/training kennels.

House Bill 1437 – This legislation mandates the sterilization of all cats, unless the owner possesses an intact animal permit. As currently written, cats would be the only animals subject to this license.

House Bill 2326 –Among other provisions, this bill expands the crime of animal cruelty to include “knowingly and unjustifiably” failing to provide veterinary care “that results in unnecessary suffering.” It is unclear how these terms would be defined.

House Bill 2885 – Current law requires all cities and towns to appoint an animal control officer or contract with a charitable organization to perform these duties. HB 2885, among other provisions, would impose a $500/day fine on cities that are not in compliance with this mandate.

House Bill 2886 – This bill would prohibit the sale of a dog or cat that is under 8 weeks of age.

For more information on these and other bills on the agenda, visit the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners website at or contact the AKC Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720 or

TX: HB 1451 calll 11 female dogs a "commercial Kennel"

HB 1451 is gets through the House of Representatives with little opportunity for public input. House Bill 1451 does the following:

SYNOPSISHSUS Funded Representative Senfronia Thompson (D, 141) filed HB 1451 a bill to regulate Texas dog and cat breeders. HB 1451 is supported by a coalition of animal rights groups including HSUS, PETA, ASPCA, and Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN). Commercial breeder is defined as a person who possesses 11 or more intact female dogs or cats over 6 months of age. Criminal background checks for both kennel owners and staff would be required for kennel license approval. A kennel license can be denied, suspended, or revoked for any infraction of the regulations or record-keeping rules or failure to complete a corrective action in the time allotted in an inspection report. Breeding females must have adequate rest between breeding cycles and a yearly veterinary exam. HB 1451 is only an outline of intended future regulations. The Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation would be required to adopt the rules, standards, procedures, and fees necessary to implement the Act by March 31, 2012. Future rules and regulations established must meet or exceed current federal regulations for the handling, care, treatment, and transportation of dogs and cats.

•Classifies sporting dog kennels or hobby breeders who have 11 female dogs that have not been spayed to be classified the same as a huge commercial dealer if they sell just two dogs.
•Charges kennel license fees likely to be at least $1,300 per kennel even for hobby breeders who hardly ever sell dogs.
•Creates an unelected commission to create kennel construction requirements, record keeping requirements and other expensive red tape that hobby breeders cannot afford because their primary purpose is not to sell dogs.
•Allows for unannounced inspections of kennels and the homes of their owners if they keep their kennel records on a computer inside their house.
•Allows for the inspection of records within a home without any suspicion of wrong doing or even a search warrant.
•Threatens to drive sporting dog kennels and hobby breeders out of business because they do not have the commercial revenue to offset high fees, and expensive regulations.
•Discloses personal information about dog breeders to the public by creating a public directory containing information on all registered breeders

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dogs quarantined; many die

Dogs quarantined; many die
By Larry Clifton

An offer to provide refuge for 222 puppies and dogs from Puerto Rico for four days in their air-conditioned warehouse in Bushnell has cost Ronnie and Linda Graves, founders of Sumter Disaster Animal Response Team (DART) between $50,000 and $75,000 and taxed the stamina of a group of dedicated DART volunteers.

The animals were supposed to be disease free, at least four months old and 10 pounds or less in weight, according to Ronnie Graves, but that was found not to be the case upon their arrival.

A report by Brenda Eggert Brader, spokeswoman for the Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA), states that the dogs ranged in age from 4 weeks to greater than 1 year when they arrived.

Since Aug. 30, Sumter DART volunteers in Bushnell, a handful of Florida veterinarians and University of Florida veterinarians have battled to contain an explosive epidemic of distemper and parvovirus that, as of Sept.22, claimed the lives of 107 of the dogs and puppies.

Allegedly the animals were vaccinated and wormed in Puerto Rico, however fecal exams showed that many dogs, particularly the youngest puppies, also carried coccidia, roundworm, and hookworm parasite infestations, according to the FVMA report.

Several calls made Tuesday to the Puerto Rico PAWS shelter were not returned by press time.

The puppies and dogs were en route to Yonkers, N.Y., to be distributed to various PetSmart stores for an “adopt-a-thon;” the trip included a scheduled two-day layover in Bushnell.

The Puerto Rico Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) shelter in Isabela, that shipped the dogs was one of 50 shelters across the U.S. competing in an ASCPA contest to win $100,000 and a second grant of $25,000 to be awarded to the shelter with largest adoption participation.

DART had agreed to transport and care for the animals for the hastily planned two-day layover in Bushnell. Hurricane Earl was set to come ashore in Puerto Rico a day after the animals were flown out on a cargo plane to Orlando where DART picked them up.

This is a situation where so many have stepped up to contribute so much to save the lives of the dogs that it is humbling to be a part of it all, said Connie Brooks, director of Sumter DART.

“As the puppies came off our truck, it became apparent that the minimum age requirement stipulated in the agreement had not been met,” said Brooks.

“Many of the puppies were just starting to open their eyes and were obviously only weeks old,” said Brooks.

The Puerto Rico PAWS animal shelter was reportedly “running in first place” to win the ASPCA cash award for a national adoption campaign sponsored by PetSmart when PAWS veterinarian Dr. Gwen Davis contacted DART to assist by sheltering and transporting the animals her organization had rounded up in Puerto Rico for the contest, according to Brooks.

But according to Graves, there was an agreement that all animals were free of infectious diseases, weighed no more than 10 pounds and were at least four months old.

Instead, the Puerto Rican PAWS facility shipped a mixture of animals that included larger dogs, puppies only a few weeks old and many that were infected by distemper and parparvovirus, said Graves.

The total estimated cost of medical care, medical testing and all other related expenses to various organizations right now is $185,000, he said.

Sumter DART called the state veterinarian association immediately after DART volunteers began unloading the puppies and an immediate quarantine was ordered, according to Graves.

DART volunteers have worked tirelessly during the crisis and Bushnell veterinarians Dr. Shannon Kennedy offered his services from day one and even helped clean their cages, said Brooks.

Dr. Cynda Crawford of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program and UF VETS became an on-site consultant during the state-ordered quarantine and stayed in Bushnell for a week to care for the animals, said Brooks.

According to a report by the Florida Veterinary Medical Association (FVMA), as of Sept. 22, 53 healthy dogs determined to be free of distemper or parvo were transported to the Florida SPCA in Orlando to be adopted and 20 had been adopted from that location.

Thirty-three of the youngest puppies testing positive for distemper but clinically well were transferred to six veterinarians across central Florida who graciously agreed to care for them under isolation conditions until they recover, according to the FVMA report.

Twenty-nine more dogs infected with distemper were accepted in isolation in Altamonte Springs, by Dr. Bruce Keene.

As of the FVMA report, 115 of the 222 dogs are still alive and have a chance at recovering and being adopted.

“I work with volunteers and I am a volunteer, but I haven’t seen so many step up for so long in quite a while,” said Brooks, as tears clouded her eyes. The people in this community have simply been wonderful, I can’t say enough about the support we have received from volunteers working twenty-hour days to the veterinarians, and everyone else.

For his part, Graves said even local restaurants contributed, adding, “Odd Couples on County Road 48 sent over about 50 fajita wraps and even made the volunteers a pineapple cake.”

Putting animals with highly contagious diseases together in cages is the easiest way to create a disease epidemic, according to Graves, who hopes that other rescue organizations can learn from the Puerto Rican dog quarantine.

What happened in Bushnell is a lot of wonderful volunteers and people came together and contributed their valuable time and resources to save the lives of a lot of animals as they were being decimated by two of the most deadly canine diseases, said Graves.

Sumter County Times article

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spread the word- If you support animals- don't support HSUS

The Truth About HSUS from Missourians for Animal Care Coalition
YouTube video

YouTube video 2
Can YOU imagine a life without a pet? The Humane Society of the United States is actively working on laws to make pet ownership a thing of the past. If you support animals, don't support HSUS. Don't be misled by HSUS- they are NOT for animals

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Breed wars: Imports
As states crack down on puppy mills, imports spike and so do health concerns
Mar 1, 2010
By: Rachael Whitcomb

NATIONAL REPORT At last count, in 2006, 287,000 dogs crossed the
United States' borders, and veterinary officials fear the problem is
getting worse.

Consumer demand for pure-bred and cross-bred puppies coupled with strict
new domestic breeding laws is believed to be driving importation numbers
even higher than four years ago. To exacerbate the problem, federal
regulators have no real way of tracking exactly how many dogs are
brought in the country, where they come from, where they are going and
whether importers are following up on vaccination requirements for
underage puppies.

"One thing that really concerns veterinarians is, underage puppies come
in and not only are they at greater risk of zoonotic diseases, but also
other canine diseases," says Nina Marano, DVM, of the Center for Disease
Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Global Migration and
Quarantine. "It is a concern. It's a consumer issue; it's a public
health issue; it's a veterinary issue. Really, it's a moral and ethical

CDC has a rough idea of how many puppies are crossing United States
borders, but only anecdotally, Marano says.

"The fact is that we have a very big country and many, many ports of
entry to monitor," she explains. "We've been looking at this closely
over the last five to six years and ... the takeaway message is that,
anecdotally, we do believe there has been an increase in imported animals."

No definitive data is available on the number of dogs and puppies
imported to the United States each year since no single agency is
required to keep track of those numbers. The United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) monitors only commercial breeders who sell animals
through pet stores, brokers and research facilities. The CDC monitors
rabies vaccinations in imported pets, but its regulations neither
require a health screen for dogs prior to arrival to the United States,
nor an evaluation for specific zoonoses of concern. Enforcement of
regulations are "problematic, because there is no federal requirement
mechanism, or capacity for documenting compliance," according to a 2008
article in the journal Zoonosis and Public Health by Marano and fellow
CDC veterinarian G. Gale Galland, DVM.

Plus, CDC can't man all the nation's ports of entry, leaving Customs and
Border Protection, whose officers have no veterinary training, as the
first line of defense to ensure all imported animals meet federal agency

CDC has taken "snapshots" of data to gauge dog import trends and found
that 287,000 dogs were imported in 2006. About a quarter of them were
too young to have rabies vaccinations. Their importers were required to
sign agreements stating the dogs would be confined until the vaccine was
administered, but enforcement is passed on to local animal-control
agencies once the dogs are in the country. And critics contend most
imported dogs are sold as soon as the dogs are brought home from the
airport, not after the agreement is fulfilled.

More than 5,100 confine agreements were signed between January 2006 and
September 2007 at just 15 of the 20 quarantine stations monitored by the
CDC, but about 4,000 of those agreements were violated in 2006 alone,
with the puppies being sold before the confinement period ended. There's
no telling if any had been vaccinated at all.

"Based on import trends suggesting that the annual number of
unvaccinated puppies being imported into the United States increased
substantially from 2001 to 2006, imported dogs pose a risk for
introducing zoonotic pathogens such as rabies into the United States,"
Galland and Marano wrote.

At John F. Kennedy International Airport, reports of unvaccinated dog
imports doubled from 2003 to 2006. Reports of unvaccinated dogs imported
into California increased by more than 500 percent from 2001 to 2006,
the article adds.

But dogs aren't the only imports on the rise. According to another
article co-authored by Galland that appeared in a May 2009 edition of
Veterinary Clinics of North America: Small Animal Practice, the volume
of live animal imports to the United States has roughly doubled since 1991.

"From 2003 through 2006, annual increases in wildlife trade ranged from
6 percent to 11 percent. From 2000 through 2004, approximately 588,000
animals were imported into the United States each day," the article
states, adding those are just the animals that border agents find.
"Interpol estimates that wildlife smuggling ranks third on the
contraband list of items of value, behind drugs and firearms."

Some blame falls on federal regulators, who lack the time and resources
to follow up on every animal import.

"In 2000, most imported dogs were single import," Galland wrote in the
2009 article. "In 2003, the number of imports of multiple puppies per
shipment began to increase. The number of puppies imported into
California through airports increased from 110 multi-dog imports in 2003
to 365 in 2004. Each shipment contained as many as 40 puppies. A similar
increase was seen nationally ... As the number of shipments containing
more than one dog increased, tracking puppies became increasingly

But the problem also can be attributed to market demand, uneducated
consumers and puppy millers turned irresponsible importers.

"It's getting tougher to raise dogs in the United States. The USDA is
requiring more of commercial breeders," Marano says, adding many former
puppy millers are believed to have turned to importing to increase profits.

In Pennsylvania — a state known for its concentration of puppy mills —
256 kennels were closed in 2009 compared to just 65 kennels closed in 2004.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) tracks anti-puppy
mill legislation and saw a huge jump after 2008, with 90 bills
introduced across 33 states — five of them adopted in 2009. "There's a
campaign, clearly well-organized, to bring these bills forward," says
Adrian Hochstedt, AVMA's assistant director of state legislative and
regulatory affairs.

Additionally, foreign countries make it easier to breed dogs because of
loose animal-health standards, contends California attorney John
Hoffman, who has crusaded against puppy importers on behalf of various
breed groups.

For instance, one French Bulldog group he provided services for claims
there are now more French Bulldogs imported into the United States than
are bred here, because artificial insemination and cesarean deliveries
can be performed cheaper by unlicensed veterinary workers in other

"The sale over the Internet of both commercially bred puppies and
imported puppies has become a big business — and probably considerably
outstrips sales of puppies through pet shops," Hoffman said during
testimony before Congress in 2006 on an importation law that never
passed. "USDA regulations prohibit carriers from accepting animals for
transport without a health certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian
and from transporting puppies younger than 8 weeks. It appears that both
regulations are routinely flouted by commercial puppy exporters abroad.
That health certificates are being forged is evidenced by the large
incidence of illness and death among puppies within a day or two of
arrival in the United States."

Many of these imported dogs are irresponsibly bred with a host of
genetic problems and are shipped young — too young to vaccinate — to
meet market demand. Importers often lie about age and health issues on a
dog's records and get away with it, Hoffman claims.

Confinement agreements
"If the form said 8 weeks, nobody questioned it," Hoffman says, adding
that rabies requirements are treated with disdain by some importers.
"There's been no enforcement of (confinement agreements) and the
importers have been thumbing their noses at it for years."

But importers for profit aren't the only violators. One rescue
organization alone imported 295 dogs from the Middle East in 2006,
according to Galland and Marano's article, and even veterinarians can be
pulled into a laissez-faire attitude about pet importation.

Galland's 2009 article reveals a 2007 case of a puppy imported from
India by a Washington state veterinarian. The dog was given to another
veterinarian, bit veterinary clinic staff and another dog while showing
signs of rabies, but wasn't diagnosed with the disease until another
veterinarian brought it to Alaska. Eight people had to be treated for

Several rabies cases in imported dogs have been tracked in recent years,
as well as cases of other diseases long-eradicated in the United States,
like screwworm. Screwworms are monitored by the USDA and could cause up
to $750 million in livestock production losses, the article notes. New
World screwworms were eradicated from the United States in 1966, and Old
World screwworm had never been seen in this country until it was found
in a puppy imported from Singapore to Massachusetts in 2007.

"Veterinarians should be vigilant when examining new puppies" Galland
wrote. "Many imported dogs are never confined properly or inspected for
infectious diseases, and many diseases may not be detected readily in
imported dogs ... a veterinarian could be the one who prevents the next

A lot of imported puppies arrive at U.S. ports dehydrated, but not
really ill. It's a few days after entering the country that they become

"Rabies is of particular concern in imported dogs because of its long
incubation period," wrote Galland and Marano. "Because of this, dogs may
be admitted on the basis of apparent good health, but may be incubating
the virus and could develop disease after entry."

An importation clause in the recently passed Farm Bill could provide
some relief, as it prohibits the commercial importation of any dog
younger than 6 months of age, Marano says. But USDA must write the
regulations to put the Farm Bill into effect, and that has not even been
started, Hoffman says.

"Buyers and veterinarians report that imported puppies suffer from
higher than normal incidences of pneumonia, parvovirus, rabies, ringworm
and severe congenital defects," wrote Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), who
supported passage of the Farm Bill, in a press release about the
legislation. "The CDC lacks the staff, law enforcement powers and
resources to ensure each shipment is safe."

CDC is reviewing its regulations — written in 1956 and last updated in
1983, when international travel was less frequent and dog imports
consisted of the occasional family pet — and has found that the general
public would like to see more stringent laws. But changes take time,
Marano says.

"There are only two ways to attack: regulations to dry up supply and
education to dry up demand," she explains.

"Veterinarians are really one of the first lines of defense, and they
need to be educated on the regulations of their state so they can
educate their clients about the risk involved in buying these puppies,"
adds Galland.

Monday, March 1, 2010

KY: HB 517 seeks to establish an Unconstitutional Forfeiture Bond Bill

Kentucky: HSUS Introduces Unconstitutional Forfeiture Bond Bill
Kentucky House Bill 517 seeks to give "ownership" of animals to third parties PRIOR to finding guilt of the accused. It also seeks to force those accused in crimes relating to animal cruelty to post a bond. It does not matter whether or not someone can afford to post this type of bond, the bottom line is that no one has the right to give "ownership" of YOUR PROPERTY to someone else!

What this bill dose NOT address is what happens to the animal if the original owner is found to be innocent? Do you think the "new owners" will REALLY give the animal BACK?

The very concept of a "forfeiture" or "seizure" bond greatly undermines the idea that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law; depriving someone (or attempting to deprive someone) of their personal property by their ability (or inability) to cough up huge sums of cash flat-out crushes the 14th Amendment.

Our judicial system is not perfect; however, we are afforded certain protections under the U.S. Constitution. More and more, the animal rights industry (namely the Humane Society of the United States) would have us to believe that animal owners are somehow different; that we are not entitled to those same protections against warrantless searches and seizures, the right to due process, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the right to a fair and speedy trial, etc.