[Wednesday, January 21, 2009]
Representative John Fritchey is sponsoring HB 198, a bill that would regulate dog breeders by limiting the number of dogs they can own and requiring licensing for anyone who maintains three or more females (even if they are not bred) "for the purpose of the sale of their offspring." The bill would also mandate unannounced inspections, fingerprinting, and require breeders to pay an unspecified license fee. It is important that ALL fanciers, responsible dog owners, and breeders work together to oppose this burdensome and ineffective legislation.
The bill consists of 45 pages of requirements and regulations that are not based on proven animal husbandry practices, nor will they improve the health and welfare of dogs in Illinois.
Breeders would be prohibited from owning more than 20 intact dogs over a year old, regardless of whether the animals are being bred.
Breeders, defined as anyone who owns more than 3 breeding females and sells their offspring, would be required to:
Submit to an annual, unannounced home inspection – for an unspecified fee.
Undergo fingerprinting and criminal background checks – for an unspecified fee.
Build facilities to meet rigid engineering standards which exceed those required by the USDA. This will require most breeders to purchase expensive new equipment and build new facilities.
Breed only dogs between 18 months and 8 years of age.
Correct any deficiencies within 7 days or dispose of all intact animals at an animal control facility, a licensed Illinois shelter or have them euthanized by a veterinarian.
File detailed annual reports with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Provide specified disclosures to puppy purchasers.
Comply with any additional regulations drafted by the department.
The requirements in HB 198 are completely unreasonable for persons breeding dogs. Most of these requirements have no bearing on the ability of a person to produce healthy, well-cared-for pets. The way HB 198 is written, a breeder would have to comply with these requirements even if fewer than three females were bred in a year. It would even affect a breeder/owner who did not have a single litter!
The Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is not equipped to hire and train inspectors who are familiar with animal husbandry. Under current law, animal control authorities have the power to investigate suspected animal cruelty and we strongly support enforcement of those laws. This would be a better use of taxpayer funds and would more effectively address animal welfare concerns.