-- Click here for more information about PAWS -- -- Board Reaffirms Support of Proposed...
-- Board Reaffirms Support of Proposed Legislation --
Chicago, IL - At a meeting of the American Kennel Club (AKC®) Board of Directors today, the Board reaffirmed their position to support the principles in the Pet Animal Welfare Statute (PAWS) of 2005, a bill introduced on May 26 by Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) to amend the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), reserving the right, as the legislation proceeds, to make suggestions for the improvement of the bill.
PAWS includes numerous provisions advocated by the AKC as an alternative to the "Puppy Protection Act" previously introduced by Senator Santorum in 2001. For example, the new legislation intends to:
- bring under coverage of the AWA persons who are breeding and selling large numbers of dogs yet are not covered under current law;
- strengthen the U.S. Department of Agriculture's ability to enforce compliance with the AWA and to identify persons who are evading the Act;
- authorize USDA lawyers to go to court directly to obtain injunctions against persons operating without a license or with a suspended or revoked license, rather than having to convince busy U.S. attorneys to take up such cases.
"It is important that fanciers take the time to understand why the AKC is supporting this bill, and not react impulsively," said Ron Menaker, AKC's Chairman of the Board. "The AKC staff and Board of Directors - which are made up of many people who have spent their entire lives as participants and proponents of the sport of purebreds dogs - would not make a decision that would be detrimental to our mission. We ask our constituents to carefully consider the bill and understand that participating in the legislative process is critical to enabling us to protect the rights of dog owners, the sport of purebred dogs and the welfare of all dogs."
It is the Board's intention to have the AKC and the dog fancy remain involved with the bill's progress in order to effectively advocate for the rights of dog owners and the well-being of dogs. The Board directed AKC staff and Federal Government Relations Consultant Jim Holt to continue to collaborate with allies, educate opponents and communicate decisively with lawmakers on this issue.
"The alternative," added Menaker "is to be left out of the process entirely, which is likely to make AKC's core constituency---responsible hobby breeders—more vulnerable to restrictive legislation and deter our opportunity to contribute to the development of the regulations that will be implemented should the bill pass."