Two bills currently under consideration by the Oklahoma legislature seek to regulate some...
Two bills currently under consideration by the Oklahoma legislature seek to regulate some responsible dog breeders.
Representative Lee Denney of Cushing, who sponsored House Bill 1332 in 2009, is currently sponsoring House Bill 2745. Known as the "Oklahoma Pet Quality Assurance and Protection Act," the bill seeks to create a voluntary program of compliance for those breeders that sell, give away, or transfer at least 35 dogs and/or cats a year. Those who comply with the voluntary program would be allowed to use the "Pet Quality Assurance License." This bill has passed the House and is currently awaiting committee assignment in the Senate.
However, Senator Patrick Anderson, in concert with Representative Denney, has introduced Senate Bill 1712. Known as the "Commercial Pet Breeders Act, the bill seeks to require those breeders with 11 intact female dogs to adhere to annual licensing, inspection, record keeping, reporting, and care-and-condition requirements; creates a directory of licensees; and imposes fines for non-compliance. The bill has passed the Senate and is currently awaiting committee assignment in the House.
The American Kennel Club’s mission includes working to protect the rights of all dog owners and promoting responsible dog ownership. The AKC agrees that kennels with deplorable conditions must never be tolerated. However, we also support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of dogs without restricting the rights of owners or breeders who take their responsibilities seriously. We strongly urge all concerned responsible dog breeders and owners in Oklahoma to consider the provisions of the bills (described below), and to contact their elected officials with their concerns.
House Bill 2745
This bill seeks to create a voluntary program for breeders that sell, give away, or transfer at least 35 dogs a year (however, other breeders are permitted to participate in the voluntary program as well). Those who comply with the voluntary program will be designated as a Quality Pet Assurance Licensee. To comply, a breeder must:
- Allow pre-license inspection of their facility.
- Have a husbandry and breeding protocol, a veterinary health care protocol, and a signed veterinarian of record affidavit found to be in compliance.
- Pay a license fee, to be determined by State Board of Agriculture rule, not to exceed $500.
- Adhere to license display requirements.
The bill requires the State Board of Agriculture to create rules for breeding criteria and restrictions, housing and sanitation, nutrition and hydration, operating standards, management and staff operating plans, veterinarian of record and veterinary care, record keeping, and transportation of dogs within a vehicle. Licensees will be subject to inspection of facilities and records. Licensees will be prevented from transferring ownership of any dog that is less than six weeks of age. Licensees who violate the act may have their license revoked; be subject to fines; and may, subject to a court order, have their dogs seized.
Senate Bill 1712
This bill will create the Board of Commercial Pet Breeders to enforce and administer the provisions of the Act; and will adopt rules establishing license fees, procedures and requirements for license application and renewal, conditions under which licenses are revoked or denied, and qualifications for registered breeder inspectors. The Board will also be required to establish minimum standards for proper veterinary care, treatment, feeding and watering, shelter and confinement, grooming, exercise, socialization, transportation, disposition of dogs, and other standards it deems necessary to protect the public health and the health and welfare of animals. Additionally, the Board will maintain a public directory of licensed commercial pet breeders.
Should SB 1712 be enacted as currently written, those with 11 or more intact female dogs will be required to be licensed. Licensees will be subject to:
- Pre-licensure inspection of facilities, the undetermined cost of which must be paid by the license applicant.
- At least one inspection annually, during normal business hours but without advanced notice, of each facility kept by the licensee.
- Inspections based on written complaints received by the Board.
- License display requirements at the licensed facility.
- License number disclosure requirements on advertisements, sales contracts, and transfer agreements.
- Annual reporting requirements.
- Record-keeping requirements for each dog maintained in a licensee’s facility.
Under the bill, the Board is required to adopt all rules by November 1, 2010, and licensees are required to come into compliance by January 1, 2011. Licensees who violate the act may have their license revoked, and be subject to a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or a year in jail. Those who interfere with an inspector would be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or two years in jail.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Oklahoma’s concerned responsible dog breeders and owners are strongly encouraged to contact their elected representatives in Oklahoma City. Respectfully let them know your concerns with the bills.
- Click here to find your Oklahoma legislators.
- Click here for tips on Communicating Effectively With Legislators.
- Click here for AKC’s talking points on Responsible Breeding Practices.
For more information, contact the AKC Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.