The North Carolina Senate will take a final vote on Senate Bill 460 today. As passed out of the...
The North Carolina Senate will take a final vote on Senate Bill 460 today. As passed out of the Rules committee yesterday, this measure has been largely gutted. The newly revised version of the bill is now available. AKC appreciates many of the changes that have been made that address some of the AKC’s concerns about the bill.
However, the AKC is concerned that the bill has been revised and moved with such speed in the last 12 hours that lawmakers and the public have not had a chance to study it prior to being asked to make important decisions on it. Moreover, the basic foundation of this bill – the definition of commercial breeder–remains the same.
The AKC remains gravely concerned about the following:
- Vague definitions of "commercial breeder". Commercial breeder is defined as someone who owns 15 or more intact females "of breeding age" and 30 or more puppies. It remains unclear whether these numbers refer to the number of dogs on the property at one certain time, or if this is cumulative over the course of a year.
- New, problematic legislative findings. The new version of SB 460 inserts eight legislative findings into the bill. We believe that some of these findings impugn the legitimate practices of certain responsible dog breeders and make unsubstantiated claims regarding their alleged effects.
- Unclear enforcement provisions. It appears that the bill seeks to exclusively empower localities to investigate violations. However, should the bill be enacted, this provision would appear in a section of existing law that empowers the state director of animal welfare to investigate violations. These contradictory provisions could effectively create an unfunded mandate in which localities would be responsible for the cost of state-generated enforcement activities.
The bill exempts kennels or establishments that operate for the purpose of boarding or training hunting, sporting, herding, show, or working dogs. It does not exempt the breeders of such dogs. It is also unclear if someone who trains show dogs, but also sells puppies is exempt from the licensing requirement.
The new version of this bill also would establish an Internet "registry" of all North Carolinians who would fall under the vaguely-defined "commercial" definition. While this online list might be good advertising for true commercial breeders, the AKC believes that this may be an intrusion of the privacy rights of hobby (show, hunting, working, etc.) breeders.
North Carolina already has strong laws that address any cruel or negligent treatment of animals. The AKC believes SB 460 is not necessary.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Contact your Senator and Representative and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 460. Due to the time constraints phone calls are better than email. To find your Senator and Representative, visit the North Carolina General Assembly web site and type your zip code in the "Who Represents Me?" box on the right side of the page.
The AKC Government Relations Department will provide updated information, as it becomes available, on our website.