New Jersey Bill Bad News for Breeders

Assemblyman Neil Cohen has introduced Assembly Bill 3401, a bill which threatens the rights of...

Assemblyman Neil Cohen has introduced Assembly Bill 3401, a bill which threatens the rights of responsible breeders in the state of New Jersey. Fanciers, concerned dog owners and responsible breeders should immediately contact their representatives in the New Jersey State Legislature and oppose this bill.

The bill defines a "breeder" as any person who sells or offers for sale more than 5 puppies per year. In addition to this incredibly low threshold, the bill requires breeders to comply with a host of restrictive regulations and institutes steep fines for violations. A3401 prohibits any breeder from selling more than 25 dogs in one year.

AKC opposes A3401's attempt to effectively outlaw breeding in the state of New Jersey. Responsible breeders give the individual care and human contact that each puppy needs in order to grow into a healthy, well-adjusted companion and neighbor. Forcing responsible breeders out of business would deprive citizens of a very valuable resource when purchasing a pet.

The American Kennel Club believes that breeding programs should be undertaken responsibly for the purpose of preserving breed characteristics and producing healthy, well-socialized puppies. Responsible breeders are expected to give careful consideration to health issues, temperament, and genetic screening, as well as to the individual care and placement of puppies in responsible homes. AKC supports and promotes these and other responsible breeding practices through breeders' education programs, and commends those who offer similar guidance.

The American Kennel Club opposes the concept of breeding permits, breeding bans or mandatory spay/neuter of purebred dogs. Instead, we support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of purebred dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who take their responsibilities seriously.

A3401 goes beyond encouraging responsible breeding. Under A3401, all breeders would be required to comply with draconian regulations including maintaining specified temperatures, keeping animals only on nonporous surfaces, and circulating air at precise intervals. The measure further mandates the acceptable dimensions for crates and runs and sets minimum socialization standards. Finally, all breeders are required to register annually with the Department of Health. This list will be published and made available to the public.

All breeders are required to furnish specified information to pet purchasers and provide a full refund for any reason for a pet returned within 14 days. Any dog which is sold with a pedigree can be returned for a full refund within 26 months if any congenital or genetic defects are discovered.

Violations can be punished with both monetary fines and suspension of the license to sell pets. A first violation can result in a prohibition on selling cats or dogs for 5 years and subsequent offenses can add an additional 5 years for each violation. Civil penalties may also be administered. For a first offense a breeder shall be fined $5,000 and for a second offense the breeder may be fined $10,000 for each subsequent offense. A member of the public who supplies information that results in fines or suspension will be eligible for an award of 10 percent of the civil penalty or $250, whichever is greater.


What You Can Do:

  • The New Jersey State Legislature is currently in recess, so most members are in their districts. Contact the district office and see if you or your dog club can set up a meeting with the legislator to talk about the importance of local, responsible breeders.
     
  • Watch AKC's Web site for further updates. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, but has not yet been set for a hearing. AKC will notify fanciers as soon as a hearing is scheduled.

 

For more information, contact:

NJ Federation of Dog Clubs
taborgsp@verizon.net
 

AKC Canine Legislation dept.
919-816-3720
doglaw@akc.org