New Jersey Assemblyman Neil Cohen has announced that he will not move the controversial A. 3401 in...
New Jersey Assemblyman Neil Cohen has announced that he will not move the controversial A. 3401 in its current form. However, he is committed to sponsoring a breeder regulation bill when the legislature returns for general session. Asm. Cohen has asked that concerned fanciers contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and suggestions about the legislation.
The quick action by Asm. Cohen to remove this bill from consideration is an acknowledgement of the impact of the concerted efforts of the dog community in opposing this legislation. AKC encourages fanciers to continue to dialogue with their elected officials about this important issue.
Although these issues can be quite emotional, it is imperative that we remain polite and respectful at all times. It is imperative that fanciers remember that each and every time they contact a legislator they are representing the entire dog fancy. It is vital that AKC and the dog fancy be perceived as well-spoken, thoughtful contributors on animal legislation.
The AKC Canine Legislation Department has assembled guides to help fanciers communicate effectively with their representatives. Make Your Contact Count assists fanciers in ascertaining the proper forms of address and style to use when writing or emailing elected officials. Disagree Diplomatically helps concerned dog owners to frame arguments so that they are effective and well-received.
New Jersey Bill Bad News for Breeders
[August 1, 2006]
Assemblyman Neil Cohen has introduced Assembly Bill 3401, a bill which will virtually eliminate responsible hobby breeding in the state of New Jersey. Fanciers, concerned dog owners and responsible hobby breeders should immediately contact their representatives in the New Jersey State Legislature.
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 outlaw breeding in the state of New Jersey. Responsible hobby breeders give the individual care and human contact that each puppy needs in order to grow into a healthy, well-adjusted companion and neighbor. Often, they also have more time to screen potential dog owners and to educate them about responsible dog ownership. Forcing hobbyists out of the sport would therefore actually 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.
However, 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, and instead institutes a series of rules that essentially outlaw responsible hobby 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% of the civil penalty or $250, whichever is greater.
What You Can Do:
- Contact your own Representatives and Senator to express your concerns about A3401. To find out who represents you in the New Jersey State Assembly and State Senate, you can look up your city at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/districts/municipalities.asp.
- 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 hobby breeders.
- Contact Assemblyman Cohen and ask him to withdraw the bill from consideration.
Assemblyman Neil Cohen
985 Stuyvesant Ave.
Union, NJ 07083
- 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
AKC Canine Legislation dept.