New Jersey Action Update: Call Gov. Christie to Veto Anti-breeder Bill S. 3041

Earlier this week, representatives of the AKC and the NJ Federation of Dog Clubs met with Governor Christie’s staff to share our strong concerns about Senate Bill 3041. Although the bill has been improved since first introduced (as S. 63) in January 2016, the American Kennel Club (AKC) remains deeply concerned with harmful impacts on small hobby breeders that will likely result if the bill is signed into law as currently written.

Earlier this week, representatives of the AKC and the NJ Federation of Dog Clubs met with Governor Christie’s staff to share our strong concerns about Senate Bill 3041.

Although the bill has been improved since first introduced (as S. 63) in January 2016, the American Kennel Club (AKC) remains deeply concerned with harmful impacts on small hobby breeders that will likely result if the bill is signed into law as currently written.

The Governor is open to hearing our concerns. It is critically important that they understand the vast, harmful impact that the bill could have on dog owners, enthusiasts and breeders who live in New Jersey, sell puppies in New Jersey or attend dog shows in New Jersey.

TAKE ACTION NOW!  If you have not done so already, please contact the governor’s office and respectfully ask that the governor veto Senate Bill 3041.

Please use the following script when contacting the Governor’s office. 

Governor Christie’s Office: (609) 777-2500. 

SCRIPT: “Hello, my name is __________.  I am a resident of _________, New Jersey.  I am calling to respectfully request Governor Christie veto Senate Bill 3041 due to the bill’s far-reaching impacts and unintended consequences on New Jersey’s pet owners.” 

If asked for details on why you are requesting Governor Christie’s veto, please refer to AKC’s flyer about this measure or the bullet points below. 

Background:

The AKC and a coalition of animal interest groups have actively opposed bills identical to S.3041, A.2338/S.63, since their introductions in January 2016.   Click here to view AKC’s previous alerts on S.3041. 

The anti-breeder bills originally started as an effort to ban pet stores in New Jersey from selling dogs and cats unless sourced from shelters and rescues.  Due to vocal opposition by concerned New Jersey residents, the bills were amended multiple times.

The current version of the bill, passed by both houses of the legislature, considers anyone – including breeders – who sell more than 10 cats or dogs in a year to be “pet dealers.”  Specifically, “pet dealers” are: 

Any person, located within or outside of the State, who is engaged in the ordinary course of business in the sale of cats or dogs to consumers in the State for                                 profit, or who sells more than 10 cat or dogs in one year to consumers in the State.  “Pet dealer” shall include a kennel or pet shop that is engaged in the ordinary course of business in the sale of cats or dogs to consumers in the State for profit, or that sells more than 10 cats or dogs in one year to consumers in the State. 

Talking Points/ Specific issues with this legislation include:

  • It is common for some breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Great Danes to regularly have litters larger than 10 puppies. A person whose dog has a large litter just once and sells/finds new homes for the puppies will be defined as a “pet dealer”.
  • The arbitrary threshold and vague language in the “pet dealer” definition could regulate many fanciers and enthusiasts.  Because most municipalities do not allow commercial enterprises such as animal “dealers” in residential zones, hobby breeders may find themselves in violation of state and local zoning laws, and forced to choose between their home and their hobby.
  • Throughout the bills’ consideration, the AKC has respectfully recommended better language to reflect the sponsors’ stated intent that small, hobby breeders would be exempt from the definition of “pet dealer”.  Because one litter could qualify a person as a “pet dealer”, those concerns have not been considered. 
  • The definition of pet dealer seeks to impact breeders located in other states who may sell dogs in New Jersey.  Because it impacts interstate commerce and creates conflicts between New Jersey laws and the laws of other states, the definition of pet dealer is constitutionally suspect. 
  • Over previous versions, S.3041 actually increases the number of allowable health and welfare violations by pet dealers selling pets to pet stores.
  • Like its predecessors, S.3041 contains more than two pages of “findings” that assail the reputations of dog breeders with broadly-discredited conjecture, questionable statistics, and out-of-date USDA information.

The American Kennel Club will continue to provide updates on Senate Bill 3041 as developments warrant.  For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at doglaw@akc.org

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