The American Kennel Club wishes to thank all those who worked so hard during the 2010 legislative...
The American Kennel Club wishes to thank all those who worked so hard during the 2010 legislative session to oppose Senate Bill 1712 and to ensure that laws that govern dog breeders in Oklahoma are reasonable, enforceable and fair.
Despite the efforts of many responsible dog owners and breeders, the measure was passed by House and Senate and signed by Governor Henry shortly after the conclusion of the session.
We are providing the following recap of the bill, and information on what you can expect to help you plan for changes in the Oklahoma law. As always, the AKC urges all dog owners to know, understand and comply with the laws of their jurisdictions.
Known as the "Commercial Pet Breeders Act", SB 1712 expands government regulation of anyone who breeds dogs or cats and who owns more than 11 intact females of either species. The bill’s vague definition of commercial breeder includes no time frame, which means it could require anyone who owns or co-owns more than 11 intact females over 6 months of age and has ever bred a dog or cat, even if they are not currently breeding their animals, to be licensed as a commercial breeder. The amended bill does not exempt sportsmen, and it will also require many of those who maintain hunting dogs to license their hobby kennels as commercial enterprises.
SB 1712 will require owners or co-owners of 11 or more intact female dogs to be licensed as commercial breeders, regardless of whether those animals are being bred. It does not impose a limit on the number of dogs a person may own or maintain. Licensees will be subject to:
- Pre-licensure inspection of facilities.
- Separate licenses for each premise.
- At least one inspection annually, during normal business hours of each facility kept by the licensee.
- Additional 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.
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 may be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or two years in jail.
The measure created an 8-member "Board of Commercial Breeders" to develop specific regulations and enforce and administer the provisions of the act. This new board is required to begin meeting in June and to adopt all rules by November 1, 2010. All licensees are required to come into compliance by January 1, 2011.
The AKC has not yet received specific information on board members, but we do know the board will consist of the following:
- A representative of the dog or cat breeding industry appointed by the Governor.
- A representative of an animal welfare association appointed by the Governor.
- A representative of the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association appointed by the Governor.
- A representative at large appointed by the Governor.
- The Dean of the Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health Sciences or designee.
- The Dean of the Oklahoma State University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Administration or designee.
- The Chair of the Oklahoma Tax Commission or designee.
The purpose of the board will be to:
- 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.
- 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.
- Establish and maintain a public directory of licensed commercial pet breeders.
All licensees are required to come into compliance by January 1, 2011.
Again, the AKC urges all dog owners and breeder to know, understand, and comply with laws of their jurisdictions.