Urgent NC Alert:  Breeder Regulations Scheduled to be Considered TODAY (4/22)

The AKC has learned that a hearing and possible vote has been scheduled for today on a rewritten version of House Bill 159, which would seek to regulate certain dog owners as commercial breeders regardless of actual sales/commercial activity and require law enforcement to first determine the reason dogs are kept before enforcing basic standards of care.

Urgent NC Alert:  Breeder Regulations Scheduled to be Considered TODAY (4/22)

April 22, 2015

The AKC has learned that a hearing and possible vote has been scheduled for today on a rewritten version of House Bill 159, which would seek to regulate certain dog owners as commercial breeders regardless of actual sales/commercial activity and require law enforcement to first determine the reason dogs are kept before enforcing basic standards of care.
 
North Carolina residents are urged to contact the House Rules Committee and your State Representative NOW and express your concerns with House Bill 159.  Click here to view the names and contact information for the House Rules Committee leadership and committee members.  The committee is expected to consider the bill at noon.

Visit the NC General Assembly’s “Who Represents Me?” page and type your address next to the first map to find the name and contact information for your State Representative.


Talking Points:

The American Kennel Club strongly believes ALL dogs deserve life in a healthy, safe and humane environment and supports basic standards of care for all dogs.  The fact that this bill offers basic standards of care for dogs is not the reason for our concerns.  Our concerns are the following:

•    Problematic definition of “large commercial dog breeder” – HB 159 erroneously defines a “large commercial dog breeder” as someone who owns or maintains 10 or more intact female dogs.  If the purpose is to regulate “commercial breeders”, then this definition should be based on commerce, not on an individual’s ownership of private property and how it could potentially be used.

•    Current bill language may actually weaken the ability to enforce current cruelty laws rather than strengthen them – As currently written, local or county law enforcement officials charged with enforcing this law would now have to prove whether, based on a person’s personal property, they meet the arbitrary definition of “large commercial dog breeder”, and whether they may qualify for any of the exemptions, before law enforcement could enforce these standards. Improperly identified animals or breeding operations could lead to extensive court and administrative costs for state or local jurisdictions.  

•    Basic standards of care should apply to ALL dogs – This bill only applies standards of care to those who meet this misleading definition of “large commercial dog breeder”. The AKC strongly believes that ALL dogs deserve to be treated in a humane manner – not just those owned by so-called “commercial breeders”. If the purpose of this measure is truly to improve the wellbeing of dogs, then it doesn’t make sense to limit these standards of care to only those who own 10 or more intact female dogs.

•    North Carolina already has laws that criminalize animal negligence and cruelty.  This bill creates more government regulation when the focus should instead be on providing local law enforcement with the resources needed to properly enforce the state’s existing Animal Welfare Act. Strong enforcement of current laws along with public education on responsible dog ownership would hold anyone who harms animals accountable.

AKC Government Relations will continue to provide updates as they become available.  For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.