Louisiana House Bill 163, sponsored by Representative Anthony V. Ligi, Jr., of Metairie, targets...
Louisiana House Bill 163, sponsored by Representative Anthony V. Ligi, Jr., of Metairie, targets dog owners and events in Louisiana.
The bill will infringe on the rights of dog owners by further limiting the number of dogs an individual may own and requiring most breeders to adhere to vague and arbitrary care and conditions requirements. Additionally, HB 163 will prohibit all dog owners from stacking crates -a provision that could have a significant impact on Louisiana dog events. The American Kennel Club strongly opposes House Bill 163, and urges all concerned Louisiana dog fanciers, enthusiasts, breeders, and owners to become familiar with the provisions of the bill in preparation for the legislative session, which begins Monday, March 12, 2012.
AKC’S POSITION ON BREEDER REGULATIONS:
The American Kennel Club strongly supports the humane treatment of dogs, including an adequate and nutritious diet, clean water, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsible human companionship, and training in appropriate behavior. The AKC also supports 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.
HB 163 falls far short of meeting those goals. As introduced, the bill will:
Further limit the property ownership rights of Louisiana residents. Louisiana is currently one of only four states that arbitrarily limit the number of dogs an individual may own. HB 163 seeks to remove the qualification that to count toward the ownership limit, a dog must be at least one year of age. The effect of this provision will be a drastic reduction in the practical number of dogs an individual may own. For example, an active breeder raising a few litters of puppies at one time could easily go over the limit temporarily if young puppies will be counted along with the individual’s adult dogs. As a result, a breeder may be forced to sell or relinquish dogs to come into compliance with the law, or face fines and jail time.
Impose vague and inadequate care and conditions requirements. Care and conditions standards that are vague will prove difficult for breeders to comply with and difficult for officials to enforce. The proposal also fails to provide for key aspects of accepted animal husbandry practices, including cleanliness standards. The American Kennel Club believes that any care and conditions standards imposed should be clear in their goals and allow owners reasonable leeway to achieve those goals while also providing care that is appropriate for the breed, age, and health statuses of the dogs kept.
Prohibit the use of stacked cages. Based on the bill’s wording, this can impact any stacking of enclosures—in homes and kennels, during transport and at events, including dog shows. This provision will have far-reaching impacts on both dog owners and event-giving clubs. By not permitting the stacking of enclosures in a safe and sanitary manner, owners will not be able to take advantage of the efficiencies that stacking allows, and may be forced to sell or relinquish dogs or to purchase new facilities to comply with the requirement. Additionally, AKC-affiliated clubs will face detrimental fiscal impacts by being forced to find larger facilities to help their exhibitors comply with the prohibition, or endure far fewer entries at their events. In both cases, a person unable to comply with this requirement will face fines or jail time.
Prohibit the use of wire flooring. In addition to running against the standards afforded licensees under the federal Animal Welfare Act, this provision fails to consider that wire of proper size, spacing, and coating, when used properly and kept in good repair, both ensures the safety of the dogs kept in an enclosure and promotes proper sanitation by allowing animal wastes to fall into catch pans instead of remaining in the enclosure with, and threatening the health of, the animal.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
The American Kennel Club encourages all interested breeders and owners in Louisiana to become familiar with the provisions of HB 163. The AKC will continue to provide updates on HB 163 once Louisiana’s legislative session begins on March 12.
For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail email@example.com.