Texas House Bill 1451 Proceeds to the Senate
House Bill 1451, which would regulate and define as a commercial breeder those who own 11 or more intact female dogs or cats, passed the House of Representatives today on a vote of 92-44. A record of members’ votes can be seen here. Concerned dog owners are encouraged to express their thanks to the representatives who opposed this measure.
House Bill 1451 will now be sent to the Texas State Senate. Responsible owners and breeders are encouraged to contact their Senators and ask them not to sponsor it in the Senate and to oppose it if it comes before them in committee or on the floor.
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The American Kennel Club strongly supports humane treatment of dogs, including an adequate and nutritious diet, clean water, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsive 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. However, HB 1451 does not accomplish these goals and places unreasonable fees and regulations on responsible owners and breeders.
Provisions of House Bill 1451:
Defines a breeder as anyone who possesses 11 or more intact females. Simply owning a certain number of intact dogs does not indicate a large-scale breeding operation. This definition may encompass many small hobby breeders or sportsmen who produce only one or two litters a year.
Mandates an unannounced inspection by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), or their designee every 18 months. Due to the low thresholds in the bill, many of the breeders who will be licensed are not commercial operations and do not have regular business hours. Often, these people utilize their homes to breed their dogs. The AKC believes that to ensure that privacy and due process rights are protected, inspections, especially of private residences, should be performed pursuant to a warrant. Further, as these inspections are unannounced, it is unclear what would happen if a breeder is not at home when an inspector has gone to the expense of traveling to visit them.
Allows TDLR to charge an unspecified fee for licensure and inspection. The measure says fees should cover the cost of establishing and implementing an inspections program. HB 1451 further allows a tiered licensing schedule based on the number of dogs owned, but the cost may be excessive for someone who breeds only a litter or two a year. The fiscal note anticipates that this program will cost over $1.3 million to implement, with the full cost borne by the breeders. If the board’s estimate of one thousand breeders is close to accurate (and we believe this number to be high), then individual licenses are likely to cost thousands of dollars annually.
Requires an annual veterinary examination. This is burdensome for breeders in rural areas who have to transport their animals to a veterinarian. It also forces the breeder to spend money on healthy animals when the funds would better be used to care for animals with health concerns and to maintain and improve facilities. Parents are not required to have their children seen by a physician annually, nor are farmers and ranchers whose animals enter our food supply required to have annual veterinary examinations of each animal. This provision is costly and strips owners of their right to decide what care is best for their animals.
Establishes a public database of licensees and disciplinary actions. The thresholds in this bill are so low as to include many who breed dogs in their homes. It is unreasonable for a small breeder to be required to post their name, address and other personal information on a public registry.
For more information, contact the AKC Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720 or email@example.com.