URGENT: Miami-Dade County to Consider Anti-Breeder Ordinance on Wednesday, September 3rd

URGENT: Miami-Dade County to Consider  Anti-Breeder Ordinance on Wednesday, September 3rd

Dear AKC Delegates, Club Officers, Legislative Liaisons and Breeders,

Please review and forward this information to your club members in the Miami-Dade area.

AKC has just learned that TOMORROW, Wednesday September 3rd the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners will consider an expansion of the anti-breeder ordinance originally adopted in 2008. The measure will place additional restrictions on hobby breeders, expand the definition of “breeder” and “pet dealers”, and restrict the business of retail pet stores.

The American Kennel Club objected to the original 2008 ordinance and believes that expanding it further will not improve animal control in Miami-Dade County. AKC encourages responsible owners and breeders to attend this meeting and oppose this expansion of an already unfair law. If you are unable to attend the meeting please contact the commissioners at the phone number and/or email addresses listed below.

Miami-Dade County Commission Meeting
Date: Wednesday, September 3rd
Time: 9:30 AM
Location: Commission Chambers, 111 NW First Street, Miami, Florida 33128

Points to Consider:

Despite requests from AKC and local responsible dog owners and breeders, Miami-Dade County staff has failed to produce data about the way in which the ordinance has functioned in the last 5 years. The intent of the 2008 legislation was to identify and address substandard breeders, and to reduce the shelter population as a result. Documentation about the success of the current ordinance has not been provided so why should it be expanded? If it has not been successful, then the county should revisit the idea of restricting responsible breeders and look at more effective ways to address shelter population issues such as education about responsible dog ownership, curtailing importation of homeless animals from outside the county into local shelters/rescues if applicable, and improving availability of low and no-cost spay/neuter services.

Current law in Miami Dade limits hobby breeders to two litters per year and any person, even a hobby breeder, who has more than 4 dogs on a property of less than an acre, is considered a kennel. The expanded definition of “breeder” means that any breeder who does not qualify as a hobby breeder will be considered a kennel. Kennels are subject to warrantless inspections and compliance with specific keeping requirements. Even those who qualify as hobby breeders will be required to allow animal control unfettered access to their premises without a warrant if there is a complaint. It is not reasonable that the law provides more protections to those suspected of committing major felonies than it does to dog breeders.

In the proposal before the County Commissioners, Section 5-9 is expanded with additional care standards. In general, responsible breeders exceed these standards; however there are some which are objectionable. For example, Section 5-9 (4) (ii) provides that puppies and kittens (less than 6 months old) shall not be housed with adult animals other than the dam or surrogate dam. This only makes sense for unweaned animals, not for a 4-month-old puppy. This demonstrates a lack of understanding about animal husbandry and should be corrected.

Further, Section 5-10 of the ordinance will codify inflammatory and offensive language regarding breeders, implying that all breeders are irresponsible and inhumane. It asserts that obtaining a shelter pet is superior to purchasing one from a responsible breeder without acknowledging that the paramount need of a family in getting a new pet is to get one whose temperament, grooming and exercise needs and personality are a fit for their lifestyle. It fails to acknowledge the benefits that local breeders bring to their community in modeling responsible dog ownership and in assisting new owners in selecting and training new pets.

The requirements in Section 5-10 regarding the sourcing of cats and dogs for retail pet stores also demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the process. In almost all cases, animals in retail establishments are obtained from USDA licensed facilities. It would be more effective and less complicated to state that animals must be obtained from facilities which have not had any major deficiencies on their USDA inspections in the last two years. This is information that is already maintained by the breeder and can be confirmed by the retail store owner. Due to the existing restrictions on hobby breeders in Miami-Dade it would be impossible for pet stores to source enough puppies locally or even using hobby breeders in other jurisdictions. Pet stores seek to offer a variety of breeds to suit the lifestyle needs of their customers. Given the existing and proposed limitation on Miami-Dade breeders, these provisions only serve to alienate breeders and further restrict the choices of residents seeking a new pet.

Due to these concerns, the American Kennel Club does not believe that this measure should be moved forward at this time. For additional questions or concerns, please contact the AKC Government Relations department at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org

Mayor Carlos Gimenez

District 1, Barbara Jordan
305-372-6028 Fax

District 2, Jean Monestime
305-375-4843 Fax

District 3, Audrey Edmonson
305-372-6104 Fax

District 4, Sally Heyman
305-372-6179 Fax

District 5, Bruno Barreiro
305-375-5904 Fax

District 6, Rebecca Sosa
305-372-6090 Fax

District 7, Xavier Suarez

District 8, Lynda Bell
305-372-6073 Fax

District 9, Dennis Moss
305-372-6011 Fax

District 10, Javier Souto
305-375-3456 Fax

District 11, Juan Zapata
305-375-5511 Phone
305-375-5883 Fax

District 12, Jose “Pepe” Diaz
305-470-1791 Fax

District 13, Esteban Bovo, Jr.
305-375-2011 Fax