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 Update on PAWS Santorum letter to Chairman Menaker

(Wednesday, January 18, 2006)
UPDATE ON PAWS

AKC Chairman, Ron Menaker, read the following letter from Senator Rick Santorum at the January 17, 2006 Delegate meeting. The text of the letter from Senator Santorum follows. View the original letter.

Mr. Ronald Menaker
Chairman of the Board
The American Kennel Club
260 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016


Dear Chairman:

I am writing to thank you once again for your participation in the Subcommittee on Research, Nutrition and General Legislation’s hearing on the Pet Animal Welfare Statute of 2005 (PAWS), and to give you a progress report on PAWS.

First, I’m pleased to report that since the hearing we have added 14 cosponsors here in the Senate, so that by the time we recessed in December PAWS had 23 Senate cosponsors. The companion bill in the House of Representatives has 129 cosponsors. Second, I stated at the November hearing that I planned to make a number of additions and improvements to PAWS to address issues raised at the hearing and in the discussion of the legislation that has taken place before and since the hearing. Although we were unable to complete that process by the Christmas recess, as I had originally hoped, we have been working hard on it, and I am pleased to report that I expect to release a discussion draft by the end of this month.

This discussion draft will include the provisions I outlined at the hearing, including a clarification of the numerical criteria for "dealers" an explicit exemption for shelter and rescue organizations, and clarification of the definition of "retail pet store." This draft will also clarify that persons who sell dogs for hunting, security or breeding purposes cannot be singled out for any special treatment under the Act.

I’m particularly pleased to report to you that this discussion draft will also include a provision exempting from the definition of dealer retail sellers of dogs and cats who are in compliance with the standards of not-for-profit organizations such as the American Kennel Club who have kennel standards and inspection programs that the Secretary of Agriculture has certified are at least as effective as those required under the Animal Welfare Act.

As you know, writing good legislation is an on-going and painstaking process. I believe that with the help of the AKC and other interested organizations, we are creating an outstanding piece of legislation that will benefit the welfare of dogs and other animals immediately and far into the future.

Finally I want to offer my congratulations and best wishes to the AKC on the occasion of your nationally televised National Championship Dog Show in Tampa on January 14 and 15. My family and I are looking forward to watching the show and seeing some of the greatest dogs in the United States and from around the world compete for the prestigious Best in Show award.

Sincerely,
Rick Santorum
United States Senate