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Minnesota Alert: Breeders Bills Up for Consideration on Jan. 27

(Friday, January 23, 2009)

Two Minnesota Senate proposals, SF 7 and SF 201, each featuring different breeder regulation proposals, will be heard on Tuesday, January 27, by the Senate Agriculture and Veterans Affairs Committee. It is vitally important that all responsible dog breeders and owners in Minnesota attend Tuesday’s committee hearing to express their positions on these bills or contact the committee members prior to the committee hearing to express their concerns with these bills.

The American Kennel Club’s mission includes working to protect the rights of all dog owners and promoting responsible dog ownership. The AKC strongly supports the humane treatment of dogs, including provision of an adequate and nutritious diet, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsive human companionship and training in appropriate behavior.

SENATE FILE 7

Sponsored by Senator Don Betzold, SF 7 (click here for the bill’s text) seeks to establish strict regulatory requirements for breeders, to require inspections of breeders’ facilities, and to impose undisclosed fee increases upon breeders. The proposed changes in this bill include:

  • Changing the definition of "breeder" to those who own 6 or more intact adult females, defined as any dog over 24 weeks old, for breeding purposes and who are engaged in the business of direct or indirect sale or exchange.
  • Limiting, by July 2010, the number of dogs a breeder may keep at a facility for the purpose of breeding to 50.
  • Requiring all breeders to obtain an annual license for each facility they own and operate. Additionally, the statement must include the number of adult dogs and the estimated number of puppies to be kept, housed, and maintained at the facility for the year. Licenses must be prominently displayed in each facility.
  • Mandating all breeders to pay an undisclosed fee to register their facility.
  • Calling for the annual inspection of each facility, with no advance notice required.
  • Imposing strict requirements for breeders beyond current federal and local laws and regulations.

If passed and signed into law, the changes proposed in this legislation would have a significant, negative impact on dog breeders in Minnesota. The changes proposed in Senate Bill 7 are impractical, costly, and unenforceable: Most importantly, will not improve the quality of life for dogs in Minnesota. It is imperative that breeders and concerned dog owners contact their senator and committee members to express their opposition to Senate Bill 7.

SENATE FILE 201

Sponsored by Senator Steve Dille, this bill (click here for the bill’s text) seeks to provide for the registration of, and standards of care applicable to, dog and cat breeders in Minnesota. Substantially different from SF 7, SF 201 seeks to:

  • Permit animal control authorities to charge dog breeders unidentified "reasonable" fees for registration.
  • Define "breeder" as someone other than a hobby breeder, who is engaged in the business of breeding animals for sale and who possesses 20 or more intact adult females for the purposes of breeding.
  • Defines "hobby breeder" as someone who is engaged in the business of breeding animals for direct sale and who possesses less than 10 intact adult females for the purpose of breeding. It is unclear how those owning between 11-19 intact adult females would be regulated.
  • Require breeders to register, by March 1, 2010, with the local animal control authority. Registration is required every four years thereafter.
  • Allow breeders the option of complying with USDA care standards or complying with standards issued by the Commissioner of Agriculture.
  • Limit investigations to only those instances when a formal complaint alleging violations of standards of care is received by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health, a local animal control authority, a peace officer, or a feedlot inspector.
  • Allow breeders 30 days after notification to correct any violations found during an investigation.
  • Permit seizure of affected animals only in cases where a breeder has not corrected a violation after 30 days and only if such violations threaten the health and welfare of an animal.

AKC is concerned with several provisions contained in SF 201, including, but not limited to: the threshold discrepancy between the definitions to "breeder" and "hobby breeder"; the undetermined fee to be charged for dog breeders to register with local animal control authorities; and the potential that, if breeders opt to adhere to regulatory standards of care issued by the Commissioner, such standards may be unreasonable and onerous without public input. The American Kennel Club Government Relations Department encourages all concerned responsible dog breeders and owners in Minnesota to contact the committee members listed below and express your concerns about the provisions of SF 201.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Attend the Agriculture and Veterans Committee hearing on Tuesday, January 27, 2009, at 3:00 p.m. and express your positions on these bills. The hearing will be held at:

Minnesota State Capitol Building
Room 107
75 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, Minnesota 55155

  • Contact the members of the Minnesota Senate Agriculture and Veterans Committee to express your opposition.

Chairman: Jim Vickerman
(651) 296-5650
Click here to contact Chairman Vickerman

Vice-Chair: Sharon Erickson Ropes
(651) 296-5649
sen.sharon.erickson.ropes@senate.mn

Ranking Minority Member: Steve Dille
(651) 296-4131
sen.steve.dille@senate.mn

Satveer Chaudhary
(651) 296-4334
sen.satveer.chaudhary@senate.mn

Lisa Fobbe
(651) 296-8075
sen.lisa.fobbe@senate.mn

Joe Gimse
(651) 296-3826
sen.joe.gimse@senate.mn

David Hann
(651) 296-1749
Click here to contact Senator Hann

Bill Ingebrigtsen
(651) 297-8063
sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn

Paul Koering
(651) 296-4875
sen.paul.koering@senate.mn

Gary Kubly
(651) 296-5094
sen.gary.kubly@senate.mn

Keith Langseth
(651) 296-3205
Click here to contact Senator Langseth

Tony Lourey
(651) 296-0293
sen.tony.lourey@senate.mn

Steve Murphy
(651) 296-0293
Click here to contact Senator Murphy

Rod Skoe
(651) 296-4196
sen.rod.skoe@senate.mn

Dan Skogen
(651) 296-5655
sen.dan.skogen@senate.mn

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org.