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URGENT: Oklahoma Measure Would Restrict Movement of Breeders and Allow for Unreasonable Search and Seizure

(Tuesday, February 17, 2009)

The AKC is extremely concerned about provisions in Oklahoma House Bill 1332, as written, and urges all Oklahoma dog fanciers, owners and breeders to contact their representatives to express their concerns.

The AKC promotes responsible dog ownership, responsible breeding practices, enforcement of cruelty laws, reasonable inspection programs and nuisance regulations. However, HB 1332 does not improve the welfare of animals and would punish fanciers, breeders and responsible owners who participate in dog sports and/or breed in Oklahoma.

The AKC is disappointed that although the bill’s sponsor agreed to address concerns about this measure voiced by the AKC and its federation prior to bringing the measure to the floor, these discussions have not yet taken place.
Provisions of HB 1332 would:

  • Duplicate existing federal laws and also require that anyone who is a breeder, person, firm, corporation or other association that qualifies and is certified as a breeder, dealer, animal rescue, out-of-state dealer/breeder, shelter, or retail pet store that sells, gives away, or transfers a cumulative total of 25 or more animals of any age in any one (1) calendar be subject to licensure and inspections that mirror USDA standards. This includes all animal rescue organizations that utilize foster homes if they transfer more than 25 animals per calendar year, but excludes all shelters.
  • Stipulate that out of state breeders cannot transport animals in Oklahoma without a state license.Although substitute bill provisions allow for the exclusion of those who participate in dog shows and field trials, it does not cover those who travel into Oklahoma for other dog-related events such as training sessions, matches, hunting activities and public education events that are not classified as a dog show or field event.
  • Require the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture to develop and implement regulations pertaining to this bill, but does not guarantee public input or representation from stakeholders. Experts and responsible breeders should be consulted in the development and implementation of such regulations.
  • Provide for warrantless search and seizure by poorly-defined enforcement personnel. The measure states, "Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry personnel and agents shall have the right to enter the premises of an individual or facility and conduct inspections." The bill language does not define an "individual". This appears to leave the door open for those that do not qualify to be subjected to unwarranted searches and seizures. The legislation should state specifically that inspections/searches pertain to only those that are applicants and/or licensees.
  • Provide no element for public education or consumer protection and attaches all the responsibility to breeders. It provides no incentives for those who follow ethical guidelines established by parent breed clubs, or obtain health and genetic testing to ensure consumers have healthy quality family pets. Responsible breeders follow ethics guidelines and existing federal laws.Rather than to bring substandard kennels up to par, HB 1332 will cause them to hide from regulators, making identification and enforcement nearly impossible.

HB 1332 continues to impose punitive measures that duplicate federal efforts. This bill will have a negative impact on responsible breeders with valid USDA licenses, those that visit Oklahoma for recreation and legitimate organizations that provide a valuable rescue services to animals.
The AKC and its federation encourage animal advocates to look for solutions to community pet issues. However, HB 1332 as amended cannot solve the issues of producing healthy pets for consumers and eliminating substandard breeding practices.

What You Can Do:

  • Contact your representative in the Oklahoma General Assembly and ask him or her to oppose HB 1332. To find out who represents you in the Oklahoma State Legislature select the address tab found at this link.
  • For a sample letter to personalize, please click here.
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