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Washington Alert: Bill Places Numerous Regulations on Dog Breeders and Owners

(Thursday, February 26, 2009)

A bill has been introduced in the Washington State Legislature to limit dog ownership and impose numerous regulations on responsible breeders and dog owners. All Washington responsible dog owners and breeders are encouraged to contact their State Senator and express their opposition to Senate Bill 5651.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) rejects the unsubstantiated legislative findings of Senate Bill 5651, which state that large-scale breeding increases the likelihood that dogs will be denied basic care, and suggest that large scale breeding facilities are more likely to fall below even the most basic standards of humane housing and husbandry. These findings, among others, incorrectly imply that all large-scale breeders are irresponsible by nature, and ignore the many responsible breeders who care for their dogs and ensure they are placed with good, loving homes.

AKC’s mission includes working to protect the rights of all dog owners and promoting responsible dog ownership. The AKC abhors neglectful treatment of dogs and strongly supports the humane treatment including providing an adequate and nutritious diet, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsive human companionship and training in appropriate behavior–regardless of whether the dogs are in a kennel, shelter, or even someone’s home. AKC also believes that numerical limits do not address the underlying issues of responsible ownership and proper dog care. Instead, the AKC supports reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of all dogs without restricting the rights of owners or breeders who take their responsibilities seriously.

If adopted, Senate Bill 5651 (click here to read the bill) would impose numerous unenforceable provisions. These include:

  • Prohibiting tail docking, ear cropping, debarking, and surgical birth except under anesthesia from a licensed veterinarian.
  • Prohibiting anyone from owning, possessing, controlling, or having charge or custody of more than 50 "breeding" dogs over the age of six months at any time.
  • Allowing for a warrantless search by any animal control officer or "other authorized public health or safety official", either upon the receipt of a complaint or upon "the officer’s own motion".
  • Exempting public animal shelters, nonprofit humane societies/animal adoption organizations, veterinary facilities, retail pet stores, research institutions, boarding facilities, and grooming facilities from the standards of care required in this bill.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • We urge all responsible dog breeders and owners in Washington to contact their State Senator and respectfully, yet strongly urge them to oppose Senate Bill 5651.

For a sample letter to personalize and send, click here.

Click here to find the name and contact information for your State Senator.

RESOURCES:

For tips on how to effectively communicate with legislators, please click here. For a copy of our Disagree Diplomatically brochure, please click here.

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