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Strict Breeder Oversight Bills on the Move in Minnesota

(Tuesday, March 24, 2009)

Two bills that seek to provide strict oversight of responsible dog breeders are on the move in Minnesota. It is imperative that concerned responsible dog breeders and owners in Minnesota contact their elected officials in St. Paul as well as the appropriate committee members listed below, and express their opposition to the bills as they are currently written.

HF 253

Minnesota House File 253, sponsored by Representative Tom Tillberry of Fridley, seeks to impose licensure and standards of care upon dog and cat breeders. While the bill has been amended, several problematic provisions remain. The American Kennel Club’s Government Relations Department understands that the bill is up for three, short notice committee hearings this week.

As currently written, HF 253:

  • Allows the use of private contributions to fund the development and administration of the licensing program. This allows private organizations to become arms of the government—not only would they be able to write, propose, and fund their legislative agendas, but this would also permit them to enforce "their" law.
  • Exempts rescue groups, humane societies, and animal control authorities from the standards of care commercial breeders would have to provide should the bills be enacted.
  • Duplicates provisions of the federal Animal Welfare Act and the licensing provisions of the United States Department of Agriculture, making the bills unnecessary.
  • Is unnecessary because current Minnesota law already addresses animal cruelty, care and housing in animal facilities.

The American Kennel Club has also learned, contrary to some reports, that responsible dog and cat breeders, sportsmen and hunting groups have not been invited to offer any input in the writing of these bills. This is of great concern, as these groups will be greatly impacted should either of these bills be adopted.

SF 7

Senate File 7, sponsored by Senator Don Betzold of Fridley, also 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.

Based on recent public comments by Senator Betzold, the Government Relations Department also expects this bill will be heard by the Senate Agriculture and Veterans Committee soon.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Concerned Minnesota Residents should contact their elected officials in St. Paul as well as the appropriate committee members listed below, and express their opposition to HF 253 and SF 7 as written.

  • Minnesota residents: To find your state representative and state senator, click here.
  • For HF 253, contact the members of the House Civil Justice Committee and let them know you oppose the bill:

Representative Joe Mullery, Chair
(651) 296-4262
E-mail: rep.joe.mullery@house.mn

Representative Gail Kulick Jackson, Vice-Chair
(651) 296-6746
E-mail: rep.gailkulick.jackson@house.mn

Representative Steve Drazkowski
(651) 296-2273
E-mail: rep.steve.drazkowski@house.mn

Representative Bobby Joe Champion
(651) 296-8659
E-mail: rep.bobby.champion@house.mn

Representative Debra Hilstrom
(651) 296-3709
E-mail: rep.debra.hilstrom@house.mn

Representative Mary Liz Holberg
(651) 296-6926
E-mail: rep.maryliz.holberg@house.mn

Representative Melissa Hortman
(651) 296-4280
E-mail: rep.melissa.hortman@house.mn

Representative Sheldon Johnson
(651) 296-4201
E-mail: rep.sheldon.johnson@house.mn

Representative Tim Kelly
(651) 296-8635
E-mail: rep.tim.kelly@house.mn

Representative Tim Mahoney
(651) 296-4277
E-mail: rep.tim.mahoney@house.mn

Representative Dave Olin
(651) 296-9635
E-mail: rep.dave.olin@house.mn

Representative Michael Paymar
(651) 296-4199
E-mail: rep.michael.paymar@house.mn

Representative Peggy Scott
(651) 296-4231
E-mail: rep.peggy.scott@house.mn

Representative Torrey Westrom
(651) 296-4929
E-mail: rep.torrey.westrom@house.mn

  • For SF 7, contact the members of the Senate Agriculture and Veterans Committee and let them know you oppose the bill as currently written:

Senator Jim Vickerman, Chair
(651) 296-5650
E-mail: Click here to contact Chairman Vickerman

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

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

Senator Satveer Chaudhary
(651) 296-4334
E-mail: sen.satveer.chaudhary@senate.mn

Senator Lisa Fobbe
(651) 296-8075
E-mail: sen.lisa.fobbe@senate.mn

Senator Joe Gimse
(651) 296-3826
E-mail: sen.joe.gimse@senate.mn

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

Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen
(651) 297-8063
E-mail: sen.bill.ingebrigtsen@senate.mn

Senator Paul Koering
(651) 296-4875
E-mail: sen.paul.koering@senate.mn

Senator Gary Kubly
(651) 296-5094
E-mail: sen.gary.kubly@senate.mn

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

Senator Tony Lourey
(651) 296-0293
E-mail: sen.tony.lourey@senate.mn

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

Senator Rod Skoe
(651) 296-4196
E-mail: sen.rod.skoe@senate.mn

Senator Dan Skogen
(651) 296-5655
E-mail: sen.dan.skogen@senate.mn

Please return to www.akc.org for the latest developments regarding HF 253 and SF 7. For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720; or e-mail doglaw@akc.org.