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Texas House Committee to Consider Harsh Breeder Legislation

(Monday, March 30, 2009)

The Texas House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee is scheduled to consider House Bill 3180 on Wednesday, April 1. The bill features ownership limits, breeder licensing, facility inspection, and consumer protection provisions. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and its Texas federation, the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance, both oppose House Bill 3180, and encourage all concerned responsible dog breeders and owners in Texas to attend Wednesday’s hearing in opposition to the bill, or write or call the committee members (listed below) and respectfully yet strongly express your opposition to HB 3180.

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 providing an adequate and nutritious diet, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsible human companionship, and training in appropriate behavior. The AKC supports reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of dogs without restricting the rights of the many owners or breeders who take their responsibilities seriously.

The American Kennel Club believes that House Bill 3180 does not provide any viable solutions to any animal issues incumbent to Texas. Instead, HB 3180 is simply part of a radical national legislative agenda aimed at limiting the freedoms and liberties of Americans by attempting to restrict the number of animals a person can own regardless of whether proper care is provided. Bills with provisions similar to HB 3180 have been introduced with little success this year in West Virginia, Oregon, Illinois, Washington, Maryland, Florida, Indiana, Colorado, Nebraska, Minnesota, Montana, and North Carolina.

While HB 3180 does little to address enforcement of Texas' existing cruelty laws, and does not provide for education regarding the proper care of animals, many provisions currently contained in HB 3180 are problematic, including:

  • Qualifying as "commercial breeders" those who possess 11 or more intact adult female animals and who are engaged in the business of breeding animals for sale or for exchange in return for consideration; and provides for licensure and regulation of them.
  • Defining "hobby breeders" as those who possess fewer than 11 intact adult female animals and who are engaged in the business of breeding animals for sale or for exchange in return for consideration. This definition is unnecessary, as the bill does not concern "hobby breeders" beyond this definition.
  • Limiting the number of intact adult animals a commercial breeder shall possess to 50. The AKC believes that numerical limits do not address the underlying issues of responsible ownership and proper dog care.
  • Requiring the inspection of a commercial breeder’s premises prior to licensure, and at least annually thereafter without notice. Additionally, HB 3180 allows the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, a local animal control authority, a peace officer, or a humane society agent to investigate violations—to possibly include inspections—without securing a warrant from a neutral magistrate after proving probable cause. The AKC believes that to ensure privacy and due process rights are protected, any inspection should be performed pursuant to a warrant.
  • Mandating that the Department of Licensing and Regulation adopt extensive care and conditions rules, to include proper feeding, watering, shelter and confinement, sanitation, veterinary care, exercise, grooming, socialization, transportation, health, handling, staffing, and disposition of dogs. The AKC believes that such rules should be adopted after input from affected parties is considered.
  • Providing extensive yet vague consumer protection language. The AKC instead supports reasonable laws and regulations intended to protect the pet-buying public in obtaining a sound dog of the breed represented.
  • Creating the Dog and Cat Breeders Advisory Committee. HB 3180 further provides for membership to the committee, yet does not require one member to either be a licensed person or a representative of the responsible dog breeding community.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

All concerned responsible dog breeders and owners in Texas are encouraged to:

  • Attend Wednesday’s meeting of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee in opposition to HB 3180.

Texas House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
8:00AM
Room E2.016
State Capitol Extension, Austin

  • Write or call the members of the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee. Let them know that you strongly oppose HB 3180.

Representative Edmund Kuempel, Chair
Room CAP 3N.06
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0602
(512) 480-0391 Fax
To e-mail Representative Kuempel, click here.

Representative Senfronia Thompson, Vice Chair
Room 3S.6, Capitol Building
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0720
(512) 463-6306 Fax
To e-mail Representative Thompson, click here.

Representative Warren Chisum
Room CAP GW.15
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0736
(512) 463-0211 Fax
To e-mail Representative Chisum, click here.

Representative Charlie Geren
Room E2.308, Capitol Extension
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0610
(512) 463-8310 Fax
charlie.geren@house.state.tx.us

Representative Roland Gutierrez
Room E1.316, Capitol Extension
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0452
(512) 463-1447 Fax
To e-mail Representative Gutierrez, click here.

Representative Delwin Jones
Room 3S.2, Capitol Building
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0542
(512) 463-0671 Fax
To e-mail Representative Jones, click here.

Representative Mike Hamilton
Room E2.310, Capitol Extension
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0412
(512) 463-1915 Fax
To e-mail Representative Hamilton, click here.

Representative Jose Menendez
Room EXT E2.204
P.O. Box 2910
Austin, TX 78768
(512) 463-0634
(512) 463-7668 Fax
To e-mail Representative Menendez, click here.

Representative Chente Quintanilla
Room E1.218, Capitol Extension
Austin, TX 78701
(512) 463-0613
(512) 463-1237 Fax
To e-mail Representative Quintanilla, click here.

RESOURCES:

For tips on how to effectively communicate with legislators, please click here.

For a copy of our Disagree Diplomatically brochure, please click here.

For a customizable sample letter, please click here.

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

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