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Bad North Carolina Bill Likely To Return Next Week: Opposition Needed To Stop This Bill Now

(Thursday, July 23, 2009)

Senate Bill 460, a bill that seeks to unnecessarily regulate the operations of dog breeders in North Carolina remains under consideration in the state Senate. The AKC believes the bill is likely to be scheduled for consideration by the full Senate as early as next Tuesday. With your help and participation over the next several days, we can prevent this bill from passing the Senate, and we can kill this bill for the remainder of the year.

The American Kennel Club and the North Carolina Federation of Dog Clubs continue to oppose SB 460. The state Department of Agriculture does not support this bill. Your Senators need to hear that you, their constituents, also oppose this bill.

We have already made a difference. Thanks to the calls and letters that you sent to North Carolina Senators early this month, the Senate delayed voting on the bill on July 8. We are now approaching the end of the session, and it is imperative that we send the message once again that responsible dog owners and breeders oppose this onerous, unnecessary, and expensive legislation.

Problematic provisions of SB 460 include the following:

  • Vague definition of "commercial breeder". Commercial breeder" is defined as someone who owns 15 or more intact females "of breeding age" and 30 or more puppies." It is unclear if these numbers refer to the number of dogs on the property at one time, or if this is cumulative over the course of a year. The bill makes a special exception for some kennels or establishments that operate for the purpose of boarding or training certain dogs. However, it is unclear if breeders who also train and sell puppies are exempt from the licensing requirement.
  • Inspections of private property at any time. The bill allows law enforcement and local animal control to search the homes and private property at any time of day or night of anyone who falls under the definition of "commercial breeder".
  • Allowing for seizure of animals for those who do not comply with the new regulations—with no opportunity to come into compliance. If a commercial breeder is unlicensed, animals will be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment and may be sold or euthanized. The AKC believes that breeders should be given the opportunity to come into compliance with the law.
  • Directive for the NC Department of Agriculture to develop standards of care with no public input. SB 460 calls for the Department of Agriculture to develop care and condition policies for dogs belonging to commercial breeders. This does not allow for any input from dog breeders and others who are experts in animal care.

Senate Bill 460 will do nothing to address irresponsible breeding, consumer protection, or cruelty/negligence, but it will cost the state over $400,000 a year to enforce. At a time when our state is facing a projected $4 billion budget gap, enforcement of existing laws would be a better use of taxpayers’ money.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Contact your Senators, identify yourself as a constituent (tell them the town you live in), tell them you oppose SB 460, and respectfully urge them to also oppose this bill. We ask that should you decide to e-mail, you also call their offices.

See links below for assistance in contacting your Senator.

To find your Senator, visit the North Carolina General Assembly web site and type your zip code in the "Who Represents Me?" box on the right side of the page.

View basic phone scripts for breeders and fanciers.

Click here for a sample letter to personalize.

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