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NC Breeder's Bill Passes by a Single Vote; Moves to the House

(Wednesday, August 05, 2009)
The North Carolina Senate passed SB 460 this evening by a vote of 23-22. While the AKC appreciates the many changes that were made to the bill yesterday we remain concerned that the bill has been too rushed to allow time for legislators and the public to adequately review the bill and fully understand its implications. The AKC also believes that SB 460 is unnecessary, as North Carolina already has strong laws that address any cruel or negligent treatment of animals.

The AKC Government Relations Department thanks the North Carolina Federation, its coalition partners, and all the many clubs and individuals who have worked so hard over the past six months to defeat SB 460.

This bill will now go to the House, where it will be introduced and assigned to one or more committees. It is likely there may not be sufficient time in the remainder of this year's session to take up the bill. However, we fully expect that this bill will be brought up in the House either in the remainder of this session or next year.

The AKC continues to oppose a number of problematic provisions in the latest version of the bill, including:

  • Vague definitions of "commercial breeder" and licensing requirements- Commercial breeder is defined as someone who owns 15 or more intact females "of breeding age" and 30 or more puppies. It remains unclear whether these numbers refer to the number of dogs on the property at one certain time, or if this is cumulative over the course of a year. Kennels or establishments that operate for the purpose of boarding or training hunting, sporting, herding, show, or working dogs are exempted from the licensing requirements. The bill does not exempt the breeders of such dogs. It is also unclear if someone who trains show dogs, but also sells puppies is exempt from the licensing requirement.
  • New, problematic legislative findings. The new version of SB 460 inserts eight legislative findings into the bill. We believe that some of these findings are based on unsubstantiated claims. Furthermore, the findings claim that the bill does not interfere with a person's right to participate in hunting and working activities with their dog. The actual bill, however, states that only those who board or train dogs for show, hunting, working, etc. are exempted. Those that breed these dogs are still subject to the provisions of the bill.
  • Unclear enforcement provisions. It appears that the bill seeks to exclusively empower localities to investigate violations. However, should the bill be enacted, this provision would appear in a section of existing law that empowers the State Director of Animal Welfare to investigate violations. These contradictory provisions could effectively create an unfunded mandate in which localities would be responsible for the cost of state-generated enforcement activities.

The new version of this bill also would establish an Internet "registry" of all North Carolinians who would fall under the vaguely-defined "commercial" definition. While this online list might be good advertising for true commercial breeders, the AKC believes that this may be an intrusion of the privacy rights of hobby (show, hunting, working, etc.) breeders.

The AKC Government Relations Department will provide updated information on our web site as it becomes available.

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