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WV Update: Strict Breeder Bill Passes Committee

(Wednesday, February 23, 2011)

Yesterday the West Virginia House Judiciary Committee passed House Bill 2883, which seeks to limit dog ownership and restrict breeding. It is imperative that all responsible dog owners and breeders in West Virginia contact your State Delegate and ask them to vote "no" on HB 2883.

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

Click here for a sample letter to personalize.

Click here to read the AKC’s letter to the West Virginia House of Delegates.

Summary:

As introduced, House Bill 2883 defines "commercial dog breeder" as anyone who maintains 11 or more intact dogs over one year of age and "is engaged in the business of breeding animals for direct or indirect sale." Those licensed by the USDA would not be exempt. Only those who hold an occupational permit and have registered a greyhound kennel name with the West Virginia Racing Commission would be exempt from this bill.

All licensees would be subject to inspection at least twice a year. Five days’ notice would be given prior to the inspection.

The AKC strongly supports the humane treatment of dogs, including providing an adequate and nutritious diet, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsive human companionship and training in appropriate behavior. We also support current West Virginia law, which, among other provisions, makes it unlawful for anyone to withhold proper sustenance, protective shelter and medical treatment.

However, the AKC is gravely concerned by a number of provisions in this bill as introduced including:

  • Ownership Limits – Breeders would be limited to owning 50 intact dogs over one year of age. Limits on dog ownership are arbitrary and ineffective, and punish responsible dog owners who take excellent care of their animals. Additionally, breeders would be given only 30 days to comply with the limit, meaning that many dogs would likely end up in local shelters and/or euthanized at taxpayers’ expense. Click here for talking points on animal limit laws.
  • Breeding age limits – A dog may only be bred if it is between the ages of 18 months and 8 years. The AKC believes that the decision to breed should be made by the breeder in conjunction with their veterinarian, and not subject to arbitrary government restrictions.
  • Problematic new engineering standards – House Bill 2883 creates numerous new engineering standards and requirements for commercial breeding kennels. Current law already addresses the issues of proper shelter, sustenance, and acts of animal cruelty, rendering House Bill 2015 an unnecessary burden on responsible West Virginia breeders, law enforcement officers, and taxpayers.

Read AKC’s Issue Analysis "The Value of Responsible Dog Breeders"
Read AKC’s Issue Brief on Responsible Breeding Practices

The AKC Government Relations Department will provide more information as it becomes available. Contact us at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.