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Nebraska Set to Approve Further Regulations on All Dog Breeders

(Thursday, February 02, 2012)

Legislative Bill 427, and amendments adopted by the Agriculture Committee seek to further regulate “commercial dog breeders” in Nebraska. 

Current law defines “commercial breeders” as anyone who owns or harbors four or more intact dogs or cats, who sells at least 31 dogs and cats per year, whose dogs/cats produce four or more litters per year, or who knowingly sells or leases dogs/cats for later retail sale or brokered trade. 

While the AKC appreciates the numerous amendments made to this bill to remove restrictive breeding regulations, a major concern still remains. With this low threshold in current law, LB 427 would require anyone who owns four intact dogs over the age of six months – which includes many pet owners – to comply with regulations designed for large commercial kennels. Specific requirements that are appropriate for large commercial enterprises may not be appropriate or compatible with ordinary pet ownership, ownership of hunting or working dogs, or small-scale hobby breeding activities that would be regulated by this measure.

Background:

Under existing “commercial breeder” regulations, those who fall under the state definition of “commercial breeder” are already required to be licensed and inspected at least once every two years by the state, as well as comply with basic standards of care such as maintaining sanitary conditions; providing adequate food and clean water; providing adequate socialization and exercise; and primary enclosure requirements. Current law also requires that breeders develop and maintain a veterinary care plan in conjunction with a veterinarian and provide veterinary care “without delay when necessary.”

The AKC strongly believes that all dogs deserve to live in safe, healthy environments, and that they should not be kept in conditions where their basic needs are not met. We believe that current law already addresses these concerns. The new regulations outlined in Legislative Bill 427 place undue, unnecessary and expensive burdens on responsible hobby breeders and owners of intact dogs.

These new regulations include providing unfettered access to an outdoor exercise area (with specific construction requirements) that is three times the size of a primary enclosure. It is unclear how this will affect those who keep dogs in their home and not in crates or other enclosures. Other regulations include scheduling regular onsite visits by a veterinarian.

How You Can Help:

Unlike other state legislatures, the Nebraska Legislature has only one chamber. Since the bill has already passed committee, it has only one more step before going to the Governor.

We encourage all responsible dog owners and breeders to contact their State Senator TODAY and ask that the Legislature remove the line from current law that defines a “commercial breeder” as someone with four intact dogs. Please also express any other concerns you have with Legislative Bill 427. Use this link to find your State Senator and their contact information.

View a sample letter to personalize

Contact the AKC Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org for any questions or the latest information.