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Oklahoma Info: HB 2921 Seeks To Help Cure Problems With 2010 Breeder Law

(Monday, February 27, 2012)

Oklahoma House Bill 2921 seeks to create the Commercial Pet Breeders Act of 2012 and make significant changes to the state's oversight of dog breeders. The bill was recently passed unanimously by the House Agriculture Committee, and awaits further direction. The American Kennel Club and our Oklahoma federation, the Oklahoma Animal Interest Alliance, both support the bill as an important step toward fair governmental oversight of dog breeders in Oklahoma. Dog breeders and owners throughout the Sooner State are strongly encouraged to contact their representatives and express their strong support of HB 2921.

AKC's POSITION ON BREEDER BILLS: The American Kennel Club strongly supports the humane treatment of dogs, including an adequate and nutritious diet, clean water, clean living conditions, regular veterinary care, kind and responsible human companionship, and training in appropriate behavior. The AKC also supports reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of purebred dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who take their responsibilities seriously.
Since its passage in 2010, the Oklahoma Commercial Pet Breeders Act created a confusing mix of laws and resulting regulations that many licensed breeders found burdensome and hard to comply with. HB 2921 seeks to help cure those problems by repealing the existing law and replacing it with a new and comprehensive Commercial Pet Breeder Act of 2012. Among its many provisions, the new law would make the following changes to current law:

  • Dissolve the controversial Commercial Pet Breeder Board and move breeder oversight and rulemaking powers to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry. The AKC believes this change will result in subject matter experts providing oversight of the regulatory program, and will prove to better represent the interests of responsible dog breeders.

  • Define "adult animals" as intact female animals 12 months of age or older. This represents a clearer and more appropriate definition of "adult animal" than in current law, which describes an animal six months of age or older as an adult.

  • Define "intact female animal" as a female animal at the second estrus cycle or one-and-a-half years of age, whichever comes first and is capable of sexual reproduction. This represents another change from current law, which describes an intact female animal as any female animal that has not been spayed and is capable of sexual reproduction.

HB 2921 also maintains several aspects of the current law. First, the threshold for qualifying as a commercial breeder remains – i.e., any individual, entity, association, trust, or corporation that possesses eleven or more adult intact female animals for the use of breeding for dealing in animals for direct or indirect sale or for exchange in return for consideration will be considered a commercial breeder and be subject to the Act. Additionally, the bill also requires licensing of those considered commercial breeders, annual inspection of their premises, and annual reporting of their activities; and provides penalties for violations of the Act. The AKC believes that continuity of these existing aspects will help provide stability to the state's efforts.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
It is imperative that Oklahoma's responsible dog breeders and owners contact their elected state representatives and let them know you support HB 2921 as an important step toward fair oversight of dog breeders in Oklahoma.

Click here to find your Oklahoma state legislators.

The American Kennel Club will continue to provide updates on HB 2921 as developments warrant. For more information on HB 2921 or any other pending legislation in your area, contact AKC's Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org; or contact Dr. Denise Travis of the Oklahoma Animal Interest Alliance at dogdoc88@flash.net.