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LOUISIANA: ACTION NEEDED NOW: HB 163 TO BE HEARD THURSDAY!

(Tuesday, April 10, 2012)

LOUISIANA: ACTION NEEDED NOW: HB 163 TO BE HEARD THURSDAY!

[Tuesday, April 10, 2012]

The American Kennel Club Government Relations Department has learned that Louisiana House Bill 163, a bill which further threatens the rights of responsible dog owners and breeders with ownership limits and vague care and conditions standards, will be considered on Thursday, April 12, 2012, by the Louisiana House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development. The American Kennel Club urges all concerned Louisiana dog breeders and owners to again contact Louisiana House Agriculture committee members and express your opposition to the bill, and to attend Thursday’s committee hearing and speak in opposition to the bill.

Talking points against HB 163:

· HB 163 further limits the property ownership rights of Louisiana residents. Louisiana is currently one of only four states that arbitrarily limit the number of dogs an individual may own. Current state law limits ownership to 75 dogs over the age of one year. HB 163 would remove the age qualification, meaning that even newborn puppies would be counted toward that limit. The effect of this provision will be a drastic reduction in the practical number of dogs an individual may own. For example, an active breeder raising a few litters of puppies at one time could easily go over the limit temporarily if young puppies are counted along with the individual’s adult dogs. As a result, a breeder may be forced to sell or relinquish dogs to come into compliance with the law, or face fines and jail time. The American Kennel Club strongly opposes this attempted infringement upon the rights and liberties of responsible dog breeders and owners.

· HB 163 imposes vague and inadequate care and conditions requirements. Care and conditions standards that are vague will prove difficult for breeders to comply with and difficult for officials to enforce. The proposal also fails to provide for key aspects of accepted animal husbandry practices, including cleanliness standards. The American Kennel Club believes that any care and conditions standards imposed should be clear in their goals and allow owners reasonable leeway to achieve those goals while also providing care that is appropriate for the breed, age, and health status of the dogs kept.

· HB 163 prohibits the use of stacked cages. Based on the bill’s wording, this can impact any stacking of enclosures—in homes and kennels, during transport and at events, including dog shows. This provision will have far-reaching impacts on both dog owners and event-giving clubs. By not permitting the stacking of enclosures in a safe and sanitary manner, owners will not be able to take advantage of the efficiencies that stacking allows, and may be forced to sell or relinquish dogs or to purchase new facilities to comply with the requirement. Additionally, AKC-affiliated clubs will face detrimental financial impacts by being forced to find larger facilities, or endure far fewer entries at their events. In both cases, a person unable to comply with this requirement will face fines or jail time.

· Prohibits the use of wire flooring. In addition to running against the standards afforded licensees under the federal Animal Welfare Act, this provision fails to consider that wire of proper size, spacing, and coating, when used properly and kept in good repair, both ensures the safety of the dogs kept in an enclosure and promotes proper sanitation by allowing animal wastes to fall into catch pans instead of remaining in the enclosure with, and threatening the health of, the animal.

Click here to see our previous posts urging opposition to HB 163.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: It is imperative that all concerned Louisiana residents immediately contact the committee members listed below and respectfully urge them to vote against HB 163. Click here for a sample letter to customize then send when contacting Louisiana legislators about HB 163.

Representative John F. “Andy” Anders, Chairman
Email: larep021@legis.la.gov

Representative Bob Hensgens, Vice Chair
Email: hensgensb@legis.la.gov

Representative Richard T. Buford
Email: burfordr@legis.la.gov

Representative Henry L. Burns
Email: burnsh@legis.la.gov

Representative Thomas Carmody
Email: carmodyt@legis.la.gov

Representative Simone B. Champagne
Email: champags@legis.la.gov

Representative Charles R. Chaney
Email: chaneyb@legis.la.gov

Representative Jerry Gisclair
Email: gisclairj@legis.la.gov

Representative John E. Guinn
Email: guinnj@legis.la.gov

Representative Lowell C. Hazel
Email: hazelc@legis.la.gov

Representative Dorothy Sue Hill
Email: hilld@legis.la.gov

Representative Frank A. Howard
Email: howardf@legis.la.gov

Representative Mike Huval
Email: huvalm@legis.la.gov

Representative Katrina R. Jackson
Email: jacksonk@legis.la.gov

Representative Robert A. Johnson
Email: johnsoro@legis.la.gov

Representative Terry Landry
Email: landryt@legis.la.gov

Representative H. Bernard LeBas
Email: lebasb@legis.la.gov

Representative Steve E. Pylant
Email: pylants@legis.la.gov

Representative Major Thibaut
Email: thibautm@legis.la.gov

Representative Chuck Kleckley, Ex Officio
Email: larep036@legis.la.gov

Representative Walt Leger III, Ex Officio
Email: legerw@legis.la.gov

Please also contact committee secretary Stacy Bourgeois at (225) 342-2411 or email at bourgeos@legis.la.gov. Let her know that you oppose HB 163 and request that the committee members vote against HB 163.

Concerned Louisiana dog breeders and owners are strongly urged to attend Thursday’s committee hearing and speak in opposition to HB 163. HB 163 is first on the committee’s agenda for consideration.

Louisiana House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture, and Rural Development.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Committee Room 3
Time: Upon Adjournment (approximate time to be determined).
900 North 3rd Street
Baton Rouge, LA 70802
Click here for directions to the State Capitol.

The AKC Government Relations Department will provide updates as developments warrant. For more information, including additional information if you are planning to attend Thursday’s committee hearing, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org.