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Texas Breeders: Take Action Against Costly Law

(Wednesday, October 03, 2012)

On September 1, 2012, the licensing requirements of the Texas Dog and Cat Breeder Act went into effect. The American Kennel Club (AKC) and many responsible dog breeders and owners in Texas are troubled with several aspects of the licensing and oversight program. Concerned Texas residents are encouraged to contact their state legislators and make them aware, as they begin preparing for the 2013 legislative session, of the inefficacy and drain the act is likely to have on the Texas economy.

A DRAIN ON TEXAS’ ECONOMY?
In 2011, Texas House Bill 1451 was enacted as a no-cost means of providing oversight and regulation of hundreds of Texas dog breeders. All costs of administering and enforcing the statute were to be funded by revenues generated from licensing fees. Other, peripheral costs relating to promotion of consumer awareness, education seminars and training activities, and payments (bounties) for information resulting in disciplinary action against unlicensed breeders were to be funded by donations and penalty fees deposited in the statutory Training and Enforcement Account.

At this time there are a number of indications that the program’s revenues will fall far short of sustainable levels. Currently, only 87 breeder licenses have been issued by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR). This number is far short of the estimated 600 licenses required to cover the estimated $565,000 basic operational costs of the program. Instead, with a total number of issued licenses making up less than 15% of the number required for the program to be considered cost-neutral, the program will likely become a fiscal drain on Texas’ state budget.

A FAILURE AT HELPING ANIMALS?
In addition to failing to bring the estimated number of breeders into the oversight program, any positive impact on the lives of Texas’ dogs and cats may be negligible. Perhaps most significant was the recent resignation of a veterinarian member of the Licensed Breeder Advisory Committee, who after working diligently to develop the program rules for many months, expressed disappointment that responsible breeders were being disproportionately impacted while animal welfare was not being appropriately improved.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Concerned Texas residents are encouraged to contact their state legislators before they return to Austin for the 2013 biennial legislative session. Politely but strongly alert them to the program’s potentially high revenue shortfalls, its non-compliance with the zero-cost statutory mandate, and its ineffectiveness in improving animal welfare standards in Texas’ dog and cat kennels.

To locate your Texas state legislators, go to http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us.

For a sample e-mail to use when contacting legislators, click here.

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail doglaw@akc.org.

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