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IA Update: Hobbyists and Breeders Encouraged to Keep Asking the Senate to Oppose SF 2254

(Friday, March 14, 2014)
AKC Club Members, Breeders, and Fanciers in Iowa:

The AKC thanks the many breeders, fanciers and Iowa exhibitors who have taken the time to contact the Iowa Senate about Senate File 2254, which would have a very damaging and dangerous impact on responsible breeders and hobbyists in the state.

We also thank the breeders, fanciers, and exhibitors who have been willing to work together to fight this dangerous measure that is not in the best interest of dogs or dog breeders. A strong, united voice makes a difference!

Animal rights activists are continuing to pressure the Iowa Senate to pass this legislation, and are disseminating misinformation about the true impact of this bill. Please continue to contact the Senate and ask them to support responsible dog breeding in Iowa by opposing Senate File 2254. Even if you have already contacted the Senate, please take the time to contact them again. If you received a positive response, please thank the Senator and ask them to continue to oppose SF 2254.

AKC Government Relations has created a sample letter to personalize to help you communicate to the Senate why it is important to support responsible dog breeders and fanciers by opposing this bill. Click here to find the name and contact information for your State Senator. Contact information for the full Senate can be found here.

Understanding Current Law and “Exemptions”:

Current Iowa law defines a "commercial breeder" as someone who sells, exchanges, or leases dogs (or even offers to do so) in return for consideration.

Questions have been raised as to whether an exemption would protect certain breeders and hobbyists. An exemption already exists in law for anyone who keeps dogs for "hunting, for practice training, for exhibition at shows or field or obedience trials". However, this does not truly exempt hobbyists and exhibitors from the law. If a person has four or more intact dogs and receives any kind of consideration for breeding, they are considered a commercial breeder and must be licensed and comply with commercial breeder laws. The term "consideration" is not defined.

This means that dogs kept for hunting, field trials and dog shows are exempted only if they are not kept for breeding (for example, if you own four intact dogs, participate in a conformation show then provide your dog as a stud dog, you are not exempt). It is also unclear whether any current or future exemptions to the law would only apply to those currently participating in these activities, and how it would impact those who have retired show/hunting dogs or have dogs they are not currently showing but do choose to breed.

Current law already impacts dog breeders, hobbyists, and many AKC club members. SF 2254 would create even more regulations for those who breed or own intact dogs in Iowa.

Talking Points:

As currently written, SF 2254 would be detrimental to responsible Iowa dog owners and breeders and make it virtually impossible for responsible dog owners and breeders to continue to raise quality, healthy purebred dogs. We have numerous concerns with this bill, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Prohibiting breeders from being involved in rescue activities – This bill prohibits any “commercial breeder” from owning, operating, or maintaining a controlling interest in an “animal shelter”. Many breeders not only ensure the puppies they raise are placed in loving, safe homes, they also provide significant resources to rescue activities including time, expertise and housing. This would prohibit them from engaging in these important activities that help ensure the long term health and wellbeing of all dogs.
  • Significantly increasing license fees – Under SF 2254, breeders would be required to pay a fee that is significantly higher than that in current law. This is an extensive burden on breeders – particularly considering the numerous expensive, engineering changes they may be required to make to their kennels to be in compliance with this law (for example, one requirement would be to make all primary enclosures three times the current USDA requirement by 2015). The bill also mentions that the fees could impact those who keep at least one dog.

    Furthermore, these increased fees would be deposited in a new “animal rescue remediation fund.” Current law already allows the court to require someone accused of cruelty to post a bond during the hearing to pay for the care of the animals, rendering this unnecessary and duplicative.
  • Mandating inspections of all “commercial breeders” – Under SF 2254, anyone who meets the definition of “commercial breeder” must make their premises available for inspection during normal business hours as a condition of obtaining or renewing a license. This is of particular concern to people who keep a few dogs in their home and do not have “normal business hours”, because they could find themselves in violation of state law simply for keeping intact dogs and not being at home when the inspector happens to come by. It is also an unnecessary and costly drain on state resources.

For questions or more information on this bill, please contact AKC Government Relations at (919) 816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.