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Miami-Dade County to Consider Anti-Breeder Ordinance on Tuesday April 8th

(Friday, April 04, 2014)
Dear AKC Delegates, Club Officers, Legislative Liaisons and Breeders,

Please review and forward this information to your club members in the Miami-Dade area.

Next week, the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners will consider an expansion of the anti-breeder ordinance originally adopted in 2008. The measure will place additional restrictions on hobby breeders, expand the definition of “breeder” and “pet dealers”, and restrict the business of retail pet stores.

The American Kennel Club objected to the original 2008 ordinance and believes that expanding it further will not improve animal control in Miami-Dade County. AKC encourages responsible owners and breeders to attend this meeting and oppose this expansion of an already unfair law. If you are unable to attend the meeting please contact the commissioners at the phone number and/or email addresses listed below.

Miami-Dade County Commission Meeting
Date: Tuesday, April 8th
Time: 9:30 AM
Location: Commission Chambers, 111 NW First Street, Miami, Florida 33128

Points to Consider:
Prior to expanding this law, Commissioners should produce data about the way in which the ordinance has functioned in the last 5 years. The intent of this legislation was to identify and address substandard breeders, and to reduce the shelter population as a result. Can the County Commissioners provide documentation about the success of the current ordinance as a reason for expanding it? If it has not been successful, then they should consider revisiting the idea of restricting responsible breeders and look at more effective ways to address shelter population issues such as education about responsible dog ownership, curtailing importation of homeless animals from outside the county into local shelters/rescues if applicable, and improving availability of low and no-cost spay/neuter services.

Current law in Miami Dade limits hobby breeders to two litters per year and any person, even a hobby breeder, who has more than 4 dogs on a property of less than an acre, is considered a kennel. The expanded definition of “breeder” means that any breeder who does not qualify as a hobby breeder will be considered a kennel. Kennels are subject to warrantless inspections and compliance with specific keeping requirements.

In the proposal before the County Commissioners, Section 5-9 is expanded with additional care standards. In general, responsible breeders exceed these standards; however there are some which are objectionable. For example, in Section 5-9 (f) breeders are prohibited from breeding a female more than once a year. However, a breeding does not always result in whelping a litter and these are decisions that should be made by breeders in consultation with their veterinarians. Section 5-9 (4) (ii) provides that puppies and kittens (less than 6 months old) shall not be housed with adult animals other than the dam or surrogate dam. This only makes sense for unweaned animals, not for a 4-month-old puppy. These provisions demonstrate a lack of understanding about animal husbandry and should be corrected.

Further, Section 5-10 of the ordinance will codify inflammatory and offensive language regarding breeders, implying that all breeders are irresponsible and inhumane. It asserts that obtaining a shelter pet is superior to purchasing one from a responsible breeder without acknowledging that the paramount need of a family in getting a new pet is to get one whose temperament, grooming and exercise needs and personality are a fit for their lifestyle. It fails to acknowledge the benefits that local breeders bring to their community in modeling responsible dog ownership and in assisting new owners in selecting and training new pets.

The requirements in Section 5-10 regarding the sourcing of cats and dogs for retail pet stores also demonstrates a lack of knowledge about the process. In almost all cases, animals in retail establishments are obtained from USDA licensed facilities. It would be more effective and less complicated to state that animals must be obtained from facilities which have not had any major deficiencies on their USDA inspections in the last two years. This is information that is already maintained by the breeder and can be confirmed by the retail store owner.

Due to these concerns, the American Kennel Club does not believe that this measure should be moved forward at this time. For additional questions or concerns, please contact the AKC Government Relations department at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez
305-375-5071
mayor@miamidade.gov

District 1, Barbara Jordan
305-375-5694
305-372-6028 Fax
bjordan@miamidade.gov

District 2, Jean Monestime
305-375-4833
305-375-4843 Fax
district2@miamidade.gov

District 3, Audrey Edmonson
305-375-5393
305-372-6104 Fax
district3@miamidade.gov

District 4, Sally Heyman
305-375-5128
305-372-6179 Fax
district4@miamidade.gov

District 5, Bruno Barreiro
305-375-5924
305-375-5904 Fax
district5@miamidade.gov

District 6, Rebecca Sosa
305-375-5696
305-372-6090 Fax
district6@miamidade.gov

District 7, Xavier Suarez
305-375-5680
District7@miamidade.gov

District 8, Lynda Bell
305-375-5218
305-372-6073 Fax
District8@miamidade.gov

District 9, Dennis Moss
305-375-4832
305-372-6011 Fax
DennisMoss@miamidade.gov

District 10, Javier Souto
305-375-4835
305-375-3456 Fax
district10@miamidade.gov

District 11, Juan Zapata
305-375-5511 Phone
305-375-5883 Fax
Zapata@miamidade.gov

District 12, Jose “Pepe” Diaz
305-599-1200
305-470-1791 Fax
District12@miamidade.gov

District 13, Esteban Bovo, Jr.
305-375-4831
305-375-2011 Fax
district13@miamidade.gov