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Tomorrow, March 20, 2015 at 9:00 a.m., the Arkansas House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development is scheduled to consider an amended version of House Bill 1620 as a special order of business. This bill would establish regulations, fees, inspections, and problematic requirements for dog breeders.

Provisions of concern with HB 1620 include, but are not limited to:

  • A “commercial breeding kennel” would be defined as a kennel that has ten or more intact female dogs over the age of six months that are maintained for the purpose of breeding offspring to sell as pets. As written, a person who owns ten intact female dogs and who sells a single puppy could be defined and regulated as a “commercial” breeder.
  • HB 1620 further states that a “commercial breeding kennel” includes without limitation “a kennel that is not registered”.  This is problematic, because in other sections of state law, a “kennel” is defined as an enterprise wherein or whereon the business of…breeding dogs for sale, and selling such dogs, is carried on… As written, HB 1620 could potentially extend regulation as a “commercial breeding kennel” to every person who breeds a litter and sells a puppy.
  • Home-based hobby breeders who are defined under HB 1620 as “commercial breeding kennels” could find themselves in violation of local zoning codes.
  • Vague exclusions for certain hunting and working dogs have been added to the amended bill. However it is unclear, for example, if a breeder of “hunting dogs” would be exempt from regulation if a dog that he or she sold for the “express purpose of use in commonly accepted hunting activities” was not utilized for that purpose by the purchaser. 
  • HB 1620 has been amended to move oversight of dog breeders from the Veterinary Medicine Examining Board (as originally proposed) to the Department of Health. The Department of Agriculture, an agency with expertise in animal care and breeding, ordinarily oversees animal enterprises. The bill empowers the Department of Health to write administrative rules to govern licensed breeders.
  • Under the definition of “sufficient housing”, minimum and maximum temperature requirements have been removed from the bill.  However, these and other problematic provisions and regulations could be established through the rulemaking process.
  • HB 1620 would define how frequently a female dog may be bred. The AKC believes that such decisions should be made by an owner in consultation with a veterinarian and not dictated by statute.
  • Fees and penalties authorized under HB 1620 would vastly exceed those authorized under the Arkansas Child Care Facility Licensing Act.

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Immediately contact members of the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development to respectfully express your concerns. Please scroll down for contact information.

Attend the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development meeting and state your concerns with HB 1620. If you wish to address the committee, a sign-up sheet will be available in Room 138.

Date: Friday, March 20, 2015
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Room 138, One Capitol Mall, State Capitol, Little Rock, AR

House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Contact Information

Resources

Issue Analysis: The Value of Responsible Dog Breeders

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

Tomorrow, March 20, 2015 at 9:00 a.m., the Arkansas House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development is scheduled to consider an amended version of House Bill 1620 that would establish regulations, fees, inspections, and problematic requirements for dog breeders.

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