Hobby breeders could soon be considered “dealers” in Tennessee if H148 or its companion S1686 are enacted. Both bills would require anyone who breeds and sells more than one litter of puppies per year to be licensed as a “dealer.” In Tennessee, dealers must be inspected by the state and pay anywhere from $125-$1000 annually for the cost of a license, depending on the number of animals sold. Dealers must also keep records of the names and addresses of individuals to whom they have sold pets.
As part of our concern for the welfare of dogs, the American Kennel Club understands the desire to address irresponsible breeding practices in Tennessee. We further believe that breeding programs should be undertaken responsibly for the purpose of preserving breed characteristics and producing healthy, well-socialized puppies. We support and promote these and other responsible breeding practices through breeders' education programs and similar outreach efforts. However, AKC opposes the concept of licensing hobby breeders. Instead, we support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the health and welfare of dogs without restricting the rights of responsible owners.
Arguments Against H148/S1686:
- Tennessee law already requires those who buy or sell more than 25 animals per year to be licensed and inspected by the state. Lowering this threshold to one litter per year will be costly and difficult to enforce.
- Current budget and staffing levels will not be able to accommodate the thousands of breeders who will be encompassed by this bill. Passage of H148/S1686 will therefore likely increase the chance that truly irresponsible breeders will slip through the cracks.
- The federal Animal Welfare Act specifically exempts from licensing hobby breeders who sell directly to the consumer. Congress did not intend for these individuals to be licensed, and states should follow this model.
- The American Kennel Club inspects and investigates over 5,000 kennels each year, including hobby breeders. When AKC inspectors find kennels that do not meet our minimum care and conditions requirements, they educate and encourage those breeders to raise their standards or face suspension of their AKC registration privileges. Proper authorities are also alerted to any cases of animal neglect.
- Responsible hobby breeders give the individual care and human contact that each puppy needs in order to grow into a healthy, well-adjusted companion and neighbor. Often, they also have more time to screen potential dog owners and to educate them about responsible dog ownership. Forcing hobbyists out of the sport would therefore actually deprive citizens of a very valuable resource when purchasing a pet.
What You Can Do:
HB148 and SB1686 have been referred to the Agricultural Committees in their respective houses. Concerned fanciers should contact the committee members and urge them to vote “no” on these bills. Contact information is listed below. Your voice is particularly important if either of your representatives sit on these committees. To find out who represents you in the Tennessee Legislature, visit this page.
Contact the bill sponsors to express your opposition.
Rep. Michael Turner (HB148)
17 Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN 37243-0100
Sen. Stephen Cohen (SB1686)
8 Legislative Plaza
Nashville, TN 37243-0030
For more information, contact:
Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee
Canine Legislation department
Tri-Star Kennel Club
House Agriculture Committee Members (HB148)
Rep. Eugene E. Davidson (D) [Chair]
Phone:615/741-3979, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Stratton Bone (D) [Vice Chair]
Rep. William Baird (R)
Rep. Willie Butch Borchert (D)
Rep. J. Christopher Clem (R)
Rep. Chris Crider (R)
Rep. Bill Dunn (R)
Rep. Dolores Gresham (R)
Rep. John Litz (D)
Rep. Steve K. McDaniel (R)
Rep. Frank S. Niceley (R)
Rep. Jack Sharp (R)
Rep. Johnny Shaw (D)
Rep. Eric H. Swafford (R)
Phone 615-741-2343, FAX: 615-253-0230
Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor and Agriculture (SB1686)
Sen. Jerry W. Cooper (D) [Chair]
Sen. Steve Southerland (R) [Vice Chair]
Sen. Jim Bryson (R)
Sen. Tim Burchett (R)
Sen. Charlotte Burks (D)
Sen. Douglas S. Jackson (D)
Sen. Rosalind Kurita (D)
Sen. Don McLeary (D)
Sen. Mike Williams (R)
Hobby breeders could soon be considered “dealers” in Tennessee if H148 or its companion S1686 are…