The American Kennel Club has learned that local animal rights activists are working to pass “Puppy Mill Awareness Day” resolutions in every county in Iowa, as well as the state level to coincide with an event on February 3.
While no official language has yet been introduced on the state level, talking points and text seen on the county level indicates that the goal is to promote inaccurate information about breeders and call for more “transparency” and regulation in a state that already has some of the strictest breeder regulations in the United States.
Traditionally, resolutions are meant to recognize positive events, people who have made a positive contribution, or raise awareness for non-controversial issues such as diseases and illnesses. Official proclamations that impugn the reputations of breeders and legitimate, regulated businesses, as well as declare inaccurate information, are not an appropriate use of a state or county resolution.
Those who reside or participate in dog events in Iowa, are strongly encouraged to contact their State Representative, State Senator and Governor Branstad TODAY, as well as your county supervisors. Visit the AKC Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find the names and contact information for your STATE Senator and Representative and the phone and fax number for the Governor. Use this link to send a message directly to the Governor.
- Iowa already has regulations on breeders. There does not need to be a call for further regulations and drains on state resources. Current Iowa law already defines a “commercial breeder” as someone who sells, exchanges, or leases dogs (or even offers to do so) in return for consideration. While those who keep dogs or cats for “hunting, for practice training, for exhibition at shows or field or obedience trials” are exempted, if a person has four or more intact dogs and receives any kind of consideration for breeding or transferring even a single dog, they are considered a commercial breeder and must be licensed and comply with commercial breeder laws. This could include offering a stud dog and receiving any compensation or “consideration” (such as a puppy back) from the resulting litter.
Those who meet the definition of “commercial breeder” must pay an annual registration fee and may be inspected by the State Department of Agriculture. This is in addition to federal regulations requiring USDA licensing and inspections of anyone who owns more than 4 intact female dogs and sells a puppy sight unseen.
We strongly believe that all dogs deserve to live in safe, healthy environments and should not be kept in conditions where their basic needs are not met. The state and local communities should instead focus on resources to allow local communities to enforce animal control and cruelty laws, rather than simply responding to a call for more laws.
- Breeders have a positive influence on the state. Responsible breeders are models for their communities. They raise healthy dogs and work to ensure that puppies are placed with responsible owners. These breeders are in a unique position to support new pet owners and teach them to be responsible dog owners. In addition, many breeders are providing quality dogs not just to be wonderful family pets, but also to act as service, working, and search and rescue dogs. One local resolution already passed in Iowa acknowledges some of these important services that dogs provide, but then goes on to state that “commercial breeders” have “compromised these traditions”. This is simply not true and has no basis in fact. When contacting your elected officials, be sure to mention what you do to raise high-quality puppies, and if you provide service, police or search and rescue dogs, let them know that as well.
- The term “puppy mill” is a pejorative term offensive to the vast majority of breeders, who love and take excellent care of their animals. The AKC understands that the intent may be to refer to those who breed dogs without regard to the dog’s health and welfare, but this term should not be used in an official state or local resolution.
AKC encourages responsible dog breeders in Iowa to contact their State Senator and Representative, county supervisors, and Governor Branstad TODAY and ask them not to support a resolution to recognize “Puppy Mill Awareness Day” and instead respectfully educate them about the important roles dog breeders have in the state, to consumers, and the future of well-bred dogs. Visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center “Key Issues” page for more talking points on responsible dog breeders.
The American Kennel Club has learned that local animal rights activists are working to pass Puppy Mill Awareness Day resolutions in every county in Iowa, as well as the state level to coincide with an event on February 3.
Those who reside or participate in dog events in Iowa, are strongly encouraged to contact their State Representative, State Senator and Governor Branstad TODAY, as well as your county supervisors.