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Minnesota House File 3369, which seeks to prohibit the sale of dogs and cats by retail pet shops, is scheduled to be considered by the Minnesota House Committee on Commerce on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.  The American Kennel Club (AKC) opposes legislation that attempts to artificially manipulate the market in favor of pets sourced solely through shelters and rescues, especially those that attain their supply not from local sources but through interstate trafficking.  The AKC encourages all concerned Minnesota dog owners to contact the members of the House Commerce Committee and respectfully request they oppose HF 3369 prior to the March 3 hearing.

BACKGROUND

The American Kennel Club emphatically supports freedom of choice in selecting a pet. AKC actively promotes efforts to ensure that people are educated, understand the demands of responsible ownership, and have access to a pet that is right for them. AKC strongly opposes any measure that restricts choice by compelling people and/or retailers to obtain pets solely from shelter or rescue distributors.

The AKC shares concerns about the well-being of all pets. The AKC is the world’s largest purebred dog registry, our affiliated clubs operate America’s largest purebred rescue network, and for over 130 years we have been proud to be the only non-profit purebred registry devoted to the health and well-being and of all dogs. We advocate for responsible dog ownership and support strong enforcement of Minnesota’s current laws and the federal Animal Welfare Act.

TALKING POINTS TO USE WHEN CONTACTING THE HOUSE COMMERCE COMMITTEE IN OPPOSITION TO HF 3369:

  • HF 3369 makes a false assumption, with no verified or corroborating data, that professionally-bred dogs sold by retail pet shops are raised poor conditions. In doing so, it undermines Minnesota’s consumer protection laws (Minn. Stat. § 325F.79, et seq.) and commercial breeder laws (Minn. Stat. § 347.57, et seq.) that work to protect consumers and advance responsible breeding practices.
  • By pushing pet sellers to showcase pets that come from unregulated and random sources, HF 3369 would not only remove the most regulated and vetted source of pets from the market; it would actually exacerbate problems by creating a perverse demand for dogs that are not subject to, and do not benefit from, animal welfare regulations or the health tests associated with consumer protection laws.
  • According to the American Pet Product Association (2016), approximately 44% of Americans obtained their pet from a retail rescue, traditional breed rescue, shelter, or similar source. The U.S. currently has a large market for “rescue pets”, and with it, significant economic incentive for individuals or organizations who can avoid regulatory oversight by irresponsibly breeding or flipping pets directly to meet this demand.  By comparison, only 4% of Americans obtained a pet from a traditional retail pet store.
  • In 2019, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that approximately one million dogs are imported into the United States on an annual basis. The vast majority of these dogs come with little valid health information, receive little regulatory or welfare oversight, and are likely destined for the large unregulated U.S. retail rescue market.
  • HF 3369 will do little to get at any actual issues of cruelty or negligence. Additionally, it is likely to cause harm to responsible residents in Minnesota who seek a quality purpose-bred pet and may not have access to a local breeder, do not want to be put on a long waiting list, etc. Instead, they may wish to purchase a dog from a regulated, licensed pet store where they can still get the consumer protections the health history, and ongoing professional relationships they desire. This bill would limit these consumers’ freedom of choice and the ability of residents to select pets in a responsible manner, based on the breed, health and temperament traits that they seek and make a good match for their lifestyle.
  • When people cannot obtain a pet that is the right fit for their lifestyle, that pet is more likely to end up in a shelter. Pet stores can be a humane, viable option for many families, as reputable stores will carefully source their animals and are themselves subject to state and federal regulations.
  • A better approach is to keep pets out of shelters in the first place. One of the best ways to do this is by educating prospective dog owners and enabling them to obtain a pet that is the right fit for their lifestyle. Great pets come from a variety of sources, including breeders, responsible rescues, and regulated pet shops and shelters. But in every case, freedom of choice to select the right pet is the crucial first step to success. This is why instead of limiting consumer choice and consumer protections, the American Kennel Club recommends expanding the state’s consumer protection laws.
  • AKC is the largest purebred rescue network in the United States.  AKC-affiliated national breed clubs take great care of the animals that come into their rescues. However, there are rescues and transports that unfortunately do not take such diligent care of their animals. Lack of oversight of imported animals can impact both the public health and the health of animals. We believe a better solution is strong enforcement of current Minnesota laws and regulations for breeders and pet dealers, and regulating shelters, rescues, and transports to ensure those dogs receive the same level of humane care and oversight.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Concerned Minnesota residents are strongly encouraged to contact the members of the House Commerce Committee and respectfully express opposition to HF 3369 and request the Committee not approve HF 3369.

Rep. Laurie Halverson, Chair –  (DFL) District: 51B
503 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4128
Email: rep.laurie.halverson@house.mn

Rep. Zack Stephenson, Vice Chair –  (DFL) District: 36A
371 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-5513
Email: rep.zack.stephenson@house.mn

Rep. Tim O’Driscoll, Republican Lead –  (R) District: 13B
237 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-7808
Email: rep.tim.odriscoll@house.mn

Rep. Andrew Carlson – (DFL) District: 50B
557 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4218
Email: rep.andrew.carlson@house.mn

Rep. Greg Davids – (R) District: 28B
283 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-9278
Email: rep.greg.davids@house.mn

Rep. Raymond Dehn –  (DFL) District: 59B
537 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-8659
Email: rep.raymond.dehn@house.mn

Rep. Steve Elkins – (DFL) District: 49B
515 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-7803
Email: rep.steve.elkins@house.mn

Rep. Pat Garofalo – (R) District: 58B
295 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-1069
Email: rep.pat.garofalo@house.mn

Rep. Barb Haley – (R) District: 21A
239 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-8635
Email: rep.barb.haley@house.mn

Rep. Michael Howard – (DFL) District: 50A
451 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-7158
Email: rep.michael.howard@house.mn

Rep. Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn – (DFL) District: 48B
567 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-7449
Email: rep.carlie.kotyza-witthuhn@house.mn

Rep. Ron Kresha – (R) District: 09B
207 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4247
Email: rep.ron.kresha@house.mn

Rep. John Lesch – (DFL) District: 66B
563 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4224
Email: rep.john.lesch@house.mn

Rep. Dave Lislegard – (DFL) District: 06B
413 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-0170
Email: rep.dave.lislegard@house.mn

Rep. Tim Mahoney – (DFL) District: 67A
365 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4277
Email: rep.tim.mahoney@house.mn

Rep. Marion O’Neill – (R) District: 29B
357 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-5063
Email: rep.marion.oneill@house.mn

Rep. Ruth Richardson – (DFL) District: 52B
403 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-4192
Email: rep.ruth.richardson@house.mn

Rep. Chris Swedzinski – (R) District: 16A
245 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-5374
Email: rep.chris.swedzinski@house.mn

Rep. Brad Tabke – (DFL) District: 55A
377 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-8872
Email: rep.brad.tabke@house.mn

Rep. Tama Theis – (R) District: 14A
201 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St Paul, MN 55155
651-296-6316
Email: rep.tama.theis@house.mn

Committee Administrator Travis Reese – 651-296-7175, Travis.Reese@house.mn
Committee Legislative Assistant Simon Brown – 651-297-5002, Simon.Brown@house.mn

Concerned Minnesota residents are also encouraged to attend the House Commerce Committee hearing on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, and testify in opposition to HF 3369.  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:30PM, in the Basement Hearing Room, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Saint Paul, MN 55155.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) will provide additional details on HF 3369 as developments warrant.  For more information, contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact us at enewsletter@akc.org
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