Monday, March 20, 2017
Last Thursday, the New Jersey Assembly passed Senate Bill 3041.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) remains deeply concerned with the impacts that will likely result if the bill is signed into law as currently written. We urge all concerned New Jersey residents to contact Governor Christie’s office and urge him to veto S.3041.
Click here to view AKC’s previous alert on S.3041.
The AKC and a coalition of animal interest groups have actively opposed bills identical to S.3041, A.2338/S.63, since their introductions in January 2016. The anti-breeder bills originally started as an effort to ban pet stores in New Jersey from selling dogs and cats unless sourced from shelters and rescues. Due to vocal opposition by concerned New Jersey residents, the bills were amended multiple times.
The current version of the bill, passed by both houses of the legislature, considers anyone – including breeders – who sell more than 10 cats or dogs in a year to be “pet dealers.” Specifically, “pet dealers” are: any person, located within or outside of the State, who is engaged in the ordinary course of business in the sale of cats or dogs to consumers in the State for profit, or who sells more than 10 cat or dogs in one year to consumers in the State. “Pet dealer” shall include a kennel or pet shop that is engaged in the ordinary course of business in the sale of cats or dogs to consumers in the State for profit, or that sells more than 10 cats or dogs in one year to consumers in the State.
Concerns with this legislation include:
- It is common for some breeds such as Labrador Retrievers and Great Danes to regularly have litters larger than 10 puppies. A person whose dog has a large litter just once and sells/finds new homes for the puppies will be defined as a “pet dealer”.
- The arbitrary threshold and vague language in the “pet dealer” definition could regulate many fanciers and enthusiasts. Because most municipalities do not allow commercial enterprises such as animal “dealers” in residential zones, hobby breeders may find themselves in violation of state and local zoning laws, and forced to choose between their home and their hobby.
- Throughout the bills’ consideration, the AKC has respectfully recommended better language to reflect the sponsors’ stated intent that small, hobby breeders would be exempt from the definition of “pet dealer”. Because one litter could qualify a person as a “pet dealer”, those concerns have not been considered.
- The definition of pet dealer seeks to impact breeders located in other states who may sell dogs in New Jersey. Because it impacts interstate commerce and creates conflicts between New Jersey laws and the laws of other states, the definition of pet dealer is constitutionally suspect.
- Over previous versions, S.3041 actually increases the number of allowable health and welfare violations by pet dealers selling pets to pet stores.
- Like its predecessors, S.3041 contains more than two pages of “findings” that assail the reputations of dog breeders with broadly-discredited conjecture, questionable statistics, and out-of-date USDA information.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Concerned New Jersey residents, and breeders and owners from other states concerned about the potential interstate impact of the bill, are strongly encouraged to call Governor Chris Christie’s office and request that the Governor veto Senate Bill 3041. Please use the following script when contacting the Governor’s office.
Governor Christie’s Office: (609) 777-2500.
SCRIPT: “Hello, my name is __________. I am a resident of _________, New Jersey. I am calling to respectfully request Governor Christie veto Senate Bill 3041 due to the bill’s far-reaching impacts and unintended consequences on New Jersey’s pet owners.”
If asked for details on why you are requesting Governor Christie’s veto, please use the bullet points above.
The American Kennel Club will continue to provide updates on Senate Bill 3041 as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at firstname.lastname@example.org.