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The Ohio Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 331 tomorrow, Tuesday, May 24, 2016.  As introduced, SB 331 seeks to create positive state-level oversight of pet shops, which AKC supports; but it also includes a problematic change to the state’s existing definition of high volume breeder.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) and other key stakeholders are working with the bill sponsor and have been advised that he will be offering an amendment at tomorrow’s hearing that will remove the problematic proposed definition of high volume breeder in SB 331. 

AKC encourages all concerned dog breeders and owners in Ohio to contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and urge them to support an amendment to SB 331 that retains the definition of high volume breeder already in current Ohio state law. 

AKC Believes the Current Definition of High Volume Breeder is Better:

Under current Ohio law, a high volume breeder is defined as “an establishment that keeps, houses, and maintains adult breeding dogs that produce at least nine litters of puppies in any given calendar year and, in return for a fee or other consideration, sells sixty or more adult dogs or puppies per calendar year.”  This definition was the product of a years’-long effort of lawmakers and many interest groups to craft reasonable commercial breeder laws and regulations for Ohio.  By including both production and sales components, this definition has served as a model for other states’ commercial breeder regulations.  

However, as currently worded, SB 331 attempts to significantly change the definition of high volume breeder to “an establishment that keeps, houses, and maintains more than four female adult dogs that are not sterilized.”  The definition would not only vastly expand the class of regulated breeders in Ohio (at untold cost to the state) to individuals who do not breed dogs, but it would do so in a manner that fails to understand the differing purposes for which fanciers, dog sport enthusiasts, commercial breeders, and other groups keep dogs. 

The AKC recommends removal of the proposed changes to the definition of high volume breeder contained in SB 331 until adequate study is done to understand the many ways Ohio dog breeders of all types are regulated. 

AKC Supports Establishment of a Reasonable Statewide Pet Store Policy: 

SB 331 currently preempts local ordinances, resolutions, or other laws that regulate the sale, delivery, barter, auction, broker, or transfer of a dog to a person from a pet store.  The AKC supports uniform application of policy that allows purchasers the freedom to select the most appropriate pet for them.  A primary component of the long-term success of a pet with a new owner involves making sure that a pet is an appropriate fit with the new owner’s lifestyle.  Treasured pets can be obtained from a variety of sources, including breeders, pet stores, rescues, and local shelters.  Senate Bill 331 will ensure that Ohioans do not lose an important source for choosing a pet that matches the owner’s lifestyle.  This in turn can help address shelter population concerns. 

For the full text of SB 331, including operational regulations for pet stores, click here

What you Can Do:

Ohio breeders and owners are encouraged to contact the members of the Senate Finance committee.  First, respectfully urge them to oppose any changes to the state’s existing definition of high volume breeder. Second, request their support of uniform public policy through reasonable regulation of, and preemption of local action impacting, pet stores, and individual freedom of choice in pets. 

State Senator Scott Oelslager, Committee Chairman – http://ohiosenate.gov/oelslager/contact

State Senator Bill Coley, Committee Vice Chair – http://ohiosenate.gov/coley/contact

State Senator Michael J. Skindell, Ranking Minority Member – http://ohiosenate.gov/skindell/contact

State Senator Bill Beagle – http://ohiosenate.gov/beagle/contact

State Senator Dave Burke – http://ohiosenate.gov/burke/contact

State Senator Randy Gardner – http://ohiosenate.gov/gardner/contact

State Senator Lou Gentile – http://ohiosenate.gov/gentile/contact

State Senator Cliff Hite – http://ohiosenate.gov/hite/contact

State Senator Jim Hughes – http://ohiosenate.gov/hughes/contact

State Senator Tom Patton – http://ohiosenate.gov/patton/contact

State Senator Bob Peterson – http://ohiosenate.gov/peterson/contact

State Senator Tom Sawyer – http://ohiosenate.gov/sawyer/contact

State Senator Charleta B. Tavares – http://ohiosenate.gov/tavares/contact

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org

The Ohio Senate Finance Committee is scheduled to consider Senate Bill 331 tomorrow, Tuesday, May 24, 2016. As introduced, SB 331 seeks to create positive state-level oversight of pet shops, which AKC supports; but it also includes a problematic change to the state’s existing definition of high volume breeder.

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