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Please share this information with animal owners, dog breeders, farmers, and agricultural businesses in Tulare County, CA.  Certain provisions of concern would apply not just to dog owners, but also to all animals and animal owners in the county.

Tulare County, CA is considering a proposal that would significantly revise the county Animal Ordinance and Commercial Kennel Minimum Standards. The proposal would require that any premises on which there are more than four “adult” dogs—for any period of time—must be licensed as a kennel.

Additional provisions would require any person with four or more adult dogs who breeds a single litter to be licensed as a commercial kennel. This would effectively eliminate home-based and hobby breeding by any person with more than four dogs aged 4 months and older who lives on property not zoned for business use or for operation of a commercial kennel.

 The public comment period on the proposed ordinance changes ends TODAY, Friday, September, 28, 2018. Concerned animal owners are urged to formally submit their comments on the proposal and also to express their concerns to members of the County Board of Supervisors.

 Among many problematic provisions, the proposal seeks to:

  • Define a 4-month old puppy as a “adult” dog.
  • Require that maximum number of adult dogs allowed on any lot or premises for any length of time without a kennel permit is four. This would potentially impact every situation in which four or more dogs were together on any single property for any time period and for any purpose.
  • Establish extensive permitting and recordkeeping requirements for kennels and provide for unannounced inspections.
  • Provide that Animal Services may attach to a kennel permit any conditions and restrictions they deem necessary without legislative oversight or process of law.
  • Require spay/neuter of puppies at 6 months of age unless the owner is issued an unaltered dog license for each intact dog.
  • Require sterilization of a dog on any second impoundment in a 24-month period, regardless of circumstances, and strike existing exemptions for show and working dogs.
  • Require a breeding permit to be obtained in advance of breeding a female dog and impose arbitrary and scientifically unsupported breeding restrictions on female dogs.
  • Redefine and add new kennel definitions, and limit commercial, non-commercial, boarding, and training kennels to 25 dogs age 4 months or older. This numerical limit would not apply to rescue kennels.
  • Rescue kennels would be exempted from dog licensing and the legal requirements thereto.
  • Expand animal confiscation provisions and establish unclear provisions about where an impounded animal may be transported.
  • Reduce requirements for rescue organizations and provide that such rescue organizations may be based outside of the state
  • For rescue organizations and shelters, strike from the definition of “adoptable” the provision the animal must have manifested no sign of disease, injury, or congenital or hereditary condition that adversely affects the animal’s health in the future.
  • Provide that rescue organizations may obtain dogs from breeders and brokers.
  • Require all dogs to be microchipped, with penalties for failure to update a dog’s microchip record with the county and microchip registry when ownership of a dog is transferred. It would also be a requirement to notify the county of any change of ownership of a dog. It is unclear if the person who transfers or receives the dog would be responsible for updating these records.
  • It is unclear if boarding and training kennels would be prohibited from providing services to unlicensed and un-microchipped dogs belonging to owners who live outside the county.
  • Mandate that an individual who fails to comply with dog breeding permits and restrictions (for example, a person’s dog has an accidental litter) must either retroactively obtain a breeding permit or must surrender the puppies to an animal rescue organization and spay/neuter the dam and sire, if the sire is in the owner’s possession.
  • A second violation by an individual of breeding permit requirements would require either a $1,000 fine or surrender of the puppies, spay/neuter of the dam and sire (if in possession of the sire) and a $50 fine. A third violation by an individual, regardless of how many years have elapsed, would require the female dog to be spayed to “protect the animal from further breeding activities” and the owner would not be allowed to obtain any further unaltered dog license or breeding permit for any dog for a minimum of 36 months. Under this penalty scheme, it is unclear if these penalties apply to the unpermitted breeding of one female dog, a single violation involving three dogs, or three instances of unpermitted breeding of any female dog during the person’s lifetime.
  • For kennel permit holders, the proposal would mandate fines of up to $7,500 or revocation of permit as the only allowable penalties, regardless of the nature or severity of a violation, and would eliminate the options of issuing administrative citations or corrective action orders.
  • Establish multiple licensing and permit requirements for certain breeders, including individual unaltered dog licenses, breeding permits, and commercial kennel permits.
  • Provides that an animal that has escaped for an undefined “substantial period of time” is defined as feral.
  • Extend enforcement powers to undefined “animal services representatives”.
  • Allow outsourcing of administrative review appeals to an undefined “qualified provider”.

Additional provisions and proposed kennel standards include, but are not limited to:

  • Limit the breeding of a female dog to once every 12 months and prohibit breeding a female dog age 7 or older.
  • Limit a commercial kennel to five breeding permits per year. If a breeding does not result in a litter or the breeder wishes to breed a different female dog, the permit would not be transferrable and no additional permit would be issued in excess of the original five permits.
  • Prohibit any stacking of enclosures, regardless if impermeable barriers are provided between the enclosures.
  • Require dog enclosures to provide a minimum 60” of interior vertical space, regardless of the size of the dog.
  • Establish numerous additional arbitrary enclosure requirements.
  • Require twice-a-day feedings in commercial kennels.
  • Mandate vaccine protocols for breeders.
  • Establish veterinary requirements that conflict with California law.
  • It is unclear if the proposal seeks to apply these kennel standards to all licensees (with the exception of rescue kennels) or if the requirements would apply only to commercial kennels.

What You Can Do:

 Review the proposed changes by visiting the Animal Service website:

https://tcanimalservices.org/animalservices/ and

https://tcanimalservices.org/animalservices/index.cfm/updated-commercial-kennel-minimum-standards-92518/

Email your comments, concerns, recommendations, and requested changes to Tulare County Animal Services at animalcontrolsupport@tularehhsa.org.

Tulare County Animal Services is expected to submit these proposed revisions to the full Board of Supervisors in the near future. Therefore, concerned animal owners are urged to contact the Tulare County Board of Supervisors to express concerns with the proposals.

 Contact information:

Steve Worthley, Chair, sworthley@co.tulare.ca.us

Kuyler Crocker, Vice Chair, kcrocker@co.tulare.ca.us

Mike Ennis, mennis@co.tulare.ca.us

Amy Shuklian, ashuklian@co.tulare.ca.us

Pete Vander Poel,  pvanderpoel@co.tulare.ca.us

 

For additional information, please contact AKC Government Relations at doglaw@akc.org or 919-816-3720.

 

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