Your federal Senators, Sen. Collins and King, are currently under pressure from animal rights groups to sponsor legislation to radically expand and shift oversight of federal breeder regulations.
Senators Collins and King need to hear from you TODAY! Let them know you are a constituent and ask them to not sponsor or support S. 2555, the “Better CARE for Animals Act”. Scroll Down for more information.
Senate Bill 2555, the so-called “Better CARE for Animals Act” shifts enforcement of dog breeder licensing under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). This would circumvent oversight authority by an agency staffed by animal experts that focuses on improving animal husbandry; and instead place it with one with little or no animal expertise that focuses on violations as potential federal crimes.
- 2555 would also empower the DOJ to file charges, seize animals and impose penalties regardless of whether USDA has determined or even alleged that there has been a violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA).
Senators Collins and King need to hear opposition to this bill TODAY!
Visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find their contact information. Please call or email their offices today.
Use the talking points below when reaching out to them.
Talking Points on S. 2555:
- Explain you are a constituent.
- Ask them to oppose S. 2555 the so-called “Better Care for Animals Act”
- Tell them it will do precisely the opposite of its name by removing crucial animal experts from the chain of animal welfare oversight. Removing subject matter expertise will undermine both animal care and enforcement of violations.
- DOJ does not have staff, veterinarians or experts in animal husbandry and behavior that are experienced in evaluating AWA compliance or enforcement.
- Rather than creating more efficiency, S 2555 creates redundant and potentially conflicting authorities and jurisdictions. This will cause greater bureaucracy and expand the backlog of cases at the DOJ.
- 2555 is unnecessary as the USDA already can and does seek assistance from DOJ when appropriate.
- 2555 allows owners to be forced to pay for the costs of care of seized animals by non-government entities while legal proceedings are pending, regardless of the outcome – with no provision for restitution.
- Ask the Senators to instead support additional financial resources for USDA so they can appropriately enforce the requirements they already have.
If possible, please let the AKC GR team (firstname.lastname@example.org) know you contacted your lawmakers and if you received any response.
Background: About Federal Dog Breeder Licensing and Oversight
Anyone who maintains more than 4 “breeding females” (a term that is undefined but is generally considered to mean an intact female) and transfer even one of the offspring “sight unseen” is subject to licensing under the AWA. “Breeding females” include any combination of cats, dogs, or other small pet mammals such as hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. (Learn more). The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which is staffed by thousands of animal experts, currently administers AWA licensing requirements. As part of their mission, which includes improving animal care and welfare, the agency’s experts recognize performance-based animal care standards and provide expertise, training, and certification programs that benefit animals and those who care for them.