On Tuesday, March 2, the Utah House Labor and Commerce Committee will be considering House Bill 420, which seeks to ban retail pet stores from selling any dog unless sourced from a shelter or rescue.
AKC strongly urges all who reside in Utah to call the committee TODAY and ask them to oppose House Bill 420. Our concerns include the following:
- The current definition of “pet store” could encompass home-based breeders and sportsmen selling a dog in the state. A “pet store” is broadly defined as “a retail business where animals are kept, sold, or offered for sale on the premises… [and] includes any owner or operator of the retail business.” While on the surface it would seem to apply only to retail pet stores as they are traditionally considered, a similar definition has been interpreted in other states to include anyone who sells a dog in a face-to-face transaction, including hobbyists and sportsmen who sell one dog out of their home. Suddenly, hobbyists and sportsmen are being forced by their state department of agriculture to be licensed as a pet store. Hobbyists who raise dogs in their home should not be regulated as a retail pet store.
- The bill prohibits pet stores from selling dogs and cats –The implication is that should this pass, even if it only applied to tradition pet stores, the state is declaring that the best – and only – place to get a dog is from a shelter/ rescue. It would eliminate all consumer protection, as shelters and rescues cannot provide the necessary guarantees. Additionally, it would limit the ability of future pet owners to obtain the type or breed of dog they wish. There are residents in Utah who may not have access to a local breeder, may not want to be put on a long waiting list, etc., and wish to purchase a dog from a regulated, licensed pet store where they can still get the consumer protection and the health history they desire.
- The bill ignores the health issues and dangers that can arise from importing dogs for rescue – AKC is the largest purebred rescue network in the United States, and we are proud that our national breed clubs take great care of the animals that come into their rescues. However, there are rescues and transports that do not care as diligently for their animals. This is a significant concern that can impact public health and the health of animals.
AKC opposes House Bill 420, which limits consumer protection and consumer choice. For more information and talking points on this issue, visit AKC’s key issue page at www.akc.org/petchoice.
What You Can Do:
Those who reside in Utah are strongly encouraged to contact the committee and your State Representative TODAY. Ask them to not support this bill that limits consumer protection and pet choice in Utah. Put your zip code in the “Find Officials” box on the home page of the AKC Legislative Action Center to find the name and contact information for your State Representative.
The contact information for the Business and Labor Committee is below. Use the form provided if you are a constituent of a committee member to directly contact them.
Rep. Joel Ferry, Chair
Rep. Walt Brooks, Vice Chair
Rep. Brady Brammer
Rep. James A. Dunnigan
Rep. Timothy D. Hawkes
Rep. Jon Hawkins
Rep. Brian S. King
Rep. A. Cory Maloy
Rep. Ashlee Matthews
Rep. Calvin R. Musselman
Rep. Mike Schultz
Rep. Casey Snider
Rep. Mark A. Strong
Rep. Jordan D. Teuscher
Rep. Norman K. Thurston
Rep. Mark A. Wheatley
AKC continues to monitor this and all bills relating to dog ownership in Utah. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.