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Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) today released a “Discussion Draft” of an amended version of S. 1139, the “Pet Animal Welfare Statute of 2005” (PAWS). The Discussion Draft includes language clarifying several original provisions and adds some new provisions which resulted from input following a November 2005 hearing on the bill.

The Discussion Draft of the new bill contains the following clarifications and additions:



  • All references to hunting, security and breeding dogs are eliminated from the dealer definition in both PAWS and the existing Animal Welfare Act, ensuring that persons selling such dogs are treated the same as persons who sell dogs for any other purpose.

  • The “retail pet store” exemption has been redefined to include only business establishments that do not import dogs and cats for resale and which maintain a physical premises that is open to the public and where pets are sold. Persons who sell exclusively over the Internet or through mass media advertising and do not maintain a public retail establishment would be covered under the Act.

  • The language is clarified to assure that wholesale, rather than retail, sellers of animals (as defined in the Act) other than dogs and cats are classified as dealers. In addition, the small wholesaler exemption is increased from $500 gross income annually to $2,500 gross income annually.

  • The language regarding the “dealer” exemption for retail sellers has been clarified:

    • If you are not a breeder but are selling at retail, you are exempt from dealer status if you do not sell more than 25 dogs and cats in a calendar year.

    • If you are a breeder, you are exempt from dealer status if, in a calendar year you do not sell more than 25 dogs and cats bred or raised on your own premises, or the dogs and cats from not more than 6 litters born or raised on your premises, whichever is greater,
      and do not sell more than 25 other dogs and cats not bred or raised on your premises.

  • The language pertaining to the source records required to be maintained by dealers and retail pet stores who acquire dogs or cats for resale is clarified to make it consistent with the requirements of state law in states which require such records.



  • An explicit exemption is included for animal shelters, rescue organizations and other persons who do not operate for profit and do not import dogs or cats for resale.

  • A new provision has been added that would exempt all who breed or sell more than the aforementioned thresholds (as long as they do not import dogs or cats for resale and sell dogs and cats only at retail), if they are inspected by a third-party non-profit organization that has animal care standards and inspection protocols which are as protective of animal welfare as those promulgated by the USDA under the Act.

  • The draft calls for safeguards that protect the privacy of persons inspected by such not-for-profit organizations who are in compliance with the organization's standards.

  • The USDA would be required to regulate the importation of dogs and cats for resale, including requiring that dogs and cats imported for resale be at least six months of age and comply with health and vaccination requirements.

The next step in the legislative process is for a new bill containing these provisions to be introduced or for the discussion draft to be offered as an amendment to the current bill. In either case, the new bill will reflect the edits contained in the discussion draft.