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North Carolina Dog Owners Alert

North Carolina Dog Owners Alert

Postby eaglerock814 » Mon Jul 06, 2009 5:25 pm

North Carolina Dog Owners Alert

Senate Votes On July 8 – Please Oppose SB 460!

by JOHN YATES
American sporting Dog Alliance
http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org
asda@csonline.net

This report is archived at http://eaglerock814.proboards.com/index ... &thread=49

The North Carolina State Senate will vote Wednesday, July 8, 2009, on legislation that purports to regulate commercial kennels, but which casts a much wider net over many other kennel owners.

Vague definitions in the legislation will entrap many people who raise dogs as an avocation, serious hobbyists who do their own training and handling, hunt clubs, hunting plantations, and professional trainers and handlers who also raise a few litters of puppies. It also will entrap many responsible and quality-oriented breeders who raise a modest number of puppies as an honest and honorable way to supplement their incomes, and this is especially true of people who are disabled, retired or are living on fixed incomes.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance urges all North Carolina dog owners to immediately contact their state senators to voice strong and clear opposition to this legislation. Contact information will be provided below.

The legislation, Senate Bill 460, was narrowly approved by the Senate Finance Committee on June 30, and scheduled for a July 8 vote of the full Senate. The committee amended the original legislation is a way that supposedly excludes:

“…those kennels or establishments operated for the purpose of boarding or training hunting, sporting, herding, show, or working dogs.”

However, those exemptions apply only to kennels that operate for the purpose of boarding or training. They do not apply to many other kennels that raise dogs for hunting, sporting, herding, show or working.

The exemption also does not include kennels that are operated for several different purposes, which describes many if not most kennels. A typical kennel might train dogs for hunting, handle dogs in competition, breed a few litters of puppies, offer stud services of high quality dogs, and do some boarding as a source of income. SB 460 would entrap this kennel.

It also must be noted that commercial kennel regulations modeled under federal standards require an almost institutional environment for dogs. This would have a serious impact on small-scale breeders who raise as few as four litters a year to supplement their income or offset the costs of showing or competing with their own dogs. Commercial standards would make it illegal to raise puppies in a home environment (no home in America, even in the wealthiest neighborhoods, could pass a federal kennel inspection) and require major cash investments that actually would reduce the quality of care given to their dogs.

Virtually everyone who falls into the trap of SB 460 would be forced to shut down their kennel if they are of modest financial means. Like most animal rights laws, SB 460 is targeted especially at poor and working class people who cannot afford a large financial outlay.

SB 460 defines a commercial kennel as “any person who owns or maintains 15 or more intact female dogs of breeding age and 30 or more puppies for the purpose of sale.”

That definition is extremely ambiguous and entrapping.

Many serious hobbyists own 15 intact females (this counts sexually mature puppies under evaluation, competition dogs, breeding dogs, retired dogs and personal family pets), and 30 puppies can be produced in as few as three litters in some breeds, and in four litters for the majority of breeds. These people are not commercial breeders by any stretch of the imagination, and yet they are entrapped by this legislation.

Most hunt clubs and hunting plantations also would be entrapped, even if they sell only a couple of dogs or puppies a year. Many professional trainers and amateurs from northern states spend their winters in North Carolina, and would be impacted by this legislation.

This definition is ambiguous in that it equates possession of female dogs and puppies with a commercial operation, which simply is inaccurate in many cases. A serious field trialer, for example, may have 30 puppies under evaluation as prospects for competition, and many professional trainers and handlers raise a few litters of champion-sired puppies without selling any of them until they can be evaluated as field trial prospects. A common scenario is for field trial handlers to find owners for the best pups on the condition that they remain with the trainer for training and competition.

Ominously, “puppy” is not defined in the legislation. Many people interpret the word “puppy” to apply to any dog under a year of age. This definition would significantly widen the net of SB 460.

Hunt clubs and hunting plantations often keep all of the puppies they raise in order to train them for use by their members, customers and guests.

Moreover, numbers have nothing to do with the quality of care given to dogs at a kennel. Many plantations have 50 or more bird dogs, but employ several trainers, handlers and kennel helpers to give the dogs a very high standard of care and personal attention.

Further ambiguity arises in the words “for the purpose of sale.” In a kennel of 30 dogs, for example, perhaps only a half-dozen are available for sale, and the rest are not. The wording of SB 460 entraps any kennel that sells even one dog or puppy, if it falls above the number of dogs and puppies specified.

The ambiguity is compounded because the legislation does not say if the numbers apply at any given time, over the course of the license year or over several years. Thus, a trainer who owns only six dogs and raises only one litter of puppies a year, could be entrapped if he or she trains 40 dogs or puppies owned by other people.

Laws should be clear and should not contain vague definitions that can be interpreted differently by enforcement officers and judges. SB 460 falls far short of this measure.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance also has several other concerns about this deeply flawed legislation:

· We object on principle to commercial breeders being singled out for additional and intense regulation. The Bill of Rights gives every American the right to fair and equal treatment under the law. This legislation denies that basic constitutional rights to a specific group of citizens and business owners, and this is just plain un-American. All dogs deserve the same legal protections to assure adequate and humane care, and all people who own or raise dogs deserve to have their civil rights respected by government.

· The legislation gives the frightening power to the state Board of Agriculture to develop special regulations for commercial kennels without any kind of public participation or oversight. This provision essentially gives the Board a blank check to create horrible regulations that will destroy many high-quality kennels. This is wrong. These regulations will cover all aspects of kennel design and management, veterinary care, and exercise requirements, and impose major paperwork burdens on kennel owners. In light of our considerable experience in other states, this sounds like giving a blank check to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and other radical animal rights groups.

· The state would be given the power to deny, revoke or suspend any kennel’s registration for any violation or alleged violation of any regulation or rule that is developed. A decision to revoke, deny or suspend is purely arbitrary and need not be proven, as the law contains no provision to allow for a hearing or trial to protect a kennel owner from unjust enforcement, and provides no mechanism for an appeal of any kind. This, too, is un-American and a denial of the constitutional right of due process under the law.

· The state also would be given absolute, arbitrary and uncontestable power to seize and sell or euthanize any “animals” in the possession of a kennel alleged to be unlicensed as a commercial operation. Given the ambiguities in the definitions that we explored earlier in this report, this power is wholly unjust and unacceptable. There is no provision to appeal or challenge this determination, and all “animals” owned by a kennel operator could be seized. In fact, the kennel owner would be prohibited from owning any animal for a full five years after being adjudicated as unlicensed by the state. The wording makes this prohibition apply to personal pets, personal hunting dogs, cats, cows, pigs, goats, sheep, rabbits and even pet hamsters owned by the kennel operator.

· The legislation requires dog owners to provide “adequate” veterinary care, and to obtain a veterinary examination of all dogs before they are bred, but these concepts are not defined. In other states, veterinary care is required under the umbrella of “adequate” for even minor illnesses or injuries, fleas and internal parasites: conditions that could be treated easily, effectively and safely by a dog’s owner. The examination to determine medial fitness for breeding could mean anything from a simple visual check, to a requirement for extensive and expensive testing. Every veterinarian could interpret this differently, which would create highly uneven applications of the law. There are no established objective veterinary standards for fitness for breeding, and many veterinarians might have conflicting opinions about this issue.

· And state and local inspectors would be given unlimited access to a kennel owner’s business, facilities, home and records for inspection. This, too, is un-American, and the Bill of Rights guarantees every citizen the protection from searches and seizures in the absence of a warrant from a court based on probable cause of a violation. It allows inspectors to go on unconstitutional “fishing expeditions” to invade the privacy and personal sanctity of everyone who has a kennel.

For these reasons and more, the American Sporting Dog Alliance urges all North Carolinians to immediately contact the senator who represents them. This must be done quickly, as the Senate vote is scheduled for Wednesday, July 8. Please clearly express strong opposition, and ask your senator to vote “no” on SB 460.

Here is a link to each senator’s contact information: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/m ... ber=Senate . Click on a senator’s name, and a page will be displayed to show phone numbers and email addresses. We suggest that emails be followed up by either a phone call, fax or hand-delivered letter to the senator’s office.

Here is a link to the text of the legislation, which includes the most recent amendment: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/Sessions/20 ... 460v3.html .

The American Sporting Dog Alliance wishes to sincerely thank you for helping North Carolina dog owners to defeat this burdensome, ambiguous and unconstitutional legislation.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance represents owners, breeders and professionals who work with breeds of dogs that are used for hunting. We also welcome people who work with other breeds, as legislative issues affect all of us. We are a grassroots movement working to protect the rights of dog owners, and to assure that the traditional relationships between dogs and humans maintains its rightful place in American society and life. The American Sporting Dog Alliance also needs your help so that we can continue to work to protect the rights of dog owners. Your membership, participation and support are truly essential to the success of our mission. We are funded solely by your donations in order to maintain strict independence.

Please visit us on the web at http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org . Our email is asda@csonline.net .

PLEASE CROSS-POST AND FORWARD THIS REPORT TO YOUR FRIENDS
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