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PROTECT US AGAINST THE PUPPY PROTECTION ACT!

 

We stopped the PPA - Puppy Protection Act, right?  Wrong.  Even in 2002, Santorum seemed to be working for AKC - American Kennel Club.  But like a monster chameleon, this bill keeps coming back!

 

Read this now, knowing that AKC tried to buy PAWS legislation (ref #1) in 2006 after

 

PIJA Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council TheDogPress 02|15|02 - T(US S 1731) SENATE ADOPTS SANTORUM AMENDMENT - CONFERENCE COMMITTEE IS LAST CHANCE TO STOP PUPPY PROTECTION ACT
 

The Issue.
After loading up the Farm Bill (S. 1731) with over 100 amendments, the Senate has adopted its version of this contentious legislation. Among the many amendments the Senate accepted was
Senator Santorum’s end-run amendment of the “Puppy Protection Act” provisions. Circumventing the committee process, the sponsors avoided any debate on the bill, but inserted a number of inflammatory and inaccurate statements into the Congressional Record with introduction of their amendment. (because PAWS was better? ref #2)

 

While the provisions amending the Animal Welfare Act that were included in the Senate version of the Farm Bill were not identical to the “Puppy Protection Act” as introduced, they are largely the same in substance. If these provisions survive the conference committee, persons subject to the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) will need to comply with new breeding restrictions and suffer great risk of mandatory revocations of their license.


The Impact.
A conference committee is being appointed to facilitate a consensus between members of the Senate and the House of Representatives on a final Farm Bill (a list of probable members is attached to this PetAlert). Senator Santorum’s AWA amendment was not in the version passed by the House. However, members of the conference committee will be compelled to make compromises in order to send a final bill to President Bush.


Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation surrounding the Santorum initiative. Speaking in favor of it before Congress,
co-sponsor Senator Durbin stated that “the current guidelines within the Animal Welfare Act…merely provide for water and food, and that is questionable.” Those familiar with the AWA may be mystified how a legislator proposing to amend the act could proffer such a completely erroneous comment. (kick that hindsight in again at this point) Unfortunately, the sponsors’ characterization of the amendment was equally specious.


Republican sponsor Santorum claims that the mandatory revocation provision “will help USDA take action against the genuinely bad actors while allowing for the rights of all individuals in the breeding business.” In fact, that provision doesn’t give USDA any greater authority to revoke licenses; it only takes away their discretion in enforcing the AWA.


Senator Santorum claims that commercial breeders (which he calls “puppy mills”) supply unsuspecting consumers with puppies that have “latent physical and behavioral problems because of the poor care they received” and that these dogs often “end up taken to shelters where they must be euthanized because they’re too aggressive or sickly to be adopted.” In fact, studies show that there is no healthier source for dogs than pet stores (who buy their puppies from commercial breeders) and that the dogs turned into shelters are overwhelmingly NOT from pet stores.


Claiming broad support from shelters and animal control associations for his legislation, Senator Santorum entered into the Congressional Record a list of 861 organizations he claims endorsed his bill. However, there are now reports being widely circulated that numerous names Senator Santorum included in his list
had not endorsed his legislation at all, leading many people to question whether the list has any validity.  i.e. "he lied."


Senator Santorum calls his proposal “a very modest amendment.” If it is so modest, why does he claim it is so critically needed? In fact, the Santorum amendment would have a profound effect on AWA enforcement, greatly limiting USDA’s enforcement ability.


Recommended Action.
It is imperative that members of the conference committee understand that statements by supporters about what the Santorum amendment does are inaccurate, that the amendment will actually severely compromise AWA enforcement, and that constituents are opposed to these provisions.


Attached below is a list of probable members of the conference committee both from the House and Senate (although members have not all formally been appointed or named). As soon as a final list is available, PIJAC will forward a copy. Many legislators will be home during the week of February 18-23 for Presidents’ Day recess. This is the perfect opportunity to attempt to meet with in their home office. If this is not possible, make certain to contact both their Washington DC and district offices. If your elected representatives are on the committee, let them know that the Santorum Amendment to amend the AWA should be stripped out of the Farm Bill altogether. It has several problems and does not belong in this legislation. Even if your senators and congressman are not on the list, contact them and let them know they should persuade their colleagues to reject this amendment in conference. Encourage your employees, neighbors, friends and customers to contact to join this grassroots response.


In your own words, emphasize the following points:

  • The mandatory license revocation provision lacks due process. Although it appears to be a three-strikes and out provision, it is really a one strike and out provision! Because of the way USDA prepares inspection reports and prosecutes cases, this provision would mandate that many honest businesspeople lose their license the first time they ever get a hearing for violations!

  • Senator Santorum himself emphasized the need for greater enforcement resources, but the revocation provision would result in a greater waste of USDA resources, and less effective enforcement. The agency would be mired in litigation.

  • USDA knows that its greatest enforcement problem is not with licensees who aren’t complying with the law, but with people who ought to be licensed and are ignoring the laws altogether. Those are by far the most egregious violators. The Santorum Amendment doesn’t address the real enforcement problem at all!

  • Senator Santorum’s efforts to establish breeding and socialization provisions may be well intentioned, but they are misguided. The way these are written will deprive breeders of the ability to consult with and rely on the best advice of their veterinarians to care for dogs. These standards are not in the best interest of the dogs and, like the revocation part of the Santorum Amendment, should be struck entirely from the Farm Bill.

  • No congressional hearings have been held to determine if any credible evidence exists to support any of the claims by proponents.

Remember – HSUS and ASPCA are actively firing up their grass roots machinery to flood Congress with support letters; letters that will undoubtedly contain lots of the misinformation already presented to the Senate.


If you have any questions about this issue, or need additional information or assistance in responding, contact PIJAC’s Marshall Meyers or Michael Maddox at 202-452-1525 (800-553-7383 for PIJAC members).

 

http://www.thedogpress.com/ClubNews/PPA-Santorum-0202.asp #10882

 

#1 AKC OPPOSED PPA?? or was it a PR diversion for support of PAWS?

#2 AKC BUYS PAWS? After actually fighting PPA, AKC backs PAWS!

PUPS H.R.5434 - 2010 Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act

PRIME - AKC's Secret Software our fees - for pet shop puppy inventory


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