ANIMAL WELFARE ACT EXCLUDES PUPPY MILLS
Rewrites AWA to Exempt Millers - SEE WHY!
Kim L. Townsend
|Oct. 2008 |
Here is a story that will interest you
and your readers. In short, the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which
regulates commercial breeders (large-scale breeders which supply the
pet shops with puppies) states that when a commercial breeder buys
ANY dog from an unlicensed person, they must get the seller of that
dog to sign a statement that "certifies" the following information:
They are not required to be USDA
They do not sell puppies
They do not have more than 3
In other words, virtually anyone
selling to a commercial breeder needs to have a USDA license.
This was not a new regulation, it was simply a regulation that USDA
did not enforce for two dozen years. The commercial breeders threw a
fit about this and sent out an alert telling members to write their
elected officials. In substance, the alert was a letter which stated
that show breeders would never sell to a USDA kennels and therefore
this newly enforced regulation would limit their 'fair trade'
ability. By requiring a show breeder to fill out the exempt form,
that breeder would then realize that they were selling to a
commercial breeder and any good hobby or show breeder would never do
This letter-writing campaign brought the heat down on USDA and in
typical fashion, USDA caved to the dog industry and said that when
buying breeding dogs, they don't need to get an exempt form. In
other words, the puppy mills will continue to lie to get "champion
sired" dogs from show breeders. This makes their puppy;s pedigree
look good to the pet shop customer.
USDA published the following statement on their website,
"clarifying" the rules concerning the acquisition of breeding stock.
Statement on the Acquisition of
Breeding Stock by Class "A" Licensees: For the purposes of the
Animal Welfare Act (AWA), the acquisition of breeding stock by Class
"A" licensees from bona fide retail sources is considered a retail
transaction. This means that the seller (breeder) of the breeding
stock, if otherwise exempt from AWA regulation, is not required to
be licensed under the AWA for such a transaction, and the
certification requirement of §2.132(d) does not apply. Therefore,
Class "A" licensees purchasing breeding stock directly from those
bona fide retail (exempt) sources do not need to acquire the seller
certifications listed in this section.
The AWA defines a dealer as:
(f) The term "dealer" means any person who, in commerce, for
compensation or profit, delivers for transportation, or transports,
except as a carrier, buys, or sells, or negotiates the purchase or
sale of, (1) any dog or other animal whether alive or dead for
research, teaching, exhibition, or use as a pet, or (2) any dog for
hunting, security, or breeding purposes, except that this
term does not include
(i) a retail pet store except such store which sells any animals to
a research facility, an exhibitor, or a dealer
The AWA defines a retail pet store as anyone who sells retail, not
just a "store". But if you are retail, you can not sell to research
and/or a dealer...that includes breeding dogs. So once a "retail
breeder" sells to a dealer...they become dealers by definition and
must be licensed. But, once again the retail industry wins...USDA
caves to their demands.
You may wonder why the puppy mills would even want to obtain dogs
from unlicensed sources. The answer is in a newsletter put out by
the industry. It's too long to type it all, but here are the key
Iowa Meeting with USDA and Pet
I was invited to speak at Des Moines
Iowa, concerning the "kitchen sink docket". On Nov. 19th, Karen and
Lewis Strange, Cathy Griesbauer, Dale Ingram (PPA Attorney ), Dr.
Jerry Eber, Herman Schindler, Tom Hawley (representing MPBA) and
myself (Bonnie Schindler) met with the IPB Board and spent five long
hours trying to assess the document and its effect on the breeding
This is really a problem for most breeders and dealers. For the
breeders this disallows our ability to upgrade our breeding stock.
Not many "show breeders" will knowingly sell to commercial
breeders and therefore will certainly not fill out the paperwork to
support the fact of the 3 bitch rule. How many people in other
animal business have any restrictions concerning buying the best
male anywhere they choose to upgrade their animal offspring?
They go on to tell breeders to fax
all your representatives NOW and that "Karen" has typed you a sample
of what you could say in your letter.
This is the letter from Karen Strange (AKC Legislative Liaison for
Missouri, and judge for America's Pet Registry (APRi) dog shows, a
registry formed for the commercial breeders…by the commercial
My name is ___________ and I am a licensed USDA dog breeder from
______, Missouri. I am a taxpaying citizen, a voter, and my industry
adds millions of dollars to the economy in the state of Missouri
Aug. 13, 2004, the AWA was amended to make changes in the
inspections, licensing and procurement of animals. The changes are
published in the Federal Register....
Some of the changes are invasive and will create a great hardship on
my business. Among my concerns are that I can no longer obtain dogs,
cats or other animals from an unlicensed person if that person is
required to be licensed. Since USDA does not pursue the licensing of
commercial breeders in most other states even though they are
required to do so, it severely limits my free enterprise practices.
It also states that if I am in violations of any Federal, State or
Local laws, I cannot have my USDA license renewed. WE have consulted
with our industry attorney and concur that this is not within the
scope of the AWA.
Information and comments provided by:
Kim L. Townsend, www.nopuppymills.com