No logic coming from those who oppose puppy mill regulations

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I’m gonna keep hammering away at this, because every time I read about those opposing breeding regulations in states across the map, the same, tired, twisted mess keeps sinking to the bottom of the debate pond.

So let’s review the basic proposals and specific regulations – with the key follow-up question – WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT?!

** HUMANE HOUSING: Usually, the proposals in state bills set minimum, reasonable standards for the size of cages where the breeding dogs are housed or set a space requirement that allows the dogs room enough to turn around freely and lay down comfortably. And of course the cages should be free of feces and other unhealthy conditions.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – No reasonable person could opposed this provisions – PERIOD. The alternative is to allow breeders to force the dogs to live in horrible conditions.

** DAILY EXERCISE: The bills typically call for minimal amounts of time each day, when the dogs should be allowed to play or at least walk around a bit outside or within some open area.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – No one with an ounce of compassion in their soul would really suggest dogs housed in breeding kennels should be kept in their cages 24/7. We’d never want pets in homes to live this way.

** CLEAN FOOD AND WATER: Self-explanatory.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – The alternative would be dirty water and scummy food? Only a moron would not want the dogs to get clean food and water.

** VETERINARY CARE: Again, self-explanatory.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – Of course, I can hear the pro-puppy mill types saying, “Nobody tells me what to do with my property. It’s just like my car, I change the oil when I want to.” And that pretty sums up where animals stand with the pro-puppy mill side.

** LIMITS ON THE NUMBER OF TIMES FEMALES SHOULD BE PREGNANT IN A GIVEN TIME FRAME: Some of the proposals I’ve seen include this regulation and it’s a good one. The females should be given time for their bodies to rest. They are not factory machines.

WHO COULD BE AGAINST THAT? – This, along with the other provisions, aids in the health and welfare of the dogs. It’s common sense and good veterinary science.

WHO IS FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE? – Animal welfare advocates and quality breeders and every single human with the ability to think logically and have compassion for animals.

Yes – quality breeders meet or exceed the standards of care being proposed across the nation. The only breeders who would be impacted are those that do not meet the minimums. And that’s the point – isn’t it?

I repeat – That’s the point, isn’t it?

And yet, we have groups like the AKC and others out fighting every bill to regulate dog breeding.

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AKC continues to fight against improved protections for puppy mill dogs

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The American Kennel Club continues to make statements that have no basis in logical thought or in facts – where breeding regulations are concerned.

One of the AKC’s primary arguments centers on the false premise that minimum standards of care and/or inspections will hurt  breeders. But here’s the clinching argument: Good, quality breeders already meet or exceed the standards being proposed across the nation.

So it is the bad breeders – the puppy mills – that will face problems under new guidelines. This is the main issue after all. The AKC’s position leaks more than the BP Gulf Oil Gusher.

If a breeder is not taking their dogs in for veterinary care or never allows them play time outside of their cages or is not cleaning their cages or kennels, then that breeder should be shut down.

To suggest these minimum standards are too much, is showing support for puppy mills.

On the AKC website, the group states a new proposal in North Carolina – “Creates unprecedented new levels of regulation of private property ownership.” I cringe when I see animals put in the same category with sofas and subdivision lots.

WNCN reported on June 9 about the AKC’s efforts to speak out against NC Governor Pat McCrory’s proposal to move animal welfare enforcement to the NC Department of Public Safety. WNCN quoted from a letter sent by the AKC to North Carolina House members:

“The Governor’s recommendations would create unprecedented new regulation based on the ownership of private property, create new inefficiencies as responsibilities are shifted between departments, and do nothing to improve the well-being of animals.”

They are wrong about this notion of private property, as it about the welfare of living, feeling beings. They are wrong about the shift, as enforcement should be a law enforcement issue – naturally. And they are completely off base about the well-being of animals. Protecting dogs and cats in puppy and kitten mills is all about the well-being of animals.

I don’t know how one group can reach this level of being so wrong about this subject.

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The AKC’s Catch-22 opposition to the NC puppy mill bill

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We’ve read where the American Kennel Club is opposed legislation such as House Bill 930 in North Carolina because the group opposes setting a base number for how many dogs a breeder needs to have to be covered under these proposed anti-puppy mill laws.

The AKC has also expressed concerned that all dogs need to covered under guidelines of basic care.

So the group seems to be saying that it unacceptable to pass a law covering a limited number of breeders and that setting a cut-off number for the number of dogs on site or the number of litters or anything like that is wrong.

The group’s leaders can do this because they know other groups and most likely the AKC would strongly opposed any effort to regulate smaller backyard breeders or so-called hobby breeders or hunting-dog breeders.

Continue reading

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Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel features the real problems with substandard dog breeding

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I was really pleased to see that Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel has dipped into this issue of dog shows and breed standards – through the American Kennel Club and others – and horrible breeding practices in general.

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AKC on the wrong side of the puppy mill debate – in a huge way

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The American Kennel Club continues to stand on the wrong side of the push to shut down puppy mills. The last straw is the movement in my home state of North Carolina, where HB930 made through a full vote in the state House by a huge margin. But the bill is currently stalled in the Senate.

The measure contains guidelines based on the AKC standards of care. Yet the AKC is now in a position of opposing a movement to set these standards statewide.

An article that ran April 4 on the WGHP website quotes from a statement offered up by the AKC –

“The American Kennel Club believes that devoting more resources to enforcing current laws is a better solution than more regulation. North Carolina’s Animal Welfare Act already provides laws to govern the care of animals. Recent law enforcement actions against substandard kennels demonstrate that these laws work. The priority should be on providing local law enforcement with the resources they need to properly enforce these laws.”

There are some real problems with this statement. One is the fact that law enforcement offices all around the map are calling for clear-cut standards and often we see that conditions have to reach a horrible level before they can step in.

To suggest that current laws are enough in states like North Carolina is to loose all credibility. It is just not a statement based on the facts at hand. Yes, we need to see the laws enforced. But the regulations are currently very weak in NC.

In addition, we have a system of inspections in place for rescue shelters – yet nothing like this at all for breeding operations. Yes, the people and groups who rescue dogs and those who take in dogs pulled from puppy mills are inspected. But the puppy mills are not.

HB930 does not contain a system for inspections. I wish it did. But you can be sure that groups the AKC would throw full tantrums if inspections were in the bill. The last thing they want is for breeding operations to face improved standard of care and inspections.

 

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AKC continues to oppose puppy-mill regulations

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I read an interesting article from WCNC out of Charlotte, NC – back in late February that I saved to soak in and then comment on later.

The headline was – “AKC leads lobbying against NC’s puppy mill law.” The proposed law is in the form of House Bill 930, which is currently held up in the North Carolina Senate.

As the article notes, this is a compromise bill and from previous reports contains standards of care that follow those published by the American Kennel Club. Yet the AKC is now in a position where its lobbyist are opposing those standards.

WCNC reports all other industries dropped their opposition to the NC legislation, while the AKC continues to fight anything that might cut into the numbers produced by mass-breeding operations; you know – puppy mills.

Kim Alboum of the HSUS in NC is quoted as saying – “The American Kennel Club actually receives money for all the puppies that [are] registered through them.” Yes – that is the key.

And we are reminded that the New York Times recently reported the AKC “often lobbies against basic animal rights bills because they could cut into dog registration fees And “Roughly 40 percent of the AKC’s $61 million in revenue came from fees related to registration.”

And then a statement from the AKC is included, one based far more on wildly-inaccurate propaganda than facts.

For example, the claim is made that the bill would make the job of law enforcement more difficult. This flies in the face of law enforcement statements from around map, where officials are calling for better tools to fight this sort of abuse.

The AKC tosses out the tired old claims about the regulations being based on numbers and that they don’t cover hobby breeders such as hunters. But the huge reality is this – IF a bill ever included ALL breeders, the AKC would be first out of the box to scream that is wasn’t fair. This crying about the bill not covering everyone is pure nonsense from groups like the AKC.

The NC bill passed in the House 101-14, but some twisting by a few Senate members has it held up there – unfortunately. Another big item of note in the WCNC article is the AKC campaign donations to Senator Bill Rabon, who is a ringleader in blocking the legislation.

 

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HSUS board member reviews 2013

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A view of the year 2013 for the Humane Society of the US, written by board member Cathy Kangas, was publish Tuesday on the Huffington Post website.

While the list Kangas features contains a number of important facts, some of the information really deserves highlights.

The public also became aware of the American Kennel Club’s ties with the puppy mill industry.

The HSUS also successfully advocated for passage of amendments to the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations bills to defund horse slaughter inspections, which if retained in the final FY 2014 spending bill, will restore the ban on horse slaughter in the U.S.

The HSUS won a big victory in securing an amendment to the farm bill that makes it a federal crime to attend an animal fight.

Let’s hope we see a huge range of success in the area of animal welfare in 2014.

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USDA announces crackdown on online puppy mill sales

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Finally, we might be seeing a move at the federal level to go after puppy mills.

The USDA has announced new regulations to bring dog breeders who sell puppies online or through the mail or by phone under the same guidelines imposed on wholesale breeders. This will be the case for breeders who breed four females or more.

The Associated Press story notes these breeders will need to apply for federal licenses and can be inspected by officials with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

And here’s more great news from the AP piece:

The Agriculture Department estimates that up to 4,640 dog breeders could be affected by the rule, along with about 325 cat breeders and up to 75 rabbit breeders.

Those oppose to the new rules claim the move will put many breeders out of business. GOOD. Those who cannot comply with basic, humane standards of care should not be allowed to operate at all.

Naturally, the AKC opposes the move by the USDA, as reported by the AP:

The American Kennel Club said it is dismayed by the rule, which is “overly broad and will do more damage than good,” said spokeswoman Lisa Petersen.

The AKC always opposes new regulations on puppy mills. Any move to actually force bad breeders to shut down brings the AKC out in force. And get this, the group claims the term “breeding female” is too vague. They probably think the term “compassion” is too vague.

Global Animal puts it this way – “Dog lovers rejoice!”

And on his blog, Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society of the US says tens of thousands of dogs housed in puppy mill will gain protection under the new regulations.

Pacelle explains the HSUS, the Humane Society Legislative Fund and the Doris Day Animal League have been pushing for the change. And they believe “… it was fundamentally unfair that people involved in the same underlying business enterprise (breeding dogs to sell for profit) would face entirely different regulatory standards.”

At minimum, why can’t officials at the AKC understand even this fact?

Pacelle goes on to add:

We thank the Obama administration and the USDA for bringing new standards of care to thousands of puppies, but also to kittens, rabbits and other warm-blooded animals who are often raised in inhumane facilities and sold as pets over the Internet, by mail or by phone, sight-unseen.

We must impose a system of inspections for commercial breeders. Those found to be abusing animals should be immediately shut down and those found to be operating without a license should be immediately shut down.

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Pennsylvania legislature passes new animal-welfare bill

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Despite some setbacks across the map, the animal-welfare movement is seeing forward progress and some key wins. Pennsylvania joined the list of positive results this week, with the passage of its “Cost of Care” bill in the state legislature. And reports indicate Governor Corbett will sign it into law.

The legislation means those accused of animal cruelty will be required to pay a set amount of money to help cover the cost of food and medical care for animals seized in these cases. As it stands now, animal shelters are forced to cover the costs of care as the cases make their way to completion.

If those accused of crimes challenge the payments, a hearing will be held where “humane officers must prove their case,” according to a post Wednesday on the Philly Dawg blog on Philly.com.

Philly Dawg noted the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau pushed to exempt farm animals and dogs in puppy mills. And as expected, the American Kennel Club urged the Governor to veto the bill (big surprise, right?). The AKC reportedly suggested that despite the hearing system, the law would violate the due process rights of the accused.
Again, we have groups fighting to protect those who abuse animals. Those of us fighting to protect animals from abuse, torture and neglect are disgusted by these efforts to defend the abusers.
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Another editorial on puppy mills and the AKC

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Op Ed News ran an editorial May 2 by Suzana Megles, under the headline – “The AKC and Puppy Mills.”

Megles cites information from the Humane Society of the US that states the AKC has opposed 90 state and local bills for the for the past five years. She rightfully notes PetSmart and Petco stopped selling puppies some time ago and over 2.000 independent pet stores have signed the HSUS pledge to no longer sell puppies.

And I was happy to see the information about Facebook not allowing advertisements for puppies and eBay’s warning about on-line puppy sales.

 

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