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CFA Legislative ALERTS


CFA Federal & State Bill Tracking       ALERTS: Federal | State | Local

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Action Alerts - FEDERAL

USDA/APHIS Adopts New Rule for Federal Licensing and Inspection of Home Hobby Breeders

After more than a year of deliberation, on September 10, 2013 the USDA/APHIS announced their final rule changing their interpretation of the Animal Welfare Act. The final Rule was published in the Federal Register on September 18, 2013 and became effective on November 18, 2013. The new rule is intended to increase federal regulation of pets sold over the Internet, but the final rule is much broader than just Internet sales. Most hobby breeders of cats may still be exempt from federal licensing and inspection, or may be able to become exempt, by making small changes to the manner in which they conduct business.

  LATEST NEWS:

  • NEW: View the UPDATED December 2013 APHIS Q&As on the USDA/APHIS "Retail Pet Store" Final Rule:Information Page -  

    Also on this page -
    The complete Animal Welfare Act with updated Regulations (November 2103)
    The Federal Register Docket #2011-2003
    The Regulatory Impact Analysis and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, which includes an overview of the Final Rule and the requirements for newly licensed and regulated breeders.
    Click on the Introductory Course for Commercial Dog Breeders, (which includes cat breeders) to see a Power Point presentation of requirements for licensed breeders, including record keeping, housing, husbandry standards and more.
     
  • NEW: USDA/APHIS Webinar Summary, November 14, 2013 - How will USDA implement the Retail Pet Store Rule?
     
  • CFA Update, October 15, 2013 - some questions and answers regarding the exemptions of the new APHIS Rule
     
  • TICA/CFA APHIS flowchart - a helpful flowchart for understanding the licensing exemptions for the new APHIS Rule
     
  • CFA Update, September 25, 2013 - Don't Panic - Living within the new USDA/APHIS rule
     
  • APHIS/USDA retail pet rule checklist
    Note: although prepared by the USDA/APHIS, this is not part of the rule and is not binding on the agency. Rely on this information at your own risk.
     
  • CFA Update, September 10, 2013
     
  • First Step in Rule Analysis - Sharon Coleman, CFA Legislative Legal Analyst
    Integrated text comparing the proposed and final rules from the APHIS Docket Page 88. This allows us to see what APHIS did, rather than their explanation. 157 pages including the entire Animal Welfare Act and changes.

Background: USDA/APHIS Proposes Federal Licensing and Inspection of Many Home Hobby Breeders

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed changes to federal regulations that would treat many small/hobby breeders and pet rescue groups as commercial breeders. The proposed rule change would require federal licensing, regulation and inspections that would eliminate many small hobby breeders and threaten the existence of many pedigreed breeds. With hobby breeders gone, pet buyers would be forced to obtain pets from large, commercial vendors. Now is the time to contact your elected federal representatives asking them to help. Please read the CFA Next Step Guide (click here, or see below)

BACKGROUND:

On May 10, 2012 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced a proposal for broad new rules to regulate pet breeders who sell directly to the public. The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) unit currently regulates large-scale commercial breeders who sell animals at wholesale or for research. Hobby breeders selling directly to the public at retail are exempt from federal regulation. State and local governments already can regulate all breeders; and buyers can, whether or not all actually do, visit the breeders’ premises.

The USDA is under fire for lax enforcement of existing law. Last year Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin introduced in the US Senate the Durbin-Vitter "Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act" (PUPS) to require federal licensing and inspection of many home hobby breeders (see below). As the PUPS bill has become stalled in congress, proponents are circumventing the process by having the agency amend regulations without need of new legislation.

The proposed new rules will be much broader than the PUPS bill. The new regulations include all small animal species, including cats, and would require licensing of catteries who sell even one kitten without the buyer actually entering their home to view the animal. Only a cattery with 4 or fewer “breeding females” would be exempt. (Of course, since this is a regulation and not a law that limit could be lowered even more.) Below are links to Joan Millers article about this USDA/APHIS proposal with background information as a first step in understanding. CFA OPPOSES.

* Federal Register Docket: APHIS-2011-0003
* Regulatory Impact Analysis: APHIS-2011-0003

* USDA/APHIS proposal UPDATE – Do you want federal inspectors in your bedrooms? (June 14, 2012)

* Federal licensing of cat breeders – a heads up !! (May 15, 2012)

* APHIS Fact Sheet (July 8, 2012)
* APHIS Fact Sheet (revised July 16, 2012)
* APHIS Fact Sheet (revised July 17, 2012)

CFA's Comment Letter (July 16, 2012)

USDA/APHIS proposal UPDATE - Comment Period extended to August 15th! (July 18, 2012)

CFA public flyer (Please give to spectators at your shows, kitten buyers, etc)
CFA Fact Sheet

CFA Comment Guide

APHIS responds to FOIA

CFA Next Step Guide

CFA Letter to OMB

CURRENT STATUS: After waiting for many months and CFA providing numerous letters as well as comments from fanciers the process of review has been completed. Over 10,000 public comments and over 130,000 petition signatures were submitted. The USDA/APHIS finally announced their decision on September 10, 2013, regarding their rule for the revised definition of "retail pet store". Until we see the final language as published in the Federal Register we will not be certain of the implications. Information and answers to questions will be provided as more is known.

USDA/APHIS website - http://www.aphis.usda.gov/newsroom/index.shtml
View the Announcement Press Release, The APHIS Q&As and the 91 page Docket on comments with the new language proposed (on page 88).

CFA Update, September 10, 2013

First Step in Rule Analysis - Sharon Coleman, CFA Legislative Legal Analyst
Integrated text comparing the proposed and final rules from the APHIS Docket Page 88. This allows us to see what APHIS did, rather than their explanation. 157 pages including the entire Animal Welfare Act and changes.

CFA Update, September 25, 2013

NEW: TICA/CFA APHIS flowchart - a helpful flowchart for understanding the licensing exemptions for the new APHIS Rule

NEW: CFA Update, October 15, 2013 - some questions and answers regarding the exemptions of the new APHIS Rule


The "Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act" (PUPS) [Senate Bill S 707 / House Bill HR 835] is a proposed amendment to the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The AWA currently regulates large-scale commercial breeders who sell animals at wholesale or for research. Hobby breeders selling directly to the public at retail are exempt from federal regulation. Since consumers have access to the breeders in direct sales, small retail breeders are currently regulated by local government. PUPS would expand federal jurisdiction into pets and require federal licensing and inspection of home hobby dog breeders who own one intact female and who place as few as 50 puppies per year. Contrary to the claims of PUPS supporters it is NOT limited to Internet sales. It would apply to a breeder who places pets "via any means of conveyance." The USDA is currently under fire for lax enforcement of existing law. In FY 2008 the USDA had 99 inspectors who conducted 15,722 inspections or re-inspections on facilities including 4,604 licensed breeders and 1,116 licensed brokers. The numbers of facilities/homes that would be added by PUPS would be in the thousands, meaning fewer inspections of the large, commercial breeders the AWA was intended to regulate. The USDA's current animal care regulations cover breeders who sell at wholesale, who breed commercially in large quantities, and are ill-suited to home-based hobby breeders. Compromising the regulations in order to accommodate the newly added home breeders may lessen the enforcement of the AWA standards of care for the commercial operations it was intended to regulate. CFA OPPOSES

CURRENT STATUS: Senate Bill 707 has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry. House Bill 835 has been assigned to the Livestock, Dairy & Poultry Subcommittee of the House Committee on Agriculture. Neither bill has been scheduled for committee hearing. Supporters of PUPS are lobbying legislators in both houses to become cosponsors. Immediate action is needed. Please bookmark this page for updates.


Action Alerts - STATE

None currently


Action Alerts - LOCAL

County of Ventura, California - Mandatory Spay Neuter of Cats and Dogs and Pet Store selling ban:

The second reading of an extensive revision to the unincorporated Ventura County Animal Code included MSN of all dogs and cats by 4 months with 60 days to comply unless one has a permit to breed. To acquire this permit one must register their dogs AND CATS with the American Kennel Club and be an AKC "Breeder of Merit". This made it impossible for cat fanciers to be exempt. In addition, breeders can only have one litter per female and one litter per year, making any breeding program for cats impossible. CFA OPPOSED.

CURRENT STATUS:
In spite of a good turnout of opposition and excellent testimony, the Ventura Board of Supervisors decided that "something was better than nothing" and PASSED the ordinance at a hearing on December 10, 2013. For more details see the article below.

New : Article on Mandatory Spay/Neuter - Ventura County (December 15, 2013)


City of Pasadena Mandatory Spay Neuter of Cats and Dogs Ordinance:

An ordinance was proposed for the City of Pasadena, California, near Los Angeles that would require all dogs,and cats to be altered by 4 months of age. The proposed language allows exemptions for working dogs and show or breeding dogs with various requirements. However, there were NO exemptions for cats at all. CFA OPPOSED.

CURRENT STATUS:
SUCCESS -   The hearing held on Monday, October 7, 2013 resulted in the motion to pass being withdrawn and no vote called by the chair.  See the article below for more details.

Pasadena Hearing final report (October 7, 2013)

CFA Alert (October 7, 2013 hearing)

Pasadena Ordinance Language (October 7, 2013)
Hearing agenda and location, 7pm, Monday October 7, 2013

CFA Letter in Opposition (October 6, 2013)
Attachment - Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws - The positions of several respected national medical and animal welfare organizations.


City of San Diego Pet Store Ordinance:

An ordinance has been proposed for the City of San Diego that would prohibit the sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in any Pet Shop or other "commercial establishment". In the final version language was inserted that refers to those selling dogs, cats and rabbits bred and reared on their own premises i.e. breeders. Exempted would only be persons who sell dogs, cats and rabbits under specific thresholds, It would be prohibited for a breeder to sell more than 3 litters or more than 20 kittens in a 12 month period, since they may be considered a for-profit business or person "engaged in retail......commerce" related to dogs, cats and rabbits.

This language came from the Companion Animal Protection Society, based in Massachusetts. CAPS states it "is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to protecting companion animals from cruelty in pet shops and puppy mills." CFA OPPOSES.

CURRENT STATUS:
Fanciers made a presentation to the full Council on July 9, 2013 urging Council Members to vote the entire ordinance down. They explained how detrimental the breeder exemption would be for reputable and responsible breeders of pedigreed cats and purebred dogs. The motion to pass removed this language, which was a success for cat and dog fanciers, However, the rest of the ordinance passed unanimously. Watch for further ordinances concerning pet store sales. CAPS has stated they want to stop all breeding as well as prevent pet stores from selling animals. Contact the CFA Legislative Group for guidance on strategy and points to make if this ordinance comes to your City or County.

Video - Testimony and Minutes, Public Safety & Neighborhood Services Committee hearing 5/1/13. Scroll to bottom left - Item #5

CFA Update/Alert (July 9, 2013 hearing)

Video - Testimony and minutes, Full Council meeting 7/9/13. Scroll to bottom - Item 332.

San Diego Ordinance language (July 9, 2013)

Pet Store Bans - What does this have to do with Pedigreed cat breeders?