German Shepherd Dog > Join With the AKC to Protect Responsible Small Breeders (27 replies)
Join With the AKC to Protect Responsible Small Breeders
by SitasMom on 13 June 2012 - 03:31
Join with the American Kennel Club to express your concerns about the harsh and unintended consequences that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed regulations (RIN 0578-AD57) to redefine “retail pet store” would have on responsible small and hobby breeders.
Under the proposed regulations, breeders - who maintain more than four “breeding females” and who sell even one puppy sight unseen, by any means (including online, by mail or by telephone), would now be regulated as commercial breeders by the USDA. The effect of these proposed regulations would be to take away the public’s opportunity to obtain puppies from some of our nation’s top breeders who in many cases, have dedicated their lives to breeding for health, breed type and temperament.
Under current law, the federal Animal Welfare Act exempts from federal oversight “retail pet stores,” which sell puppies directly to a final customer for use as pets. This exemption means that most non-commercial small or hobby breeders do not have to be licensed and regulated by the USDA. The proposed rule rescinds the exempt “retail pet store” status of anyone selling pets at retail to buyers who do not physically enter the breeder’s facilities in order to personally observe the animals available for sale.
The rule also requires anyone who owns more than four “breeding females” and sells puppies, cats or other small/exotic pets “sight unseen,” by any means, to be licensed, regulated and inspected as a USDA commercial breeder.
The AKC shares the USDA’s concern about substandard Internet puppy sellers that operate outside the current regulations. However, the unintended consequences of this proposed rule create unreasonable hardships on small hobby breeders. This rule could threaten the future of a vast number of small responsible dog breeders and the very existence of some rare breeds in the United States.
The rule creates an unfair burden on small breeders who may depend on the ability to place dogs very selectively in known situations without physically meeting with the purchaser at the specific time of sale. Likewise, many hobbyists are comfortable purchasing an animal sight-unseen based on known pedigrees, bloodlines, previous relationships or personal knowledge of each other’s facilities and programs. Such scenarios are particularly common and necessary for breeders and fanciers of rare breeds. The proposed rule does not make allowances if the purchaser is willing to sign a waiver of an in-person sale requirement.
It is unreasonable to expect small breeders, who may keep a handful of intact females in their homes, to be able to meet exacting USDA commercial kennel engineering standards that were never intended for home environments. Other pre-existing restrictions such as local ordinances, insurance or licensing may also prevent hobbyists from adapting their facilities.
by SitasMom on 13 June 2012 - 04:14
Petition started June 11, 2012
June 12, 2012 - 23:11 central time - 14,903 signatures
by SitasMom on 13 June 2012 - 15:09
|June 13, 2012 10:00 central time 18943 signatures - keep up the good work!|
by vomeisenhaus on 13 June 2012 - 19:06
|Do you consider a person with 4 breeding females as a "SMALL HOBBY BREEDER" ?|
by EuroShepherd on 13 June 2012 - 21:01
You beat me to it, Sitasmom :) I was going to post this too. already signed it.
vomeisenhaus, I personally consider a breeder with 4 or less breeding females to be a small breeder.
by Ramage on 13 June 2012 - 21:42
|Even a person with 5 or 6 females is easily a hobby breeder. We only have 3 females, but I like to hold back puppies from each litter to work. That might put me at 4 or 5 females, easily. Or, as someone else said on Facebook earlier, they have only 2 females they actually breed and the other female is retired and 2 females are up and coming. |
I think the original rule of "50 or more" dogs sold a year is the best way to not injure the hobby breeder. 50 puppies a year averages to 5 litters (unless you have bitches who produce more than the average of 10 pups in a litter). I think that is more reasonable and that way it doesn't count against smaller breeding operations that might have 5 females, but only breed one or two per year.
by momosgarage on 13 June 2012 - 23:15
|Does anyone actually have a copy of the full proposed regulations? I looked up RIN 0578-AD57 on Reginfo.gov and found nothing.|
I actually want to read the whole thing because I have seen folks post elsewhere, that you cannot sell dogs that you did not breed under RIN 0578-AD57.
by SitasMom on 14 June 2012 - 00:10
breeding animals are considered over the age of 3 months!
so if you have
2 young females that you're raising and training..(over 3 months).
2 females over the age of 2 with titles, xrays and tests and used for breeding?
1 older female who is retiring.....
how is this not a small breeder?
you are over the limit.....which do you sell?
by SitasMom on 14 June 2012 - 00:12
this is the correct link.....
by SitasMom on 14 June 2012 - 06:14
|June 14 01:12 25,477 signatures!!|
Keep up the good work!
by SitasMom on 14 June 2012 - 14:08
|26475 signers at of 9:00 June 14, 1012|
keep up the good work, please spread the word to any and every one that has or wants a pet.
by momosgarage on 14 June 2012 - 15:09
|Also I have read that Mennonites and the Amish are able to get some exemptions from USDA inspection due to "religious freedom" laws. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I would like to know. |
BTW, this topic is listed in two places on the forum:
by SitasMom on 14 June 2012 - 16:45
this new regulation will affect all pet breeders - cats, rabbits, and the rest.....
by SitasMom on 14 June 2012 - 23:36
|29,662 signatures as of 18:35 texas time June 14th|
the number keeps going up........wonder how many signatures are needed?
by SitasMom on 14 June 2012 - 23:42
In order to have a USDA license, you must:
1. Have a responsible adult who can explain your operations available every weekday during business hours (defined as 7AM to 7PM) to accommodate unannounced USDA inspections. If they come for a surprise inspection while you are gone due to an errand or emergency, you will be written up for a violation. This means you must hire someone to be present EVERY TIME you must leave home during business hours. This is completely impractical for small farms, hobby breeders, and rescues that use foster homes.
2. Obtain animals only from USDA licensed facilities or those that can prove they are exempt. The records you must maintain are extensive, including the name, address, driver's license number, and make/model/license plate of vehicle of people you obtain animals from; as well as detailed records about the animals themselves. These records must be kept on the premises and available for inspection at all times. See the form here: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_welfare/downloads/forms/aph7020.pdf
(The form makes it sound like you only have to get the vehicle/DL info. on commercial drivers, but if you read the inspection reports they expect you to maintain this information for anyone who is not USDA licensed).
3. Have pristine laboratory-style equipment and facilities in essentially brand new, perfect condition. No animals in your home. All surfaces must be impermeable, flawless and able to be completely and regularly sterilized. Nothing that could conceivably injure an animal under any stretch of the imagination. Nothing that could conceivably attract or harbor pests. Lighting, climate control, water and electrical access, and wash facilities and methods all must meet specific requirements.
Depending on the inspector you happen to get, the slightest amount of dirt or soiling may be unacceptable. Something that one inspector deems acceptable, the next inspector may write up as a violation. The guidelines are vague and extensive enough that an inspector can always find a violation of some sort if they want to, no matter how well kept your animals and how clean your facility.
Sample citations on record in this category, from actual inspection reports:
A barn with no sink installed. Lack of climate control, and/or the temperature, humidity, etc. being outside the required narrow range. Cracks, rough edges or gaps on surfaces, even surfaces not directly in contact with animals. Wood surfaces, especially if unsealed or showing any signs of wear or chewing. Unsealed concrete, even if not in contact with animals. Rust on any surface, including the outsides of animal enclosures.
Metal urine guards in cages. Wire floors with gaps large enough for toes or baby animal feet to go through at all (basically all wire floors could fall into this category). One to six inches of feces on the ground underneath hanging rabbit cages, despite noted lack of odor. Bags of manure outside a barn.
Sterilizing equipment with a bleach solution (bleach alone is not an approved method).
Weeds or tall grass in the yard outside the building. Dust on an object that was not inside any animal enclosure. Cobwebs on a ceiling. Exposed nail heads and/or insulation in the building. Anything not immediately needed for the care of the animals anywhere in the general area (even if not inside animal enclosures). Animal hair on the floor.
Open containers of hay, lime or feed. Staining, soiling or holes on/in walls behind (not in) cages. Unlabeled containers. A door (not to enclosures confining animals, but to the building) left ajar. Open garbage cans. Empty feed bags. Full feed bags.
Those are just a few examples. I recommend that you read through the reports with cited violations to get a fuller picture.
The vast majority of "AWA violations" cited are not the type of thing most people would think of when they consider animal abuse and neglect--at least not in isolation as a minor occurrence. And yet each item listed here could potentially carry a penalty of up to $10,000 per day for each animal affected.
4. Have a veterinarian on staff or on call and regularly attending the animals in your facility. Not just as needed or for occasional checks, but the veterinarian is required to be supervising and having authority over everything. The vet does not have to be the one doing daily inspections, but is supposed to be in charge of the animals' health in your facility.
One of the violations cited in an APHIS facility inspection was that there was a rabbit with what sounded like wry neck when the inspector arrived. The employee was waiting for someone with more authority to arrive to tell them what to do. When the USDA inspector informed them that waiting a short time to do something was not an option and they needed to call the vet, they euthanized the rabbit--something most breeders would agree was an appropriate action for wry neck, as the prognosis for this disease is very poor and it puts other animals at risk. They were then cited for putting the rabbit down without first consulting the vet.
A number of facilities were cited for using standard over-the-counter or home treatments for routine parasite treatment, minor wound care and common non-serious ailments, because the vet hadn't been called in on it--particularly if the specific use was off-label, even if commonly used that way by veterinarians and animal caretakers.
Minor issues that were being treated with over-the-counter remedies (or that had just occurred and had not yet had time for treatment) were cited as violations, as were issues such as tartar on dog's teeth and a red spot on an animal's paw.
Having expired ointments or medications on the premises--even if you're not actually using them to treat an animal--is a veterinary care violation. Using medications off-label without a prescription is another, even if they are standard treatments for that issue (i.e. using a topical antibiotic cream on a wound for a type of animal not specifically listed on the label, even if a similar type of animal is listed and it is known to be an appropriate treatment for the animal you are dealing with).
So, not only do you have to have normal routine vet checks, you basically have to call the vet in for every little thing, even if all you plan to do is immediately euthanize the sick animal.
Many vets are going to recommend extensive treatments for many things that most breeders would cull a small animal, livestock or meat animal for.
These treatments can be prohibitively expensive and can also interfere with the intended use of the animal. For instance, Baytril, a commonly prescribed antibiotic, is very expensive. I believe it costs about $50 for enough to treat one small (i.e. 4 lb.) critter for one week. Like most medications, it is not approved for use in some types of meat animals, and there is a withdrawl time for others. Other medications are blacklisted so that if that medication is ever used during the life of the animal, it can never be used as meat.
It makes no sense to spend thousands of dollars to do surgery on an animal that was intended for slaughter in a few days anyway, or on an animal such as a mouse--most would opt to put the animal down rather than treating it in such a situation.
But if a facility is USDA licensed, you now have a situation where the breeder is no longer free to make decisions about whether to treat or cull based on cost effectiveness or the greater good of the herd, and cannot vet the animals themselves for standard things every good farmer knows how to treat. The USDA licensed facility must call in the vet for everything.
If the treatment the vet recommends is too expensive and complicated, or you don't feel the prognosis is good enough, or it's a meat animal and you plan to butcher it soon anyway so you opt to slaughter it early rather than dealing with treatments and medication residues, what then? Are you now out of compliance for failing to follow the veterinarian's recommendations?
It's also a complicating factor that for some types of animals, it's very difficult to find a veterinarian that is knowledgeable about the species--and even more so a vet that is familiar with herd or flock management. Veterinarians have been known to do things like prescribe oral amoxicillin for a rabbit with enteritis, despite the owner's protests that it was an inappropriate medication choice for rabbits. Another common occurrence is for vets accustomed to treating pet animals to prescribe medications not appropriate for food animals.
So what are your options then? You're either going to have to pay ANOTHER vet for a second opinion, be out of compliance by not following the vet's advice, or be out of compliance or at least doing something terribly unethical and probably killing the rabbit by giving it a medication known to be contraindicated for that species of animal.
Not only could the veterinary requirements alone easily end up costing hundreds or thousands of dollars per month, it could also significantly hamper a breeder's ability to make appropriate decisions for themselves, their business and their animals.
by SitasMom on 14 June 2012 - 23:44
|More information and sources:|
Here is the link where you can make comments directly to APHIS (as many as you like; you're not limited to just one) on the proposed new rule which would drastically widen the pool of people required to be licensed: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0003-0001
The Cavalry Group has put up a website with a tool to make it easy to email your congressional representatives about this issue (this is important because the new rule must be approved by Congress). You can use their suggested wording, or (for more impact) revise and edit it to reflect your own situation and wording. (While you're at it, it would also be a good idea to write another note asking them NOT to support the PUPS (Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety) Act, another very similar law backed by the HSUS and other animal supremacy groups that some congressfolks are trying to pass.) http://the-cavalry-group.rallycongress.com/6980/urge-congress-take-action-to
The AKC also has a petition going: http://www.akc.org/petition/
Here is the site where you can look up inspection reports. You can search by any term, including type of animal. http://acissearch.aphis.usda.gov/LPASearch/faces/CustomerSearch.jspx
And here are the published regulations pertaining to the Animal Welfare Act:
Here are a lot of the forms and other info:
by HighDesertGSD on 14 June 2012 - 23:47
|Is every unspayed female a breeding female?|
If one is committed to spaying females over 6 years old, having four breeding females is many.
One can be a small breeder by having intact bitches at 2, 4, 6 and 8 years of age.
by SitasMom on 15 June 2012 - 00:00
"the term breeding bitch" starts at 4 months old. how can someone hold back any puppies to work and decide if they're good enough to keep for breeding?
by SitasMom on 15 June 2012 - 03:33
|31439 signatures as of 20:30 huouston time.........|
by SitasMom on 15 June 2012 - 04:04
|here's the link to submit your comments.......|