Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lawsuit filed against APHIS Retail Pet Store Rule

Press Release

On December 16, 2013 a Lawsuit was filed in the Federal District Court in Washington DC that asks the Court to declare that the Retail Pet Store Rule is “arbitrary, capricious and inconsistent"  with law, and to remand the Rule back to the USDA.  The Lawsuit also seeks an injunction that would bar the USDA from enforcing the Retail Pet Store Rule.  The "Complaint" in the Lawsuit was filed on behalf of 42 Plaintiffs that consisted of Dog and Cat Clubs, Associations and a Registry.  Those 42 Plaintiffs included nearly 19,000 breeders who potentially would be adversely affected by the Rule.  Those 42 Plaintiffs represent less than 1% of the more than 5,500 Dog and Cat Clubs in the U.S., which supports the assertion that the Rule potentially affects far, far, far more than the 4,640 breeders that APHIS stated was the maximum number of breeders who potentially would be affected by the Rule.

One of the cornerstone assertions in the Complaint is the fact that APHIS failed to document how it arrived at its figure of 4,640 breeders, which figure is exponentially below the number of hobby breeders who potentially could be affect by the Rule.

The Complaint also highlights deficiencies in the flawed cost analysis that woefully underestimated the cost of compliance.    Of note, was APHIS's repeated use of the words "unknown," "not known" and "uncertainty" in the mandatory Regulatory Impact Assessment and Cost Analysis that were prepared by APHIS.  In short, APHIS's Regulatory Impact Assessment and the Cost Analysis are irrevocably flawed.  Another flaw that was cited in the Complaint included the fact that USDA redefined the definition of a "retail pet store" without any statutory authority to do so.

Additional assertions included the failure of APHIS to address a number of issues that were raised in the 1,000s of Public Comments that were submitted to APHIS.  Those issues included, but were not limited to, cost of compliance; privacy; increased risk of spread of deadly diseases; increased risk of harassment by Animal Rights extremists; potential degradation of gene pools and loss of rare breeds; and lingering confusion that necessitated "Webinars" after the effective date of the Rule; and National Security.

Prior to the filing of the Lawsuit, a formal request was made to Secretary Vilsack to place a 60 day moratorium on the enforcement of the Rule, which was based in part on the following sentence:  "Moreover, APHIS's hosting of two webinars after the effective date indicates that it concedes the requirements and scope of the Rule are not easy to understand."   While it is unlikely that the Secretary will grant the request, the request was made to demonstrate an urgent need for injunctive relief.

In addition to the Lawsuit being filed, a Request for an Expedited Hearing will be submitted to the Court.

We wish to take this opportunity to express our profound appreciation for the financial support of this endeavor by so many Clubs and Individuals.  Thank You!

Associated Dog Clubs of New York State (ADCNYS)
Additional information and updates at http://www.keepourdomesticanimals.com/

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