Thursday, February 20, 2014
URGENT ALERT: IOWA ANTI-BREEDER BILL INTRODUCED
Senator Matt McCoy introduced SF2166, a bill that will have a devastating effect on Iowa dog and cat breeders. The bill was assigned to his committee and has passed. A full Senate vote is expected soon. IT IS URGENT THAT YOU CALL OR EMAIL SENATE MEMBERS AND OPPOSE THIS BILL NOW.
The current law loosely defines a commercial breeder as anyone with 4 or more breeding dogs or cats, who sells, exchanges, or leases in return for consideration (term not defined). Requirements for those who may be “commercial breeders” are extensive and extreme. Hunters are only exempt if they do not use any of their dogs for breeding (male or female).
SF2166 significantly increases license fees for commercial breeders in order to pay for animal seizures. Currently, the registration fee is $175 to cover the department of agriculture’s administration costs. SF2166 requires commercial breeders to pay that amount plus an additional amount ranging from $100 to $2,500 based on the number of dogs on your property at the time of an inspection. The additional fee will be deposited in a new “animal rescue remediation fund” used to reimburse local authorities when dogs are seized. Current law already requires anyone accused of cruelty to post a bond to cover animal care while hearings take place.
SF2166 requires a primary enclosure to be 2 times the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) standard by January 1, 2015. The bill then repeals this at the end of 2015 and increases the mandate to 3 times AWA standard beginning January 1, 2016. Breeders certainly cannot afford to purchase new crates or kennels for only one year’s use and then discard and build again. In order to comply with the bill’s standards a breeder would have to renovate facilities to meet the 2016 standard. This would mean primary enclosures (crates) of enormous size. An average size Cattle Dog would need a crate approximately 8X4X3. In addition, a commercial breeder with ten or more breeding dogs must have primary enclosures that provide permanent unfettered access to an “attached” outdoor run. Current Iowa code allows only 6 dogs inside the home of a licensee; however with the proposed enclosure requirements it is unlikely that any breeder can keep dogs inside and remain licensed unless their home includes enclosures with attached outdoor runs.
The new primary enclosure regulation in SF2166 is also required for cats. Current AWA standard requires all cats be in enclosures at least 24 inches high. Cats up to and including 8.8 lbs must be provided with at least 3 SF of floor space; cats over 8.8 lbs must be provided with 4 SF of floor space. SF2166 requires space 3 times what is specified in Title 9 C.F.R. §3.6. Cats are NOT excluded from the requirement that the primary enclosure include an “attached” outdoor run with unfettered access. A mandate for cats to have unfettered access to outdoor runs will place them at risk of contact with feral cats and exposure to deadly diseases.
Having “unfettered” access to outdoor runs could be deadly to puppies and kittens. This would also make it impossible to maintain temps required under existing laws.
The bill mandates annual veterinary examinations for all breeding dogs and breeding cats. There are no specifications for what the exam entails. A routine 15-minute exam can only detect obvious conditions such as missing teeth or being over/underweight, and places the veterinarian in a position of certifying or documenting an exam using only these external assessments. This provision only serves to make breeding dogs and cats more expensive without measurable benefit. Veterinary care should remain at the owner’s discretion and not become a legislative mandate.
SF2166 prohibits commercial breeders from purchasing a dog or cat from anyone who is not licensed and also from participating in rescue.
The bill mandates annual inspections during business hours. For dog and cat owners who are not true businesses, making their homes available for inspection will be problematic. Hobby breeders, those with as few as four breeding animals, and small breeders working outside the home during inspection hours could face disciplinary action for not being home for an inspection.
SF2166 is not an animal welfare bill; it is an attempt to shut down breeding of cats and dogs in Iowa.
Please cross post widely.
Sportsmen's & Animal Owners' Voting Alliance
Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators