Here is a sampling of proposed legislation affecting pet owners around the US. All bracketed additions are mine. Our representatives are elected to speak for us, their constituents. If you find the bills they are considering to be misrepresentative of your view of fair, reasonable and necessary legislation, I suggest you speak for yourself. Find your state representatives and contact them with your polite and respectful opinions.
Arkansas, Senate Bill 864 (pdf)
Sponsor: Senator Madison
An owner of twelve (12) or more dogs, cats, or any combination of dogs and cats shall annually obtain a license issued by the Arkansas Agriculture Department.
[Cost of license=$250]
Twenty-four (24) or more dogs, cats, or any combination of dogs and cats is one thousand dollars ($1,000).
An official of the department, a public health or safety official, and an officer employed or appointed by an agency of the state, county, municipality, or other governmental or political subdivision of the state that is responsible for animal control operations in its jurisdiction, upon receiving a complaint or upon his or her own motion, may investigate a violation of this section during daytime hours.
The investigation may include the inspection of the dogs or cats on the premises and any place where dogs or cats are kept or maintained.
This bill allows for warrantless searches of owners’ kennels and/or yards and/or homes.
Maryland, House Bill 495 (pdf)
Sponsors: Delegates Smigiel, Ali, Barkley, Bartlett, Barve, Beidle, Bronrott, Cardin, Dumais, Frush, Gilchrist, Glenn, Hubbard, Hucker, Impallaria, Kelly, Kipke, Kramer, Lee, Manno, Mathias, McComas, McConkey, McDonough, Minnick, Montgomery, Ramirez, Shewell, Stein, Valderrama, and Waldstreicher
A PERSON WHO OWNS, POSSESSES, CONTROLS, OR OTHERWISE HAS CHARGE OR CUSTODY OF MORE THAN 10 BREEDING DOGS OVER THE AGE OF 4 MONTHS SHALL PROVIDE FOR EACH DOG:
(I) AN ENCLOSURE WITH:
1. AN INTERIOR HEIGHT OF AT LEAST 6 INCHES HIGHER THAN THE HEAD OF THE TALLEST DOG IN THE ENCLOSURE WHEN THE DOG IS IN A NORMAL STANDING POSITION; AND
2. SUFFICIENT SPACE TO ALLOW THE DOG TO TURN ABOUT FREELY, STAND, SIT, AND LIE DOWN SUCH THAT, WHEN FULLY EXTENDED, NO PART OF THE DOG’S BODY TOUCHES ANY SIDE OF THE ENCLOSURE OR ANY OTHER DOG IN THE ENCLOSURE; AND
(II) UNLESS THE DOG IS CERTIFIED BY A DOCTOR OF VETERINARY MEDICINE TO BE MEDICALLY PRECLUDED FROM EXERCISE, A MINIMUM OF TWO EXERCISE PERIODS EACH DAY FOR A TOTAL OF AT LEAST 2 HOURS OF EXERCISE EACH DAY.
(2) THE EXERCISE REQUIRED UNDER PARAGRAPH (1)(II) OF THIS SUBSECTION:
(I) SHALL INCLUDE REMOVING THE DOG FROM ITS PRIMARY ENCLOSURE AND ALLOWING THE DOG TO WALK FOR THE ENTIRE EXERCISE PERIOD; AND
(II) UNLESS PRESCRIBED BY A DOCTOR OF VETERINARY MEDICINE, MAY NOT INCLUDE USE OF A TREADMILL, CAT MILL, JENNY MILL, SLAT MILL, OR SIMILAR DEVICE.
What if the “enclosure” you provide for your dogs is your home? What if you know how to use a treadmill responsibly for occasional, directly supervised exercise of your pet? What if your boss says you have to work late and you don’t manage to get in the full 2 hours for each dog that day? Who is going to monitor and enforce these regulations? I have questions!
Nevada, Senate Bill 241 (pdf)
Sponsors: SENATORS BREEDEN, CARLTON, WIENER, TOWNSEND; HORSFORD, LEE, PARKS AND WOODHOUSE
Legislative Counsel’s Digest:
Section 4 of this bill prohibits a person from breeding cats and dogs for sale in Nevada without first obtaining a license as a breeder from the State Department of Agriculture and makes a violation of the licensure provision a misdemeanor. Section 4 also imposes an annual $500 licensing fee on breeders. Section 5 of this bill: (1) sets forth the qualifications a person must meet to be issued a license as a breeder, including good moral character and a lack of any convictions of violating a provision of chapter 574 of NRS relating to cruelty to and care of animals; (2) requires the license to be renewed annually […] Section 11 of this bill sets forth the duties of a breeder, including ensuring that cats or dogs he breeds and sells have all their necessary immunizations, that no cat or dog is bred for more than two litters, that each cat or dog is implanted with a microchip before it is sold and that the breeder registers each litter with the Department.
So the state of Nevada is going to determine which breeder applicants have “good moral character”? Huzzah!
New York, State Assembly Bill A05507 (summary)
Sponsor: Ball (MS)
[...]change the definition of a "pet dealer"
to mean any person who engages in the
sale of more than five animals (rather than
nine) per year directly to the consumer.
The definition of "pet dealer" is also
amended such that a breeder is considered a
pet dealer if he or she sells directly to
the consumer fewer than ten animals per
year (rather than twenty five) that are
raised on the breeders residence.
This bill is supposedly designed to regulate “puppy and kitten mills” but the definition changes seem to include just about anyone who breeds dogs or cats.
Tennessee, Senate Bill 0258 (summary)
Sponsors: Senators Jackson, Ketron
A “commercial breeder” is a person who possesses or maintains at least 20 female dogs in order to sell their offspring as companion animals.
An application for a license as a commercial breeder would be made to the commissioner on a form provided by the commissioner. Each application for a license must be accompanied by a license fee based upon the following:
(1) Possessing or maintaining 20-40 adult companion animals per year, $500; or
(2) Possessing or maintaining 41-75 adult companion animals per year, $1,000.
A license would not be issued to any commercial breeder who possesses or maintains more than 75 unsterilized companion animals over the age of six months.
This bill requires each commercial breeder to file semi-annual reports containing the following information:
(1) The number of dogs or cats in the possession of the commercial breeder on the date the report is filed;
(2) The number of dogs and cats sold during the reporting period and the names and addresses of the persons to whom they were sold; and
(3) The number of dogs and cats received by the commercial breeder during the reporting period under circumstances other than purchase and the names and addresses of the persons from whom they were obtained.
The premises of a commercial breeder must be made available to the commissioner for inspection at all reasonable times. The commissioner would make or cause to be made such inspections or investigations of the premises and records as considered necessary.
This bill also contains the “good moral character” requirement for applicants. Again, I’m seeing warrantless searches and there is a provision for animal seizure as well. Turning in the names and addresses of buyers to the state seems excessively intrusive to me. Why do they want that information, how will the state use it and what steps will be taken to protect the privacy of buyers? Or will buyers’ names and addresses become public information?
Additional bills affecting pet owners: