NC "Puppy Mill Bill" Set for Final Senate Vote Today

NC Senate Bill 460 is a “puppy mill bill” which HSUS played a key role in developing:

“We will soon introduce legislation that will help to crack down on the cruel puppy mill industry in our state.” [said Amanda Arrington, North Carolina state director for The HSUS.]

That bill is set for a final vote today. If you are a NC resident, a list of your state Senators can be found here.

Included in the current version of the bill:

  • “Commercial breeder” means any person who owns or maintains 15 or more intact female dogs of breeding age and 30 or more puppies for the purpose of sale. Nothing in this Article shall apply to those kennels or establishments operated for the purpose of boarding or training hunting, sporting, herding, show, or working dogs.
  • “Commercial breeding operation” means the physical location or facility at which a commercial breeder breeds or maintains intact female dogs of breeding age and puppies.
  • Commercial breeders shall provide adequate veterinary care to the intact female dogs of breeding age and any puppies in their care and custody. An intact female dog of breeding age shall not be bred without an examination from a licensed veterinarian to determine that the dog is in suitable health for breeding.
  • Commercial breeding operations shall be subject to inspection by duly appointed employees of the Department unless otherwise requested by a local animal control officer and authorized by the Department. In conducting such inspections, the Department employee or local animal control officer may inspect the records of the commercial breeder, the premises where animals are bred and maintained, and any animal used in the breeding program or any puppies in their care and custody.

I interpret this to mean that a breeder with 30 puppies for sale who cares for dogs in her home is prohibited by law from making decisions on breeding bitches unless a Vet signs off on it. Further, the breeder is subject to warrantless searches of her home and inspection of adults and pups by whoever shows up to do the inspecting. I don’t know about you but I don’t allow visitors when I have pups, especially if they’ve had contact with other dogs. It’s too great a risk to the health of the pups to my mind. And I prefer to make my own decisions on breeding bitches. Not that I wouldn’t consider input from my Vet, but my Vet may or may not be a breeder and his opinion would not trump mine. As for warrantless searches of my home – put me down for “nuh-uh”.

Commercial dog breeders are already regulated by the USDA. They’ve been falling down on the job for years but that is not an excuse to pile more intrusive laws on top of the already unenforced ones on the books. Let’s get the USDA the funding, manpower and resources it needs to enforce the laws as they stand. After they get their feet under them, let’s hear from them what tools they need to better insure humane care of dogs. Maybe laws will need to be strengthened, or more funding provided to enforcement, I don’t know. But to my way of thinking, it’s better to fully utilize what the government already has in place rather than add more laws, expense and burden to taxpayers. The idea that we can’t enforce the commercial breeding laws we have now therefore we must add more laws just doesn’t make sense to me.

We all want good quality care for dogs. I can’t see how this bill accomplishes that. We are a humane society, not a police state. Let’s work within the existing framework and see how things can be improved. I am all for progress but this bill is a giant step backwards to me.

Related: The Long Arm of HSUS in NC

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