OPPOSITION STATEMENT TO Amendment SA 3500 of H.R. 2419 -Amendment 3723 SEC. 11072.

December 6, 2007

 RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERS OF THE WESTERN STATES

 

P.O. Box 1406  Newport, WA 99156Web Site http://www.povn.com/rdows E-mail US rdows@povn.comBlog https://rdows.wordpress.com  E-mail List http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rdows Cherie Graves, Chairwoman, WA, (509) 447-2821Judy Schreiber-Dwornick, Assistant to the Chair, Director at Large, rdowsdirectoratlarge@gmail.comHermine Stover, Secretary, Press Liaison, CA, hermine@endangeredspecies.comArkansas Director, Roger Schnyer  cajun9@sbcglobal.netCalifornia Director, Jan Dykema bestuvall@sbcglobal.netIllinois Director, Elizabeth Pensgard bpensgard@yahoo.comIndiana Director, Charles Coffman candkcoffman@comcast.netIowa Director, Leisa Boysen rdows_iowa@yahoo.comMississippi Director, Dan Crutchfield farmer1@telepak.netNevada Director, Ken Sondej 4winds@viawest.netOhio Director, Tiffany Skotnicky ohdirrdows@yahoo.comOklahoma Director, Jade Harris aadrlegislation@yahoo.com

Tennessee Director, Gina Cotton ginacotton@msn.com

Texas Director, Alvin Crow crobx@austin.rr.com

 

Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States (RDOWS) was formed October 15, 1989 to protect the civil rights, Constitutional rights, and interests of dog owners. We the members of the Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States  find that the intent of the amendments SA 3723, and SA 3500 of H.R. 2419 (see below) is to destroy traditional animal husbandry practices of pet animals in the United States of America, and is a legislated attack upon the pet animal industry in the United States of America.

The pet animal industry pumps a very healthy $50 billion dollars annually into our economy. Congress should be working to protect the pet animal industry, not to destroy it. We further determine that this amendment, formerly known as the Pet Animal Welfare Act has nothing to do with the welfare of animals. If passed, the amendment will effectively remove the care and nurture of pet animals from the security of our homes and force breeders to raise animals in an institutional environment that is not conducive to a sound well socialized animal. 

RDOWS by issuing this opposition statement is formally adding our credentials, and support to other organizations,  that stand in opposition to amendment SA 3500, and SA 3723 of H.R. 2419.

Below are the enumerated reasons that the RDOWS stands firmly in opposition to amendment SA 3500, and SA 3723 of H.R. 2419.

1.) The Amendments would limit breeders  to an arbitrary number of animals that may be sold in a given year without having a USDA approved facility. That number is 25 animals, or six litters in any given year. One pup, or one kitten over those numbers,  and the breeder/rescuer will be subject to build a USDA approved building.  This will lead to numerous healthy animals being killed to avoid compliance with federal law. These arbitrary numbers could be amended far lower in the future with no public notice, debate, or input.

2.) Calls for third party inspectors from non-profit organizations in private homes. This is a giving over of police powers to a non-governmental organization.

3.) Reclassifies hobby breeders as dealers, and holds them to a set of care, and housing laws, and regulations that are not yet written. This is in direct violation of the Bill of Rights, Amendment IV.

4.)  Proposes to regulate on a federal level that which is best left to each state, and locale.

5.) The existing Animal Welfare Act is more than sufficient to deal with the real problems of animal neglect and over use. 

6.) The amendment is supported by animal rights groups whose stated goals are not the care, and nurture of pet animals, but their total abolition from the ownership, care and use of the people.  Amendment SA 3500, and Amendment 3723 of H.R. 2419 takes the animal rights zealots several steps closer to their goal.

7.) The American Kennel Club’s data banks, and registry records will be made accessible to the USDA. The USDA will have access to the home addresses, telephone numbers, and breed information of every breeder that registers their dogs with the AKC.

8.) The Amemdments allow not-for profit groups to import animals from foreign nations into the United States unchecked. These animals are already being imported in vast numbers  bringing in diseases that are not indemic to the USA, and  for which we have no medical protocols. Shelters are being shut down all across the nation to stop the spread of these diseases brought in with these animals. An 11 year old California boy was bitten by an imported shelter dog, contracted a strain of rabies that resisted all treatment, and died. It is not only extremely irresponsible to allow for the unchecked importation of animals by non-profit groups it is a national health threat. 

9.) These amendments are a direct violation of our rights of commerce.

10.) These amendments violate our right to travel unimpeded upon our legitimate business.

In conclusion Responsible Dog Owners of the Western States states that there can be no workable compromise to amendment SA 3500, ans Amendment SA 3723 of H.R. 2419.  RDOWS stands firmly in the position that the existing Pet Animal Welfare Act is sufficient, if enforced,  to control breeders, and animal dealers as it was passed in 2003.


SA 3723. Mr. DURBIN submitted an amendment intended to be proposed to amendment SA 3500 proposed by Mr. HARKIN (for himself, Mr. CHAMBLISS, Mr. BAUCUS, and Mr. GRASSLEY) to the bill H.R. 2419, to provide for the continuation of agricultural programs through fiscal year 2012, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

    On page 1362, between lines 19 and 20, insert the following:

   SEC. 11072. REGULATION OF THE PET INDUSTRY.

    (a) High-Volume Retailers and Importers.–

    (1) IN GENERAL.–The Animal Welfare Act is amended by adding after section 19 (7 U.S.C. 2149) the following:

   “SEC. 20. REGULATION OF HIGH-VOLUME RETAILERS AND IMPORTERS.

    “(a) Definitions.–In this section:

    “(1) CERTIFIED THIRD-PARTY INSPECTOR.–The term `certified third-party inspector’ means a nonprofit organization certified by the Secretary in accordance with subsection (d).

    “(2) IMPORTER.–The term `importer’ has the same meaning as the term `regulated person’, except that the term also includes any person that imports into the United States any dog or cat for resale.

    “(3) REGULATED PERSON.–

    “(A) IN GENERAL.–The term `regulated person’ means any person who in commerce, for compensation or profit, delivers for transportation, or transports, except as a carrier, buys, or sells, or negotiates the purchase or sale of–

    “(i) any dog or other animal (whether alive or dead) for research, teaching, or exhibition;

    “(ii) any dog or cat (whether alive or dead) at wholesale or retail; or

    “(iii) any dog or cat imported into the United States for resale.

    “(B) EXCEPTIONS.–The term `regulated person’ does not include–

    “(i) a retail pet store, except for a retail pet store that sells–

    “(I) any animal to a research facility, an exhibitor, or a regulated person; or

    “(II) any dog or cat imported into the United States directly by the retail pet store;

    “(ii) any animal shelter, rescue organization, or other person that does not operate for profit; or

    “(iii) any person that–

    “(I) sells dogs and cats only at retail;

    “(II) does not import dogs and cats for resale; and

    “(III)(aa) sells not more than the total number of dogs and cats described in subparagraph (C); or

    “(bb) in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary, is determined to be in compliance with the standards of a third-party inspector certified under subsection (d).

    “(C) DESCRIPTION.–The number of dogs and cats referred to in subparagraph (B)(iii)(III)(aa) is not more than–

    “(i) a total of 25 dogs and cats not bred or raised on the premises of the seller during a calendar year; or

    “(ii)(I) the number of dogs and cats bred or raised during a calendar year on the premises of the seller and sold directly at retail to persons who purchase the dogs and cats for personal use and enjoyment and not for resale, provided that the total number sold during a calendar year is not more than the greater of 25 dogs and cats or the dogs and cats from not more than 6 litters; and

    “(II) a total of 25 other dogs and cats not bred or raised on the premises of the seller during the calendar year.

    “(4) RETAIL.–The term `retail’ means any sale that is not at wholesale.

    “(5) RETAIL PET STORE.–

    “(A) IN GENERAL.–The term `retail pet store’ means a retail business establishment that–

    “(i) maintains a physical premises that is open to the public; and

    “(ii) sells pet animals directly to the public from the retail business premises.

    “(B) EXCLUSION.–The term `retail pet store’ does not include–

    “(i) a person breeding dogs or cats to sell at wholesale or retail; or

    “(ii) a person importing dogs or cats from outside the United States for resale.

    “(6) WHOLESALE.–The term `wholesale’ means the sale of an animal for resale.

    “(b) Treatment of Regulated Persons.–The Secretary shall treat a regulated person in the same manner that the Secretary treats a dealer under this Act.

    “(c) Alternative Licensing Option.–The Secretary may issue a license under section 3 to a regulated person that deals in dogs or cats if the regulated person–

    “(1) has demonstrated that the facilities of the regulated person comply with standards promulgated by the Secretary in accordance with section 13; or

    “(2) has demonstrated in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Secretary that the facilities of the regulated person comply with standards established by a certified third-party inspector.

    “(d) Third-Party Inspectors.–

    “(1) REGULATIONS.–

    “(A) IN GENERAL.–Not later than 36 months after the date of enactment of this subsection, the Secretary shall promulgate regulations under which the Secretary may certify nonprofit organizations that the Secretary determines to have standards and inspection protocols that are at least as protective of animal welfare as those promulgated by the Secretary in accordance with section 13(a)(2).

    “(B) REQUIREMENTS.–Regulations promulgated under subparagraph (A) shall–

    “(i) establish procedures under which the Secretary may certify third-party inspectors, including provisions for public notice of–

    “(I) third-party certification applications;

    “(II) certification decisions by the Secretary; and

    “(III) the standards and inspection protocols of certified third-party inspectors;

    “(ii) require each certified third-party inspector to be recertified not less than once every 3 years;

    “(iii) establish procedures under which the Secretary shall decertify a certified third-party inspector that the Secretary determines has failed to maintain standards and inspection protocols that are at least as protective of animal welfare as those promulgated by the Secretary in accordance with section 13(a)(2);

    “(iv) require each certified third-party inspector to immediately notify the Secretary of any person inspected by the certified third-party inspector–

    “(I) whose conduct places the health of an animal in serious danger; or

    “(II) who otherwise fails to comply with the standards established by the inspector (including a description of the specific failure);

    “(v) require each certified third-party inspector to submit to the Secretary an annual summary report describing–

    “(I) the number of inspections conducted;

    “(II) the number of persons found to be out-of-compliance with the standards of the certified third-party inspector and the response actions taken;

    “(III) the types of non-compliance found; and

[Page: S14535]

    “(IV) such other information about the program of the certified third-party inspector as the Secretary shall require, without revealing personal information about inspected persons, to ensure that the program of the third-party inspector is maintaining standards and inspection protocols that are at least as protective of animal welfare as those promulgated by the Secretary in accordance with section 13(a)(2);

    “(vi) require certified third-party inspectors to submit to the Secretary copies of all inspection reports on an annual basis;

    “(vii) establish procedures under which the Secretary may require certified third-party inspectors to participate in training and education programs carried out through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; and

    “(viii) establish procedures for compliance audits of third-party inspections.

    “(C) FOIA EXEMPTION.–Section 552 of title 5, United States Code (commonly known as the `Freedom of Information Act’) shall not apply to reports described in subparagraph (B)(vi).

    “(2) INSPECTIONS.–

    “(A) IN GENERAL.–The Secretary shall promulgate regulations under which a regulated person dealing in dogs and cats may elect to have a certified third-party inspector inspect the regulated person and report the results of the inspection to the Secretary in lieu of inspection by the Secretary.

    “(B) THIRD-PARTY INSPECTIONS OPTIONAL.–No regulated person shall be required under this Act to be inspected by a certified third-party inspector.

    “(C) LIMITATION.–No person other than a regulated person may make the election described in subparagraph (A).

    “(3) ENFORCEMENT.–

    “(A) IN GENERAL.–The Secretary shall have exclusive enforcement authority over any violation of this Act.

    “(B) INITIATION OF ACTION.–The Secretary shall investigate and, if appropriate, initiate enforcement action under this Act, immediately upon receiving notification under paragraph (1)(B)(iv).

    “(4) USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS.–

    “(A) IN GENERAL.–The Secretary may use funds appropriated to the Department of Agriculture to carry out this subsection.

    “(B) PROHIBITION.–A certified third-party inspector may not use funds appropriated to Department of Agriculture.

    “(e) Access to Source Records for Dogs and Cats.–Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, all regulated persons and retail pet stores shall prepare, retain, and make available at all reasonable times for inspection and copying by the Secretary, for such reasonable period of time as the Secretary may prescribe, a record of–

    “(1)(A) the name and address of the person from whom each dog or cat acquired for resale was purchased or otherwise acquired; or

    “(B) if that information is not known, the source of the dog or cat; and

    “(2) if the person from whom the dog or cat was obtained is a dealer licensed by the Secretary, the Federal dealer identification number of the person.

    “(f) Importation of Live Dogs and Cats.–

    “(1) FINDINGS.–Congress finds that–

    “(A) regulating imports of dogs and cats for resale, including restricting importation of puppies and kittens for resale, is consistent with provisions of international agreements to which the United States is a party that expressly allow for measures that are necessary–

    “(i) to protect animal life or health;

    “(ii) to protect human health; and

    “(iii) to enjoin the use of deceptive trade practices in international and domestic commerce;

    “(B) the importation of puppies into the United States for resale is increasing;

    “(C) the breeding of puppies and kittens in foreign countries for resale in the United States creates opportunities and incentives for evasion of United States laws (including regulations) relating to the humane care and treatment of breeding stock, puppies, and kittens;

    “(D) the conditions under which puppies are transported into the United States for resale are frequently inhumane and in violation of domestic and international standards;

    “(E) there is an unacceptably high incidence of disease and death among puppies imported into the United States for resale;

    “(F) the importation of puppies and kittens for resale creates unacceptable incentives for evasion of United States laws (including regulations) intended to protect animal and human health in the United States, including quarantine regulations; and

    “(G) puppies and kittens imported for resale may be accompanied by fraudulent health and breeding documents, imposing high economic and emotional costs and fraud on United States citizens.

    “(2) ENFORCEMENT.–An importer that fails to comply with any Federal law (including a regulation) relating to the importation of live dogs and cats into the United States shall be subject to this Act, including penalties under section 19.

    “(3) REGULATIONS.–Not later than 24 months after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, the Secretary of Commerce, and the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall promulgate regulations relating to the importation of live dogs and cats into the United States for resale.

    “(4) REQUIREMENTS.–Regulations promulgated under paragraph (3) shall require that–

    “(A) any importer that imports into the United States a dog or cat in violation of this Act shall provide for the care, forfeiture, and adoption of the dog or cat, at the expense of the importer; and

    “(B) dogs imported into the United States for resale–

    “(i) be not less than 6 months of age;

    “(ii) have received all necessary vaccinations, as determined by the Secretary; and

    “(iii) be in good health, as determined by the Secretary.”.

    (2) REGULATIONS.–Not later than 36 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall promulgate final regulations to carry out the amendment made by paragraph (1)

    (3) EFFECTIVE DATE.–The amendment made by paragraph (1) takes effect on the date on which final regulations described in paragraph (2) take effect.

    (b) Extension of Temporary Suspension Period.–Section 19(a) of the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2149) is amended–

    (1) by inserting “(1)” after “(a)”; and

    (2) by adding at the end the following:

    “(2) Extension of Temporary Suspension Period.–If the Secretary has reason to believe that a violation that results in a temporary suspension pursuant to paragraph (1) is continuing or will continue after the expiration of the 21-day temporary suspension period described in that paragraph, and the violation will place the health of any animal in serious danger in violation of this Act, the Secretary may extend the temporary suspension period for such additional period as is necessary to ensure that the health of an animal is not in serious danger, as determined by the Secretary, but not to exceed 60 days.”.

    (c) Authority To Apply for Injunctions.–Section 29 of the Animal Welfare Act (7 U.S.C. 2159) is amended–

    (1) in subsection (a), by inserting “or that any person is acting as a dealer or exhibitor without a valid license that has not been suspended or revoked, as required by this Act,” after “promulgated thereunder,”;

    (2) in subsection (b), by striking the last sentence; and

    (3) by adding at the end the following:

    “(c) Injunctions; Representation.–

    “(1) INJUNCTIONS.–The Secretary may apply directly to the appropriate United States district court for a temporary restraining order or injunction described in subsection (a).

    “(2) REPRESENTATION.–Attorneys of the Department of Agriculture may represent the Secretary in United States district court in any civil action brought under this section.”.

    (d) Effect on State Law.–Nothing in this section or the amendments made by this section (including any regulations promulgated as a result of this section) preempts any State law (including a regulation) that provides stricter requirements than the requirements provided in the amendments made by this section.

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