Speak Up for MN Dogs and Cats
Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill: 2014 Session
Senate File 36 / House File 84 (Senator John Marty / Representative John Lesch)
The bills are still alive! Thank you for all of your calls and emails and for talking with legislators in 2013. We are back and need to continue the momentum from last year.
2014 Session Begins
The second half of the 2013-2014 legislative session begins on February 25, 2014, (Minnesota operates on a two year biennial session). The bills are still alive and will continue where they left off in both bodies; they don’t have to be heard again in the committees they already passed. (See below for what you can do to (1) help this year, (2) progress made in 2013, and (3) to learn more.)
What You Can Do
Here is how you can help:
• Contact your legislators — Please continue talking with your own State Senator and Representative asking for their strong support of S.F. 36/H.F. 84. It is important that you get to know your own legislators. (Be sure to always state the bill numbers and mention they are the bills authored by Sen. Marty and Rep. Lesch.) If you don’t know who your State Senator and Representative are (or your district), you can find that information at: http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/
• Educate – Inform others about this issue and tell them how they can help. Distribute flyers. Write letters to the editor.
Talking Points on S.F. 36/H.F. 84 – Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill
There is no State law to license, inspect or regulate commercial dog and cat breeders in Minnesota. The problem is inhumane breeding practices.
• Minnesota is among the top producers of puppies in the United States with some of the largest breeding kennels in the nation – housing 300, 600 or over 1,000 dogs and puppies. Kittens are also mass-produced in Minnesota.
• While many breeders in Minnesota act responsibly, there are those who keep dogs and cats in deplorable conditions and are willing to make a profit at the expense of the animal’s health and wellbeing.
• The puppies and kittens are sold to the public and many are sick, diseased, and have genetic problems.
Current System is Not Working
The current system in Minnesota to address animal neglect and cruelty is complaint-based – i.e., a person must see the inhumane conditions and report the cruelty or neglect to authorities; law enforcement may then decide to investigate and pursue a case; and a prosecutor may choose to take the case; then it goes through the court system.
Animal anti-cruelty laws kick in after the cruelty occurs – if someone files a complaint and if action is taken. Regulation is preventative – allowing authorities to legally enter the property and inspect breeding facilities so conditions can be assessed and cruelty can be prevented before it occurs. Relying solely on reporting, cruelty investigations and prosecution are time-consuming and costly for local law enforcement, animal control, nonprofit animal shelters and rescues, and the courts. Regulation is a more efficient use of resources.
Many breeders are not paying the required State sales tax on the puppies and kittens sold resulting in millions of dollars of lost revenue to the State.
Because our neighboring states (Wisconsin, Iowa and Nebraska) all having breeder regulation laws on the books, Minnesota could become a “safe haven” for inhumane breeders.
S.F. 36/H.F. 84 address the problem by giving the State of Minnesota the authority to:
• License – Require commercial dog and cat breeders in Minnesota to be licensed;
• Inspect and Enforce – Give legal authority to the MN Board of Animal Health to inspect commercial dog and cat breeding facilities and enforce existing State laws to ensure animal care standards are met; and
• Penalties – Impose civil, administrative and criminal penalties for those who violate the law.
Progress Made in 2013
The dog and cat breeder regulation bill progressed further in 2013 than ever before.
A lot was accomplished:
• H.F. 84 passed three committees in the House without any harmful amendments being added
• The Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association offered additional language to H.F. 84. The new language requires breeders to establish and maintain a written protocol for disease control and prevention, euthanasia, and veterinary care of animals.
• Governor Mark Dayton publicly supports the bill
• The Board of Animal Health supports the House amended bill
• Legislators were inundated with calls – hearing from Minnesotans who want the suffering of dogs and cats in inhumane breeding facilities to end
• The lobbying team met multiple times with members of all the necessary committees, confirming “yes” votes and changing some “no” votes into “yes”
• over 50 Minnesota shelters and rescues, the Minnesota Animal Control Association and thousands of Minnesotans support S.F. 36/H.F. 84
• over 400 Minnesota veterinarians and vet techs signed letters supporting S.F. 36/H.F. 84 with more signing on regularly
• over 19,000 petitions signed by Minnesotans were delivered to State legislators in support of S.F. 36/H.F. 84
We are still hearing from opposition:
• Some breeders say it will put them out of business (this will not happen if a breeder is properly caring for his/her dogs and cats)
• Already have laws on the books (not true – animal anti-cruelty laws kick in after the cruelty has occurred; local ordinances are inconsistent or do not exist)
• Don’t need more government (government is already involved; law enforcement and the courts must pay the costs of cleaning up the problem if the cruelty is reported)
• Slippery slope argument – that if regulation passes, next year it will go into the barns and farms (this is a fear-based argument)
• For in-depth information, go to www.SpeakUpMN.org
• Download, print and distribute the flyer.
• Ask your family and friends to join this effort
Please Speak Up for the dogs and cats. Thank you for caring and getting involved.
Speak Up for Minnesota Dogs and Cats
Coalition members include A Rotta Love Plus, Animal Folks MN, Animal Humane Society, Minnesota Animal Control Association, Minnesota Humane Society, Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection, Minnkota Persian Rescue, Pause 4 Paws, Pet Haven Inc. of Minnesota, Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota, Second Chance Animal Rescue, and Tri-County Humane Society.
These legislative efforts are also supported by numerous other organizations and individuals, including the Animal Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, veterinarians, law enforcement, prosecutors, humane agents, animal control, rescue groups, animal shelters, breeders, businesses, and countless citizens throughout Minnesota.