|AKC Chairman Testifies Before Senate on PAWS
New Bill Language Would Exempt Qualified Breeders
Sen. Rick Santorum, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Research,
Nutrition and General Legislation, listened attentively as AKC Chairman
Ronald Menaker and six other witnesses testified in support of the newly-modified
Pet Animal Welfare Statute (PAWS) on November 8th. The revised bill
will now include an exemption for breeders who sell dogs or cats only
at retail and are in compliance with kennel inspection standards certified
by the Secretary of Agriculture. Dealers will also have the option of
a third-party compliance inspection.
In his testimony, Menaker noted that PAWS will close current loopholes
in the Animal Welfare Act and will also address marketplace changes
that permit unregulated importers and high-volume breeders to sell large
numbers of dogs.
“These problems need to be addressed for the sake of dogs and
the pet buying public,” said Menaker. “However, it is also
essential that we maintain the sport and hobby of purebred dog breeding
and exhibiting as it is today, an activity regulated by our own rigorous
compliance standards.” The new exemption provision and other changes
secured through AKC’s work with Sen. Santorum and other interest
groups helps PAWS achieve that balance.
The newly-added provision and clarifying language to PAWS will ensure
that you will be exempt if you:
- Breed six litters or less.
- Sell at retail 25 dogs or less.
- Breed or sell more than those thresholds if you are inspected by
a non-profit organization that receives federal approval such as AKC.
- Are a shelter or rescue organization that does not import for resale
or operate for profit.
In addition, the modified version of PAWS eliminates any reference
to hunting and security dogs. Persons who sell hunting dogs will be
treated exactly the same as persons who sell dogs as pets.
The additional exemption for those in compliance with standards of
not-for-profit organizations, such as the AKC, whose kennel inspection
programs and standards are certified by the Secretary of Agriculture,
would apply to persons selling dogs and cats solely at retail. The kennel
standards certified by the Secretary must be at least equivalent to
those required by the United States Department of Agriculture under
the Animal Welfare Act. This new provision will permit the USDA to focus
its inspection activities on currently unregulated high volume breeders
and brokers without imposing federal regulation on hobby and show breeders
already in compliance with equivalent or higher standards.
Other witnesses at the subcommittee hearing included John Hoffman,
an attorney and dog fancier who owns Miniature Schnauzers. Hoffman provided
powerful testimony and evidence surrounding the large number of underage
and unhealthy puppies that are imported and sold to unsuspecting consumers
Witness testimonies, along with additional coverage of the hearing
and an extensive Question and Answer sheet about the newly amended PAWS,
can be found here.
AKC is extremely pleased with recent developments regarding PAWS. As
Mr. Menaker stated in his Chairman’s Report last month, “The
success of any legislation in Congress is uncertain, but we will continue
to represent the needs and voice the concerns of our breeders in this
legislative process. We are proud to continue to sit at the table as
an equal, as we have since the introduction of this legislation, and
strive to make a real difference that benefits our responsible breeders
and the welfare of all dogs.”