Animal Humane Society (AHS) employs the only two full-time professional humane agents in Minnesota. Since 2007, they have investigated 173 dog and cat breeder cases. Not all cases found inhumane conditions as defined by law, but nearly 700 dogs and cats were rescued from cruelty or neglect by AHS as a result of these investigations.
It is with compassionate responsibility and a vast knowledge of the ill affects inhumane breeding practices have on dogs and cats that AHS has chosen to support the Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill (S.F. 462/H.F. 702) with a strong coalition of other animal welfare organizations.
Currently, no such legislation exists. Minnesota is one of nearly 20 remaining states without licensing and inspection of commercial dog and cat breeding facilities. Animals must be harmed before an AHS humane agent or other authorities can act to protect them.
The coalition behind S.F. 462/H.F. 702
The bill is also supported by various Minnesota businesses, veterinarians and community members. It was introduced in the Minnesota State Legislature by State Senator Barbara Goodwin and State Representative John Lesch.
Forward momentum creates stronger bill
The coalition introduced its first breeder bill five years ago, when the issue of inhumane dog and cat breeding practices was not known or understood at the Minnesota Legislature. Over the years, huge strides have been made in educating legislators and the public. Each year’s effort improves upon past efforts.
AHS believes we need to continue the forward progress the coalition has made and take this opportunity to improve upon the bill that was introduced last year.
The language in S.F. 462/H.F. 702 is derived from language in the bill the coalition supported last year; however, specific improvements have been made to this year’s bill to reflect the findings of recent scientific research and communications the coalition has had with other parties that have an interest in this legislation.
S.F. 462/H.F. 702 is a comprehensive bill that is both fiscally responsible and allows for the strongest protection of dogs and cats living in Minnesota commercial breeding facilities of the bills introduced this year. Some of the improvements include:
Strengthened licensing number. If passed, S.F. 462/H.F. 702 will license and regulate dog and cat breeders with 10 or more adult intact animals and whose animals produce more than five total litters of puppies or kittens per year.
Strengthened care standards. Considerable studies by respected veterinarians have been conducted in regard to dogs and cats in population settings and what is required to ensure the animals are healthy — physically and psychologically. As a result of the findings of the studies, the coalition incorporated bill language that requires breeders to develop veterinary care plans with a licensed veterinarian and to provide adequate staffing to maintain the well-being of its animal population.
Animal Humane Society supports mandatory care at commercial dog and cat breeding facilities. The organization has spent countless resources rehabilitating and caring for dogs and cats that it rescues from inhumane breeding situations. The animals arrive at its shelters with severe health issues and little to no socialization skills. Sadly, some are too sick to be saved, and others are unable to live in a family setting.
Strengthened fiscal option. The coalition understands the current budget deficit in Minnesota and has improved the language from last year’s bill regarding inspections. These changes make S.F. 462/H.F. 702 a fiscally sound bill.
Authority for inspections and enforcement is still directed in the bill to the Minnesota Board of Animal Health (MBAH). In order to best utilize the inspector’s time (and address breeders who are compliant), S.F. 462/H.F. 702 allows for every-other-year inspections if a breeder has had two consecutive years of inspections with no violations. It also allows the MBAH to charge a re-inspection fee if they have to make multiple visits in one year to a facility that is out of compliance with state law.
Animal Humane Society is respectful of the legislative process and supports S.F. 462/H.F. 702 because it strikes a balance between the protection of Minnesota dogs and cats and the ability of the state to enforce such regulation in a time of economic crisis.
As in past years, more than one bill addressing the needs of animals living in inhumane breeding facilities has been introduced. This is not an uncommon practice. Read the difference between the bills.
Speak up for Minnesota dogs and cats by supporting S.F. 462/H.F. 702.