Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pending Pet Legislation

Several states have pending legislation that will, if passed, affect millions of United States citizens. If you think I'm talking about economic issues, border security, welfare, healthcare, etc - think again. I'm talking about pet legislation. And I'm dead serious.

With all of the serious issues that our federal and state governments are facing at the moment, I find it appalling that pet legislation is even a topic for discussion in the legislature right now. I mean, aren't there more important things to worry about?!

Many states are actually considering making it mandatory that you have your pet spayed or neutered. Others are attempting to dictate what type of dog you can own. Then there are the states that just want to limit the number of pets you own, or prevent you from breeding your pet. To be fair, many of the proposed bills were intended to curtail the puppy mill industry, but will instead impose unfair restrictions on countless responsible pet owners.

At the risk of sounding like John Stossel, give me a break! These proposed laws are so obnoxious, it's hard to know where to begin.

Is our government actually interested in telling us how to own our pets? Are they actually going to tell us what pets we can and cannot own? REALLY????

Here are just a few of the proposed laws:

  1. Texas House Bill 4277 and Senate Bill 1845: requires that all dogs over the age of 6 months be sterilized. In order to keep your pet from being sterilized, owners will have to obtain a license from the state at a cost of $300 per animal. Click here to find out who represents you in the Texas State Senate: http://www.senate.state.tx.us/75r/Senate/Members.htm#FYI To find out who represents you in the Texas House of Representatives, click here:http://www.house.state.tx.us/resources/faq.htm#who_rep . The AKC has taken a stance against this bill and has provided a sample letter for you to customize and send to your elected officials; click here for this information:http://www.akc.org/news/index.cfm?article_id=3769 - For the letter, look for the link that is available under the "What You Can Do" header.
  2. Arkansas Senate Bill 864: Requires the owners of 12 or more dogs of any age to purchase an annual license for the right to maintain ownership of the dogs, regardless of whether the dogs reside on your property. This bill will unfairly punish responsible dog breeders who retain partial ownership of puppies born in their breeding programs - many breeders do this in order to ensure the safety and well being of those dogs. The American Kennel Club is against this bill. Here is a link to the full text of this bill: http://www.arkleg.state.ar.us/assembly/2009/R/Bills/SB864.pdf
  3. West Virginia House Bill 2843: defines commercial dog breeders and limits the ownership of dogs. This bill is similar to the bill in Arkansas that was discussed above. It is also similar to an Illinois bill that was recently stalled. This bill defines a commercial breeder as anyone who maintains 20 or more unsterilized dogs over one year of age, regardless of whether or not these dogs are ever intended to be used for breeding purposes. Imposes severe fines for each violation. Follow this link to find out who your legislators in West Virginia are: http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Districts/district_zip/zipmems.cfm
  4. Nevada Senate Bill 241: will require anyone who wants to breed and sell dogs to pay a $500 annual fee to breed and sell puppies. This bill, if passed, would also subject breeders to random inspections. This bill also prohibits breeding an animal beyond 2 litters in its lifetime. To find out who your legislators in Nevada are, follow this link: http://mapserve.leg.state.nv.us/website/lcb/viewer.htm
  5. Minnesota House File 253 and Senate File 7: House File 253 is at the very least unconstitutional because it will allow private organizations to become arms of the government. Here's what the American Kennel Club has to say about the proposed Minnesota legislation: http://www.akc.org/news/index.cfm?article_id=3783 . The AKC is also alleging that responsible pet owners have not been able to offer input on the writing of these bills. Senate File 7 is similar to the pending legislation in several states that will impose strict regulatory restrictions on responsible breeders. Here is a link to help you locate your Minnesota legislator: http://www.gis.leg.mn/mapserver/districts/index.html .
  6. North Carolina House Bill 733: A brand new bill that was filed on March 19th. If passed, this bill will regulate dog breeding. Yet another bill that could limit the number of animals that you own. Here's a link that will help you find your legislator - there is a place on the lower right hand side of the page to type in your zip code: http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/homePage.pl

While this issue is obviously not as important as your right to bear arms, it is extremely important nonetheless. This topic addresses the fact that the government is trying to control just about every aspect of your life, something that we cannot allow to happen.

If you live in any of the states with proposed legislation listed above, contact your legislators TODAY and urge them to vote against these bills. Do not allow the government to take away any of your rights, no matter how insignificant they seem.

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