I just received this email:
Feel free to forward.
Perhaps I can weigh in here. I am a member of the ASCA legislative*committee and I have been living and breathing this stuff for over a month*now.
First of all, sellers of working dogs are theoretically exempt from having*to be USDA licensed, but that exemption really only worked because the*other pups from the litter who washed out as working dogs were generally*sold as pets directly to the public and the breeder still was exempt from
having to be USDA licensed under what was known as the "retail pet store"*exemption. If this rule change goes through it is very likely that a
breeder of working dogs, if they do not want to become USDA compliant - 164*pages of rules and regulations that will insure that the puppy they produce*will not have had the early learning experiences that we have come to find*invaluable to a successful working career - then that breeder will have to*go back to the practices common 40 or 50 years ago. * All the washouts were*pretty much euthanized back then.* Before the advent of agility and the*other highly competitive dog sports we have now, there were no homes for*the drivey dogs that didn't make the cut.
USDA, in various reported telephone conversations, has no clue how they are*going to go forward administering that particular exemption.
Basically the change they are making is to the definition of retail pet*store. Under the Animal Welfare Act, USDA has no mandate to inspect or
license retail pet stores. The current USDA definition of retail pet store*is anyone who sells an animal directly to the public, without an*intermediary. So all breeders who sell their own puppies to the ultimate*owner have been retail pet stores. There is some other stuff in there, but
this is the critical part.
USDA claims to have complaints from people who purchased puppies over the*internet and then found the puppies to have problems - too young, sick, not
as represented - whatever. USDA does not appear to have done any research*into whether this is an actual problem. Rather, based probably on urging
from various animal rights contingents, they have used this as an excuse to*change the definition of retail pet store to only those places where each
buyer visits the actual property at least once during each transaction.
They claim that this will now allow them to oversee "internet sellers".
(This by the way is the new AR buzzword, soon to supplant "puppy mill".)
They are keeping an exemption for breeders who have 4 (changing that from 3*in the current regulations) or fewer "breeding females" (an undefined term*but Dr. Rushin of USDA has stated that their current working definition is
"females capable of being bred") and who sell *only* the offspring of those*females.
The effects of this rule change are that EVERY dog breeder will have to be*USDA compliant unless they sell ONLY to people who physically come to their
property OR they maintain fewer than 4 breeding females AND they never sell*a dog not born and raised on their property. Any other circumstance of a*sale and they must be USDA licensed, all dogs must be kenneled, puppies*cannot interact in a family environment or with adult dogs other than their*mother, and a whole host of other requirements (164 pages actually,*although some of them address elephant enclosures and dolphin pools).
To understand why this is a bad thing, you have to understand how small*breeders operate. Most of them have websites. Most of them sell at least
some of their puppies to people who found them through their website. Most*of them have, at least once, not required a buyer to come to their homes to*pick up the puppy. Maybe the puppy was shipped, maybe they met at a show,*maybe they met halfway between their homes, maybe they arranged transport*through mutual friends - hundreds of different ways that could occur. If
they only have 4 intact females on their property, they're still okay. But*most small breeders have also done things like taken a puppy in lieu of a
stud fee, or taken back a pick puppy as part of a sale agreement on a bitch*they sold, or fostered a rescue dog, or taken in dogs from a breeder friend
who died or became disabled. If that small breeder sells any of the dogs*in the previous sentence, then all buyers of all dogs must always come to*the breeder's property or else the breeder must be USDA licensed.
If you stop to really think through the consequences, you will see that
this is pretty much going to stop the way many people choose to manage
their dogs and their lives. It will impact breeding decisions, sales*contracts, availability for buyers, breed rescue operations, and so much*more.
This rule change has not been properly researched by USDA. There has been*no valid cost/benefit analysis done - which is required by law before a
major rule can be implemented. There has been no valid study of whether*the problem it is supposed to address even exists.
Please think about how this rule change will affect you, the decisions you*will make about your dogs now and your future working partners, and then
comment on the USDA site....*
Last edited by gagsd; 06-24-2012 at 10:18 PM.