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Did you sign AKC's petition objecting to the proposed rule? Good! but that is only one voice. We need thousands of voices making individual comments on this proposed APHIS Rule change.
You need to do three things now to ensure your rights. Do 1,2,3, your out ending our rights.

1. Submit your comment to the Aphis Rule docket:
Regulations.gov

SEND COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED RULE
It is IMPERATIVE that dog, cat, and small animal breeders submit comments on this over zealous proposed rule. Hobbies and livelihoods are at stake. APHIS needs to hear from breeders and rescuers how this impacts your hobby. APHIS needs to hear how this proposed change impacts breeding programs if you cannot ship dogs/puppies/cats between friends and fellow breeders.
POST A COMMENT ONLINE via Federal eRulemaking Portal. GO TO THE PORTAL.
2. SEND THE COMMENT YOU SUBMITTED TO YOUR CONGRESSMAN

This is a proposed rule by an agency, not a law Congress will vote on. However the impact on the retail sector, economy, and the agency's budget is enormous and has far reaching affects. This proposed rule over-regulates responsible home breeders and small private entities, threatening to drive them out of existence. If enforced to its full extent, rescue organizations and their efforts will also be severely weakened.

Send a copy of your comment to Congress reference Docket No. APHIS-2011-O0003.

3. Send a letter to Secretary Vilsack opposing the rule

The petition is a fine symbol of solidarity. And it will count as ONE comment. Not a comment for each signature; just one comment from AKC, with thousands of “Me too's” that won't be counted.It is imperative that we tell USDA how damaging this will be to small-scale breeders.

USDA is baffled about what they call our “business model.” They have no concept of breeding as a hobby, raising puppies underfoot in our homes, keeping bitches we don't breed, or not spaying bitches because it is better for their health and longevity. “Breeding dogs” and “pets” are, literally, different animals to these officials. They can't imagine why anyone would keep five intact bitches, except to produce puppies as early and as often as nature will allow. We must tell them what we do, how, and why.
The comment period for this rule is open only until July 16. On June 15 there were about 1800 comments posted, and half were from people supporting the proposed rule. We must make our voices heard by submitting MANY clear and specific comments. They must be brief (2000 characters), so it is best to write a comment about each reason you think this rule should not be adopted.

• Did you add a comment when you signed the petition? Good! Now go to the USDA portal and make that comment (or a series of them) directly to USDA so it will be counted.
• Please don't send a form letter, or copy/paste what someone else wrote. USDA screens for this and will count such duplicates as ONE comment, no matter who signs them.
• Your comments need to be clear, concise, and personal. How will this change your practices as a breeder? How will this limit your options as a buyer?
The USDA proposed rule is not legislation – it is not a bill that Congress will vote on. This is an agency rule that can be adopted and implemented just by following the process that is under way right now. We must send comments that persuade USDA this is not a good rule, that it should be withdrawn and re- worked.
Here are some sources for more detailed analysis, suggested topics for comments, tips on making effective comments:

ANIMAL AND PLANT HEALTH INSPECTION SERVICE (APHIS)
DOCKET NO. APHIS-2011-003 PROPOSED RULE

S
SYNOPSIS
APHIS proposes to revise the definition of "retail pet store" to bring more pet animals sold at retail under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licensing and regulations. APHIS will narrow the definition of retail pet store so that it means a place of business or residence that each buyer physically enters in order to personally observe the animals available for sale prior to purchase and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase. Under the proposed rule, no dog or other pet animal will be sold at retail without either public or APHIS oversight.

WHO WILL BE AFFECTED?
Anyone who sells the following animals to the public for use as pets: Dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds, and cold-blooded species.”

APHIS plans to license and regulate these retail sellers unless they can meet the exemption requirements in the revised definition of retail pet store. A breeder may gain an exemption by selling only to buyers who physically enter the premises to observe the animals available for sale prior to purchasing them. A breeder can be exempt from regulation if income from sales (for listed species) is less than $500 a year; this does not include wild or exotic animals, dogs, or cats. Finally, a breeder may be exempt if he/she maintains a total of four (4) or fewer breeding female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals, such as hedgehogs, degus, spiny mice, prairie dogs, flying squirrels, and jerboas,and who sells only the offspring of these dogs, cats, or small exotic or wild mammals, which were born and raised on his/her premises and sold for pets.

*** NEW *** LIVING WITH USDA LICENSING *** DOWNLOAD FILE IN PDF

FILES FOR PROPOSED RULE CHANGE
Docket No. 2011-003
APHIS FACTSHEET. Questions and Answers on Proposed Rule – Retail Pet Sales
Title 9 Integrated with proposed rule
TITLE 9 - Complete including Part 3 Standards of care

Regulatory Impact Analysis & Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis

TRANSCRIPT APHIS TELECONFERENCE MAY 10. QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION ON PROPOSED RULE

SEND COMMENTS ON THE PROPOSED RULE
It is IMPERATIVE that dog, cat, and small animal breeders submit comments on this over zealous proposed rule. Hobbies and livelihoods are at stake. APHIS needs to hear from breeders and rescuers how this impacts your hobby. APHIS needs to hear how this proposed change impacts breeding programs if you cannot ship dogs/puppies/cats between friends and fellow breeders.

POST A COMMENT ONLINE via Federal eRulemaking Portal. GO TO THE PORTAL.

SEND THE COMMENT YOU SUBMITTED TO YOUR CONGRESSMAN

This is a proposed rule by an agency, not a law Congress will vote on. However the impact on the retail sector, economy, and the agency's budget is enormous and has far reaching affects. This proposed rule over-regulates responsible home breeders and small private entities, threatening to drive them out of existence. If enforced to its full extent, rescue organizations and their efforts will also be severely weakened.

Send a copy of your comment to Congress reference Docket No. APHIS-2011-O0003.

Send a letter to Secretary Vilsack opposing the rule

IMPACT ON BREEDERS AND RESCUE
Basically the new rules present breeders with few choices. Sell all animals only to buyers who physically enter your premises, reduce and maintain the number of breeding females to four (4) including co-ownerships and dogs shared with family members; or obtain a license under the Animal Welfare Act, have a federally compliant facility, and allow APHIS inspectors to inspect your homes and facilities.

Selling even one pet off premise via shipping, at a friend's home, at a show, at a park, will result in loss of an exemption from licensing, placing limitations on both buyers and sellers. The narrow limits of the exemption restrict the ability of hobby breeders to work together remotely, sharing dogs from litters in order to implement their breeding programs and/or increase diversity in their lines.

This Rule would have dire consequences on the ability of rare or uncommon breed breeders to sell their puppies. Generally, if a purchaser desires a puppy of a more unusual breed, they probably will not find one within easy driving distance, and the puppy must be either shipped commercially or otherwise transported, or the breeder will meet the buyer half way. If each purchaser is required to visit the breeder to observe the animals or pick up his/her purchases, the number of buyers who are able to do this in the case of the more uncommon breeds is very low. Without a ready market to sell pups, these breeds will quickly die out.

In the case of rare or uncommon breeds, this Rule would make it difficult to maintain genetic diversity, since a breeder could not ship a puppy cross country to another breeder for the purposes of improving the genetic diversity in that person’s breeding program.

Breeders will no longer be able to assist rescue by fostering and/or selling dogs unless they are willing to lose their exemption from licensing. This will have a severe impact on purebred rescue.

Rescue organizations have long enjoyed the same retail pet store exemption that excluded breeders from federal licensing requirements. It has been the practice of USDA/APHIS to interpret that regulation falls within the commercial/wholesale sector. The Rule removes that previous commercial/retail dividing line for pet sellers and proposes only a very narrow exemption for retail pet sellers.

It has become common practice today for rescue organizations to utilize the Internet to locate buyers, along with transporting dogs from high volume shelters to areas with shortages. The new Rule being proposed will apply to all retail sellers of dogs, cats, and small animals without special exemption for rescue. Rescue organizations would therefore be at risk of losing their current retail exemption for multiple reasons: (1) transporting dogs or other animals for sale to buyers who did not physically visit their primary location; (2) selling rescued animals, which are not born/raised on premise thus failing to meet exemption criteria; (3) selling animals off premise, i.e. adoption days, thereby failing again to meet the exemption criteria that buyers must physically enter business or residence. The proposed rule could end most rescue organization efforts.

FINANCIAL IMPACTS
The FY 2012 federal Budget contained appropriation for APHIS programs of $837 million, which was 8.3% or $76 million lower than the amount appropriated for APHIS in FY 2011. For the past several years, APHIS’ budget has been shrinking; since 2010 the budget has decreased by approximately $87 million, or roughly 10 percent. In a recent February meeting, APHIS administrators discussed agency changes in response to reduced funding and how the agency plans to preserve core functions while challenged by annually decreasing budgets.

Budget cuts are likely to continue into the foreseeable future. The President's 2013 budget request submitted in February to Congress calls for a decrease in APHIS’ funding by an additional $54 million, or 6.6 percent.

The massive expansion of regulatory responsibilities into the private sector outlined in the proposed rule is not only impractical but unaffordable within an agency that is currently addressing serious budget challenges.
 
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