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Debbie Meier

Info from SALVO regarding proposed USDA regulations on animal sales

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Just making sure that folks are aware of the recent proposed rule changes that the USDA has open for comment. There are some eye opening discussions going on on many facebook pages about how it would effect different people if it was to be enacted including rescues.

 

http://saova.org/APHIS_rulemaking.html

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I believe it is only if they don't meet the criteria of being a pet store. That is not any different then before, as I understand it, all of us that sell pups have been considered as pet stores vs. those the sell wholesale (to brokers and to pet stores)

 

I know many don't want to see AKC stuff here, but this is their statement/alert, it explains how we currently have been avoiding licensing: http://www.akc.org/news/index.cfm?article_id=4656

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Am I reading the changes correctly?
Anyone who grosses >$500 from the sale of dogs born and raised on their property will require a license.



I don't want to say much about the proposed regs until I've had a chance to study them, but this is not correct. The exemption you're referring to is in the regs already but does not apply to those selling dogs:

(ii) Any person who sells or negotiates the sale or purchase of any animal except wild or exotic animals, dogs, or cats, and who derives no more than $500 gross income from the sale of such animals to a research facility, an exhibitor, a dealer, or a pet store during any calendar year and is not otherwise required to obtain a license

I don't know why SAOVA made reference to it.

Deb is right that currently the "retail pet store" exemption is broadly interpreted to exempt anyone who sells only at retail (i.e., virtually all working dog breeders), and the proposed change would narrow that exemption to apply only to those who sell to people who come to their premises to look at the pup and/or take possession of it. If you sell to people who don't come to your premises, you would have to fall under another exemption to escape the licensing requirement. Owning four or fewer breeding females would be the most likely exemption for the occasional breeder.

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My question came after reading the rules changes not SAOVA's summary. I may well have miss understood the language in the rule change.

I await your analysis of the proposed rule changes, after you've had a chance to study them.

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Been reading some of the comments submitted to the USDA, if anyone is interested they can be found here:

 

http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;dct=FR%2BPR%2BN%2BO%2BSR%2BPS;rpp=100;po=0;D=APHIS-2011-0003

 

Just click on the submitters name and you will be able to see their comment.

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I'm actually kind of surprised that people aren't making a much bigger uproar about this. It's not just, "Oh, well, I'll just keep 4 or less breeding females." It's keeping or co-owning 4 or more breeding females - of whatever species.

 

If you have 4 bitches and a barn cat, you're over the limit. If you have 4 bitches and co-own another who lives in Florida, you're over the limit. If you have 4 bitches and a couple ewes and sell lambs to 4-H kids, you're probably over the limit, because those lambs are theoretically pets.

 

And this does NOT mean only having 4 bitches that you're actively breeding. At what age does a pup become a breeding bitch? Say you have your 4 bitches but you want to keep a couple pups, to see how they come along. When does the USDA decide those pups are now breeding age? What if you only breed one or two bitches, and you simply prefer not to spay your other females? "Breeding bitches" doesn't mean you're breeding, it just means you own more than 4 intact females who might be able to breed.

 

And if you have only your 4 bitches, and you produce a litter and want to sell a pup or two to a trusted buyer in another state ... those buyers have to come get their pup. Period. If you sell even ONE pup sight unseen and put him in a crate to Idaho or Missouri, or if you just haul a pup to a sheepdog trial or agility match, and meet your buyer there ... your exemption disappears. You are now a USDA breeder and *must* apply for a license.

 

 

This proposed rule would rescind the ``retail pet store'' status of

anyone selling, at retail for use as pets, the animals listed above to

buyers who do not physically enter his or her place of business or

residence in order to personally observe the animals available for sale

prior to purchase and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase. Unless otherwise exempt under the regulations, these entities would be required to obtain a license from APHIS and would become subject to the requirements of the AWA..

 

And once you do that ... everything changes. Your bitches must be housed apart from other dogs 2 weeks prior to whelping. The pups must be whelped in a room that can be sterilized, hosed down and sanitized. The pups cannot mingle or even play with older dogs until they are 4 months old! And USDA inspectors can come to your home at any time and demand to make an inspection. Woe be to you if your house is not set up to be washed down with hot water or a pressure washer.

 

Think about it, people. How many border collie breeders ship their pups to new owners? Even if you have just ONE bitch and breed ONE litter, under these new rules, you would not be able to ship a puppy to anyone, anywhere, ever, without losing your exemption.

 

The more I read about this, the scarier it gets. I honestly don't know why every single person here who breeds even just once every 5 years is not up in arms and outraged.

 

Read up, folks. Be informed.

http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0003-0001

 

~ Gloria

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P.S.

Oh, and you would ONLY be able to sell dogs you have raised yourself, there on the premises. If you bought or acquired a dog, under these new rules, you would not be able to sell it on to another owner, because it is not of your breeding.

 

In addition, the proposed rule would increase from three to four the number of breeding female dogs, cats, and/or small exotic or wild mammals that a person may maintain on his or her premises and be exempt from licensing and inspection if he or she sells only the offspring of those animals born and raised on his or her premises for use as pets or exhibition, regardless of whether those animals are sold at retail or

wholesale.

 

Lastly, before I shut up, here's what will happen once you fall under that USDA licensing umbrella:

 

Unless otherwise exempt under the regulations, these entities would be required to obtain a license from APHIS and would become subject to the requirements of the AWA, which include identification of animals and recordkeeping requirements, as well as the following standards: Facilities and operations (including space, structure and construction, waste disposal, heating, ventilation, lighting, and interior surface requirements for indoor and outdoor primary enclosures and housing facilities); animal health and husbandry (including requirements for veterinary care, sanitation and feeding, watering, and separation of animals); and transportation (including specifications for primary enclosures, primary conveyances, terminal facilities, and feeding, watering, care, and handling of animals in transit).

 

If you whelp your pups in your home ... I really doubt any of us would find that our homes are USDA/AWA compliant. Some of us may wish we could clean house with a pressure hose, but it really doesn't work so well ...

 

Going away, now, just thought I'd kick up some dust. I don't even own an intact bitch, I just hate the thought that I might end up having to drive to Timbuktu, the next time I think I want a pup. And I'd hate to see all of you good folks who breed these wonderful dogs caught in a trap the general small-breeding public didn't see coming.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Gloria

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Just popped in for a quick snack before going back out to mow and perhaps rake hay, but this is downright scary-sounding. It seems to me like some of the very best and most responsible breeders would be adversely affected by this while the very commercial folks will just carry on cranking out mass-produced pups, to the detriment of all breeds - but especially purpose-bred breeds like the working Border Collie.

 

This is one of those sounds-great-on-paper-and-should-solve-all-our-problems proposals. JMO.

 

Thanks, Gloria, for the breakdown of some of the aspects of this so that people can be made aware.

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And, places like these will be waiting in the wings:

 

http://www.huntecorp.com/breeds.html

 

jeanne

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I thought of Hunte Corp immediately, and wondered where the impetus for this sort of control might come from.

 

My first thoughts were the large-scale companies like Hunte, which move a big enough volume of pups through their facilities to justify and afford the sort of kennels described. After all, it is often the large-scale corporations that push the sorts of restrictions through that will eliminate the small-scale "competition". The milk industry, grain industry, and meat processing industry both include examples of this.

 

My second thought of someone or a group that would benefit from this would be the high-end, show/performance breeders - the ones who again, like Hunte, can afford to upgrade facilities because they charge either higher prices and/or they produce in relative volume.

 

Another concern is that you can't legislate morality - might something like this not drive the production of certain types of puppies "underground"? Designer pups without registries (since a registry would provide a way to track breeders and their production)? Your backyard-bred situations wouldn't be affected as I think their market is largely local and much is under the radar (if registries don't come into play). And then there is the breeder/marketer who may not own or produce pups but acts as a middleman, even without the pups ever needing to leave the breeder of origin's location.

 

When all is said and done, I really wonder what/who is the impetus for this? Is it animal welfare, or is it corporate profits? There may be well-meaning people promoting it but I still wonder...

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A friend said something today that got me to thinking ...

 

... I believe I know why I'm not hearing/seeing a torrent of outrage and indignation about this, from amongst the working dog community.

 

I think it's because the AKC is also opposing it, and making a big deal of their petition.

 

If AKC opposes something, I suspect a lot of working dog folks inadvertently back-pedal away, thinking there's no way they can side with the AKC on a matter of legislation. But I think this may be the first - and possibly only - time that breeders of working dogs and the AKC are actually on the same page.

 

I would really, really hope to see more folks who do breed working dogs get involved, raise their voices, and COMMENT to the danged website! Forget about the AKC, their politics don't matter. What matters is that if this passes, the only way for any of us to get the pup we want, from a breeding we like, is to DRIVE to the breeder's house, or for the breeder to become USDA compliant and house all their dogs and pups out in a sterile, climate-controlled kennel.

 

I don't know about you guys, but that's not what I want to see happen to the working border collie.

 

~ Gloria

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The AKC has nothing to do with it. This would not be the first time the ABCA has opposed pending legislation/regulations that the AKC also opposed.

 

A proposed statement about this has been under consideration by the ABCA BoD for some time, and will probably be published within the next few days. Stay tuned.

 

The deadline for comments is a month away.

 

ETA: Gloria, you raise a good point in noting that buyers would be affected by these changes just as much as breeders/sellers would. One of the ways working breeders could avoid regulation is by simply never selling to pet homes. This would be a blow to all those who want working-bred border collies for their companions. These folks should be commenting as well.

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Our project is USDA for Wildlife etc. And I can tell you first hand what this means. (Although I think it a good idea for wildlife facilities like ours, for obvious safety reasons. I am opposed for our dogs etc.)

 

 

 

Inspectors do come without any notification, although you can request certain days and times. They inspect everything. everything, pens, How you compost manure, water. refrigerators where food is stored, medical cabinets (Don't have anything out of date.) They go over records of each animal. You need a detailed contingency plan.

Some inspectors are a joy and really great folks. Others are Nazi control freaks.

Out of compliance you are fined or can lose you license.

 

Lose your license you must then start again.

 

You pay a fee to renew every year per animal.

 

Everything they have on you is then open to the Freedom of information act. This to me is scary because of extreme animal rights groups.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The ABCA has weighed in on this matter. Here's the link, go on and read for further clarification:

 

http://americanbordercollie.org/awa_regulation.html

 

The one thing I'm not at all confident about is the "pet" definition. Would the USDA really bother to distinguish between my trial dogs who live in my home and work part-time, and a border collie that went to be purely a pet dog? How many of us actually have working farms with full-time jobs for working dogs? And how many of us trial but don't own sheep at all?

 

Are we therefore "pet" owners, since we don't require our dogs to maintain our livelihoods? That's a grey area that I think could add even greater negative impact to all this. What is a "pet?" And doe the AWA rulings even make allowances for dogs that work for a living?

 

Anyhow, further food for thought.

 

~ Gloria

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...

 

ETA: Gloria, you raise a good point in noting that buyers would be affected by these changes just as much as breeders/sellers would. One of the ways working breeders could avoid regulation is by simply never selling to pet homes. This would be a blow to all those who want working-bred border collies for their companions. These folks should be commenting as well.

 

 

Eileen, that's a thought! There's been ample discussion here about how working-bred border collies should be preferred for all purposes, including agility and other dog sports.

 

But my new concern is how the USDA et al would define a "pet" dog. Do we presume that all the good border collie breeders work their dogs on livestock for a living? Are all these border collies employed as an integral part of maintaining someone's farm or ranch?

 

Or are there a bunch of good breeders out there who keep a few sheep for training their dogs, but who can't really claim they need the dogs to maintain a farm/ranch operation?

 

And what about buyers like me? My dogs work. I train them two or three times a week so we can run in the occasional sheepdog trial. But I don't need them for a farm or ranch, and they're laying around the house even as we type. Am I a "pet" owner? Would BC breeders have to stop selling to people like me, because I don't have full-time work for them at home?

 

I don't trust that simply training dogs for the sport of sheep or cattle trialing would qualify them as "working" dogs under USDA or AWA definition. I think they would require that the dogs actually live and work on a farm or ranch, and I fear that this could cut a lot of good, quality breeders off at the knees. And I further fear that this could leave a lot of would-be buyers out in the cold, because as mere weekend sheepdog trialers, we'd be defined as "pet" homes under USDA definitions.

 

I hope to hear more from the ABCA on that, since I certainly have no idea of statistics.

 

~ Gloria

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I have posted a shorter version of the ABCA alert under General Border Collie Discussion, with a link to the fuller statement on the ABCA website. There was some concern among the directors that few people would read something as long as the website statement. :) I will also be posting about it in the rescue section, since I cannot find a way of reading it where it would not require licensing and regulation of most rescue operations.

 

I don't trust that simply training dogs for the sport of sheep or cattle trialing would qualify them as "working" dogs under USDA or AWA definition. I think they would require that the dogs actually live and work on a farm or ranch, and I fear that this could cut a lot of good, quality breeders off at the knees. And I further fear that this could leave a lot of would-be buyers out in the cold, because as mere weekend sheepdog trialers, we'd be defined as "pet" homes under USDA definitions.

 

I agree with you. Under the Animal Welfare Act, USDA only has jurisdiction to regulate if at least some of the dogs are being sold "as pets" or "for use as pets." I'm sure the status of working border collies has never even occurred to them. If these proposed regs were enacted, and if I were defending a breeder who was charged for operating without a license, I would make the argument that s/he didn't need to be licensed because the dogs were being sold for work, not for use as pets. But if even one of these dogs was going to a home without livestock, I would not expect my argument to succeed.

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"The Animal Welfare Act is a federal law that regulates the treatment of animals being sold for research,

for exhibition, or for use as pets. In general, anyone who sells dogs for any of these purposes is required to be licensed as a "Dealer" by the USDA, and to meet specified requirements for housing conditions, feeding, sanitation, vet care, etc., and to keep specified records, and to permit inspection by USDA inspectors. The law makes an exception for "Retail Pet Stores" -- they are exempt from these requirements."

 

Eileen,

 

Maybe working breeders could avoid regulation by not selling to pet homes. However, wouldn't the "for exhibition" include sheepdog trials? Also, the lack of a definition for "breeding female" is troubling.

 

jeanne

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Eileen,

 

A friend of mine - who has done quite a bit of research on this topic - told me (to the best of her knowledge) *no exemptions* will be allowed. She believes it is incorrect to say that if you do not sell dogs to pet homes you won't need to be USDA licensed since the USDA refers to "pet" to describe a species, not a use. Apparently, this is not intended to allow herding, hunting, service dogs out of the rule. There is no way to prove whether or not a puppy is going to be a pet and just because you say so would not fly with APHIS.

 

jeanne

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Maybe working breeders could avoid regulation by not selling to pet homes. However, wouldn't the "for exhibition" include sheepdog trials? Also, the lack of a definition for "breeding female" is troubling.

 

Not the way I read it. The word "exhibition" isn't defined in the Act or the regs, but the word "exhibitor" is:

 

Exhibitor
means any person (public or private) exhibiting any animals . . . to the public for compensation, as determined by the Secretary. This term includes carnivals, circuses, animal acts, zoos, and educational exhibits exhibiting such animals whether operated for profit or not.
This term excludes retail pet stores, horse and dog races, organizations sponsoring and all persons participating in State and county fairs, livestock shows, rodeos, field trials, coursing events, purebred dog and cat shows, and any other fairs or exhibitions intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences as may be determined by the Secretary.
[Emphasis added]

 

Note that this definition necessarily defines "exhibition," inasmuch as it says what kind of exhibiting would make you an exhibitor, and I think it's pretty clear that sheepdog trials would be "field trials" and/or "exhibitions intended to advance agricultural arts and sciences."

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The concept of what defines a pet concerns me - while my dogs were purchased for the intent of being useful stockdogs on our small farm, they still live in the house, sleep in the bedroom, go on vacation trips, have taken puppy, family dog, and agility classes (as an aid to good manners, socialization, and acclimating them to different locations and situations). They live as pets and work as stockdogs. Who will define just what they are? I wonder.

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A friend of mine - who has done quite a bit of research on this topic - told me (to the best of her knowledge) *no exemptions* will be allowed. She believes it is incorrect to say that if you do not sell dogs to pet homes you won't need to be USDA licensed since the USDA refers to "pet" to describe a species, not a use. Apparently, this is not intended to allow herding, hunting, service dogs out of the rule. There is no way to prove whether or not a puppy is going to be a pet and just because you say so would not fly with APHIS.

 

But it's "dealers" who are subject to regulation, and the definition of "dealer" in the proposed regulations is:

 

Dealer
means any person who, in commerce, for compensation or profit, . . . sells, or negotiates the purchase or sale of: Any dog . . . for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, exhibition, or
for use as a pet
. . . . [Emphasis added.]

 

If all dogs were deemed to be pets by virtue of their species, there would be no need for the words "for use as a pet" as a modifier for the words "any dog" -- the words "any dog" would be sufficient by themselves. So "for use as a pet" limits the type of dogs that are covered.

 

Of course, it would be a question of fact in any individual case whether a particular dog was being sold for use as a pet. If you only sold dogs to folks who were going to use them to herd livestock and who did not consider them a pet, my advice would be that you did not need to be licensed under these regs, and I believe if they went after you, you could mount a successful defense on those grounds. But because there is no definition of "pet" in the regs, you would not know for sure what the ultimate interpretation would be in any particular case unless and until they went after you and you challenged their determination. And in any case, that cuts out a whole lot of working breeders who are not subject to regulation now, but would be subject to regulation if these proposed regs went into effect.

 

ETA: I should say that if you sold a dog to be used for medical research, or in the circus, you would need to be licensed, or if you sold a dog exclusively for hunting or breeding or security, you might need to be licensed. I left stuff like that out because I didn't consider it applicable enough to our breeders to be worth the clutter and confusion of including it. Likewise, if you maintain breeding female small exotic or wild mammals, such as hedgehogs, prairie dogs and flying squirrels, they count toward your total of four breeding females, but again, I didn't think that had broad enough application to include. I was trying to keep it simple. :)

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