Barbara J. Andrews, Publisher 2005 Note Updated Jan 2011: In 1978, an usher at Madison Square Garden said "This Westminster Dog Show is a drop in the bucket compared to that international cat show." While dog ownership has gone down, cat ownership continues to climb. Generally speaking, cat people are more knowledgeable about genetics due to the more subtle differences in feline size and type and one other thing we learned; cat people are more like cats!
I was proud to become a TICA Certified Cattery in 1987. Unlike AKC, TICA and CFA had geneticists on staff, computerized systems that flagged unlikely genetic colors - at a time when the big news in dogs was a litter of black Airedales that AKC finally “looked at”! My success in cats proved that a total novice could win big (#1 Bengal Kitten 1988). Judging, placing, and critiquing each cat from 1st to 10th place - in front of a knowledgeable audience usually insures that the best cats to make it to Finals (i.e. Group).
TICA and CFA implemented cattery inspections decades before AKC even claimed to inspect the worst puppy mills - and often did not. Cat registries were the example I used to force AKC to allow breeders to protect their bloodlines with a comparable “no breeding” category on the blue slips. It was as short-lived as a mosquito, no doubt because dog breeders loved it! By 2009 AKC had come out with new policies on Renaming dogs, registering dogs with no papers, failure to honor contracts, etc; changes that harm show breeders while favoring backyard breeders and puppy mills, all for a price of course.
The FLAWS in PAWS
TICA's Concerns Include:
1. PAWS redefines the definition of dealer in the Animal Welfare Act which currently distinguishes between large-scale commercial breeders selling at wholesale and retail pet stores (which includes home based hobby breeders). PAWS creates a confusing definition of dealer which largely obviates the decision made by the Circuit Court of Appeals in Doris Day Animal League v. Veneman, 315 F.3d 297, 299 (D.C. Cir. 2003) and which is unnecessary due to increased enforcement and enhancement of laws covering abuse and neglect by local and state governments, thus it is more appropriate than ever that Retail Pet Stores (as currently defined in the AWA) be regulated at the state/local level, not at the federal level.
2. The PAWS definition of dealer is not reflective of large scale commercial sellers of pedigreed cats of which there are few due to feline health considerations. In order to maintain genetic diversity hobby cat breeders may be required to keep 4-5 females which may have to be bred more often than once per year to protect the cat's reproductive health and cannot always be predicted in advance. Nor can the size of cat (or dog) litters be accurately predicted. Even such a small to moderate sized hobby breeder may find themselves classified as a dealer under PAWS. Furthermore the Animal Welfare Act facilities requirements are detrimental to producing well socialized cats and kittens. PAWS will ultimately destroy the public's only access to quality bred, well socialized purebred cats and kittens in the United States of America.
3. PAWS is an ill considered bill from the standpoint of enforcement as well. The USDA does not have the resources to inspect the current level of licensed facilities and will not be able to license and inspect the great influx of new "dealers" if PAWS passes without a significant increase in the amount of resources allocated to the USDA and the likelihood of having to allow private organizations conduct the inspections.
4. It is unlikely the USDA can enforce PAWS without access to the registry database of each of the registering bodies. TICA objects to such a use of its registration database.
5. While PAWS supporters claim hidden puppy mills and internet/newspaper retail sellers escape regulation, there is no evidence that internet and newspaper advertising has any relation to the quality of the animals and the conditions under which those animals are reared and housed. The reality is the internet has made for a much more savvy purchaser, not the opposite.
6. The effect PAWS will have on rescue organizations is also of concern. If a rescued animal is placed by a rescue organization and an adoption fee is considered a sale, then rescuers are considered retail sellers. By abandoning the wholesale-retail sales distinction, PAWS places many rescues in the same class as any other reseller meaning many more dogs and cats will be euthanized because of PAWS as there will be no rescues available to take them.
Kelly Crouch, Chair, TICA Legislative Committee
PAWS and LAWS Editorial Aug 2005, Projects PAWS purebred dogs and dog owners.
PAWS BECOMES PUPS IN 2010 don't say we didn't warn you!
Last Updated Jan 6, 2011