Reply to Senator Burr's letter dated December 21, 2005
December 30, 2005
The Honorable Richard Burr
United States Senate
217 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3306
Dear Senator Burr:
Thank you for sending me your response to my many faxes and letters regarding PAWS, the Pet Animal Welfare Statute.
I sincerely hope that since the time your response was first planned or drafted, you have had the opportunity to actually review the bill and understand the ramifications passage will have on private citizens.
The synopsis of the bill as presented in your letter contains the statement that PAWS will "broaden regulations to cover breeders who sell more than 25 dogs or cats or more than six litters of dogs or cats per year, as well as breeders selling pets over the Internet."
First - this "broadening of regulations" is a mild interpretation for a historic break of the traditional wholesale/retail criteria used for years by USDA to determine licensing. This break will bring federal inspectors into private homes. This is both unprecedented and unwarranted government intrusion.
Second - The regulation criteria is set at 25/6. HSUS claims the need to shut down puppy mills that "mass-produce" animals. Since when is "25" a mass-production of anything? Someone mass producing 25 rocking chairs for a living would most surely be at poverty level. Do you not realize that 6 litters could be as few as 6-12 offspring in toy breeds? Since breeding is not a computerized operation, 6 litters could be whelped in one year and none the following year depending on timing, fertility, among other issues. These numbers have absolutely no value as meaningful criteria to force private citizens into opening their homes to federal inspectors.
Third - the placement of the 25/6 exemption with the bill leaves dogs bred for hunting or security purposes outside the exemption. In other words, dogs used for these purposes are licensed at ONE sale. The only possible reason for such provision is opposition by the bill's sponsor (HSUS) to the activity of hunting itself. HSUS is on record as stating their goal is to abolish all hunting in the United States, state by state.
Fourth - you state ".as well as breeders selling pets over the Internet." That is not written anywhere in this bill. The method of sales is never mentioned. It may be the intent of the sponsors to file litigation or lobby USDA to write this into the regulation, but the term internet is not even mentioned in PAWS. Further, I believe it is inadvisable for government to begin limiting internet use or requiring a form of licensing to use this method of sale. How do you think rescue organizations find so many homes? Stop to think for one minute how many exceptions will need to be written for this type of regulation. Surely, more loopholes will be opened than closed.
There is absolutely no redeeming value to PAWS. The problem presented has been exaggerated by animal rights groups as a means to present their controlling legislation and eliminate many home breeders of dogs, cats and small animals.
Should PAWS pass, standards will have to be rewritten for enforcement. The burden of writing standards to allow breeders to raise dogs and cats in residential settings will fall on the USDA. The current standards are written for commercial facilities. The USDA will be faced with the overwhelmingly difficult task of promulgating regulations that apply to small dealers and breeders in a variety of settings as varied as there are homes and different for both dogs and cats and small animals which are also covered in PAWS. In addition, USDA must decide whether to follow performance standards or engineering standards in developing these new regulations.
Either way is a no win situation. Performance standards are being challenged by animal rights groups in favor of engineering standards. Newly developed regulations allowing breeding inside the home will be challenged by commercial breeders who must comply with current more costly regulations. Lawsuits will be inevitable as all sides attempt have their version of requirements enacted into law.
PAWS can only create irreparable harm to small- and mid-size hobby breeders who raise dogs in their homes in a family environment. Dogs are raised for show, performance, service, stock work, hunting, maintaining a connection with animal husbandry which is now limited by urban living. The inability to comply with USDA licensing and regulation in a residential neighborhood will force many enthusiasts to abandon their hobby. This will place severe limitations on many breeds of dogs and eliminate one of the best sources of dogs for the public, service and guide dog programs, search and rescue programs, and herding interests, among many others. Dogs sold for hunting, security and breeding purposes will be regulated irrespective of other provisions in PAWS. Sterilization of puppies and kittens before sale is the only way to be exempt from this "breeding" provision; making PAWS a national Mandatory Spay/Neuter Ordinance.
PAWS adds nothing to improve humane care that cannot be better accomplished at the local or state level. PAWS sole purpose is to break down the wholesale/retail barrier and redefine much dog, cat and small animal breeding as federal licensed and regulated.
PAWS would be an enforcement nightmare. The USDA's budget cannot possibly accommodate regular inspections of the many thousands of additional pet breeders who would fall into one or another of the PAWS regulatory categories.
PAWS is unworkable, because it will generate hundreds of lawsuits challenging its every clause as many thousands of adversely affected hobby breeders of every species and their advocacy groups take to the courts their fight to protect their hobby.
Twenty-five North Carolina animal related organizations representing thousands of North Carolina voters stand opposed to PAWS.
We urge you to oppose S1139.
Susan Wolf email@example.com
North Carolina Responsible Animal Owners Alliance (NCRAOA)
Cc: Bill Peaslee-NC GOP