TheDogPlace > PAWS Index >> Dr. Carmen Battaglia Responds to PAWS bill




When POLITICS become PROJECTS, we get RESULTS.  It was AKC's support of PAWS that made it a Project.   You will now decide the future of the AKC and of the purebred dog.  PAWS has divided the fancy more than ever before.  As a voting member of a member club YOU have the power to bring about the right  RESULT.  And remember, the uninformed owner thinks PAWS is a good thing so Send THIS PAGE To Everyone!

THE PAWS ACT (SB1139/HR2669)

by Dr. Carmen Battaglia - June 30, 2005


Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding AKC's support for the legislation that is being proposed by the Republican Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania.


As you may know, four AKC directors voted against the motion to support the proposed legislation. Those dissenting were: Carmen Battaglia, Tom Davies, Patti Strand and Ken Marden.


I am, with this memo answering your inquiry and I am speaking only for myself. Since you took the time to contact me with your questions, you deserve a response.

Let me begin by saying that when people in a family disagree, we don't divorce. We continue to support each other even though we differ on strategy. The right to dissent should not be confused with disloyalty. I think you will better understand my point after you finish reading my response to your email.

To begin, it is unlikely that the goals of the PAWS statue can be reached by expanding Federal oversight to the small-scale breeder who produces puppies and kittens as a hobby. In simple terms, AKC has always argued against the use of numbers to define hobby breeders. The reason was and is that numbers can always be changed along with the definitions. A small change here and there overtime could easily change things and eventually it could be difficult to be defined as a hobby breeder. The history of the Animal Rights extremists on this point is clear. They have always worked to first get their foot in the door, and then they begin to work on their target by changing definitions, which widens their influence. The fundamental argument that is being used regarding the need for this legislation in my judgment is flawed. There is no documented record that we are being "bombarded with horror stories from fanciers about commercial importers and the "puppy mills" who are evading federal regulation". If there is such a report it still would not justify having the federal government coming into our residence, telling hobby breeders how to breed and raise their litters. Senator Santorum has a long history of wanting to regulate hobby breeders. In 2000, he proposed legislation focused on dog breeding practices, socialization standards, and the idea of 3 strikes and your out (you lose your license to breed). In November of 2003, this Senator along with representative Whitfield made another attempt to regulate hobby breeders. They reintroduced the Puppy Protection Act. This time the emphasis was placed on setting a breeding limit on all bitches. AKC's lobbyist Jim Holt, said that these efforts were " the brain child of the HSUS", "a radical animal rights advocate" group. He went on to say that "we can look forward to the socialization standard returning in some form".

One of the most dangerous parts of PAWS is that for the first time it will inject the federal government into regulations about whether, when and how animals (dogs) can be bred". Once the government is able to establish this principle, others can work on the details of making changes later. The first step in their strategy is to get the hobby breeders "to admit that a problem exists". AKC has always believed that "the answer is not in expanding the scope of the law but in more effective enforcement." That has not changed. Over regulation always leads to unintended consequences. The argument that the importers and those who sell on the Internet need to be regulated by the federal government should not be linked to the hobby breeder. Using numbers like 25 puppies sold a year and breeding less than 7 litters on your premises should not be the way to exclude hobby breeders by law. We should not forget that there still remains several other important issues that have not been developed and the negotiations are not over. What this means is that the numbers 25 and 7 can be changed with a simple word or two. For example, 25 pups can become 10, and 7 litters can become 3 litters. What the Senator still has not addressed involves his intentions about several other areas. He has yet to explain what he intends to do about:

  • The scope of the minimum "humane care standards" and the penalties for breeders.

  • The provisions covering breeders who raise puppies in their homes.

  • The language that authorizes the USDA to certify inspection programs of non-governmental organizations. This area includes private inspections by contractors which is of particular concern due to a frequent pattern of incompetence, abuse and corruption where organizations have already been employed by state and local jurisdictions.

  • The non-profit entitles such as the shelters and whether they will be excluded.

Given all of these uncertainties, there is good reason for concern about PAWS which is a poorly written statute.

What to do was a question many of you ask. To date, my email box has over 600 emails from dog owners. It is impossible to read all of them. But if I received 600 letters, that would be a different matter. The last time this Senator attempted to regulate hobby breeders we suggested that you and each of your members and clubs write your US Senator and Representative. Ask them to not co-sponsor or support PAWS. That approached worked and the statue died. In this case, we need to be realistic; this Senator is a ranking Republican. He can probably get support in the Senate. However, the PAWS statue must still be voted on by the House of Representatives. So your second letter should be sent to your Congressmen. Remember that this is a time sensitive problem. If you plan to let your US Senators and Congressmen know about your feelings and how you want them to vote, act now. Send letters, emails will not pay off.

Your friends, neighbors, clubs and organizations can defeat this bill or remove from it all reference to hobby breeders by the numbers.

Thanks for your concern.  I hope these answers have addressed your questions. #1110


Project PAWS 2005  Why is PAWS considered the single most important battle in the history of hobby breeders?? If you have quality pets, read and understand why they may disappear.  Project: PAWS 2005 INTRODUCTION


Dr. Carmen L. Battaglia is a well-known and respected figure in the dog world. He is also the German Shepherd Dog Club of America delegate and one of the four AKC directors who voted against the AKC's support of S1139 (PAWS) on June 12, 2005. His statement indicates that the AKC's underlying rationale is flawed, the bill itself poorly written and dangerous and he urges its defeat. Dr. Battaglia resides in Georgia. Dr. Battaglia's impressive resume and website link is provided below.  (resource


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