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The "Pet Animal Welfare Statute of 2005" (PAWS)

Senate Bill 1139/House Bill 2669 May 2005 - proposed by Senator (Pa) Rick Santorum

PAWS - What is it?

Simply stated, PAWS is a bill brought to Congress by Senator Rick Santorum. 
This bill, entitled the Pet Animal Welfare Statute will attempt to close a loophole that exempts the sale of puppies over the Internet and through newspaper ads, supposedly from large commercial animal breeders in the current Animal Welfare Act.

Supported by:

The AKC?? and PeTA, The Humane Society of the U.S. and the Doris Day Animal Foundation,
all extremist, left wing animal rights organizations.

The bill sounds great, right?

Wrong!  Although Senator Santorum might have good intentions, basically this bill is going to do more harm than good.

What Senator Santorum says:

Per the May 26, 2005 press release by Senator Santorum:

"PAWS calls for regulation of large commercial breeders who sell directly to the public and does not affect hobby breeders or dog and cat fanciers. The legislation would require a USDA license for breeders who breed seven or more litters of dogs or cats per year. In addition, this broad ranging legislation would cover importers, Internet sellers and other non-breeder dealers who sell more than 25 dogs or cats per year, strengthen USDA's enforcement authority, and assure USDA access to source records of persons who acquire dogs for resale. Finally, PAWS expands the USDA's authority to seek injunctions against unlicensed dog and cat dealers.


Unfortunately, the determination of what makes a commercial breeder leaves many questions unanswered and open to revisions at any time. Also, where exactly did Senator Santorum come up with the numbers that determine a commercial breeder? Not surprisingly, the numbers exactly match the numbers the AKC uses to determine if a breeder might be inspected by their Investigations and Inspections Department.

Reference the AKC website:

"The AKC Investigations and Inspections Department routinely conducts inspections of breeders that use the AKC registry.
Any AKC customer (breeder, retail pet shop, or broker) that registers 7 or more litters per year
or conducts 25 or more registration transactions per year is automatically added to the list for inspection".

Yet, when it was suggested the AKC had a large say in the determination of the numbers in the bill:

Lisa Peterson, Director of Club Communications for the AKC writes:

In an effort to keep our constituents updated on PAWS we are providing the following email.  PAWS FACT: PAWS is Senator Santorum's bill. It is *not* AKC's bill. AKC *did not* write it, and we *did not collaborate* with any other organization such as HSUS, DDAL, or PETA in contributing language.  AKC supports it because it's good for dogs.


June 10, 2005 Jim Holt writes (Dog news interview)
Most of the provisions in the final bill, not including the dealer provision, *were included in a bill proposed by the AKC several years* ago as an alternative to Senator Santorum's Puppy Protection Act (PPA), which the AKC opposed.

Jim Holt also stated, speaking for the AKC,
"we certainly can't oppose provisions *we ourselves proposed*,
just because they are now supported by legislators with whom we've had differences in the past."

So it seems, Senator Santorum did use the AKCís guidlines to determine the number to qualify what a commercial breeder is.


The AKC uses the term "Customer (breeder, retail pet shop, broker)" so even if they use the numbers, they differentiate between "breeder" and commercial animal sales by stating "retail pet shops or brokers." Unfortunately, PAWS does not differentiate between these different types of animal resale and defines every type of animal resale as "large commercial breeders"

So reading between the lines, Senator Santorums bill will actually start the unthinkable. Hobby breeders, who have always been considered the legitimate and best way to find a healthy and well bred animal will be the ones that will be affected. Literally, the end to how everyone in the US can find and purchase a well bred domesticated pet.

Per the AKC web site:

"The AKC supports all breeders who register their litters with us. We estimate that fewer than 4% of those currently registering litters with us may be subject to inspections under this new bill. Further, since these 4% of our constituents have also been subject to AKC inspection, we believe that they are already maintaining standards above and beyond what is proposed in the new bill and have no cause for concern."

Sadly, untrue.

The bill is so open in its wording, it is almost certain the majority of breeders would be affected.
First of all, where will the USDA get the information?  

Does this mean the AKC will now be working with the Government?

Who will be supplying breederís personal information? Secondly, what if a breeder has 25 pups because they had large litters, but they only breed twice a year. Does this mean they are subject to licensing for the rest of their lives??
What will determine a year? A calendar year, or within 12 months?
What if you co-own dogs and they have litters?
A big question - What if untrue information is given to the USDA?  
Remember, the AKC also inspects breeders that others have filed a complaint against.

These worries, and many more, are primarily for the dog and cat world.
But what about other animals? Will the Government start entering gerbil breeders homes??


Imagine. The majority of breeders live in residential communities where it is nearly impossible to get a kennel license. It will be the end of any breeder raising pups or kittens in their homes, giving them the care and socialization needed to become happy and healthy adults that give love and joy to their human family.

How far can this go??

Who knows? Will it be the end to garage sales and estate sales unless they are licensed?

The Government will be entering a world where they have never been before.
It will be infringing on our basic human rights as United States Citizens.

From the supporters of the bill, there is much now published trying to suggest otherwise.

From the AKC:

The AKC puts the well being of dogs and its members first and foremost, and this was a serious component of our support of this bill. All legislation undergoes some modification and evolution as it moves through the process. Obviously, if in this process the legislation were to evolve into something that was adverse or harmful to purebred dogs and responsible breeders, we would withdraw our support and work to oppose the legislation.

We believe that the USDA will give substantial weight to our suggestions for implementing regulations. In fact, since the AKC already has care and condition standards that are applicable to residential environments, we expect that the USDA will look closely at the AKC's standards as a model for implementation. There is no reason to believe that they will pursue a course of action that is adverse to the interests or the continued operation of relatively small (albeit large enough to be regulated) residential breeders, or craft regulations that are not appropriate to that environment.

The problem:

The supporters of this bill are mostly radical animal rights groups, other than the AKC. Senator Santorum is known to be aligned with these groups. What can guarantee the USDA will listen to the AKC? What will guarantee the USDA will make allowances for hobby breeders. As we have seen in our lives, anyone can tell you anything. Promises are made and broken all the time.

The bottom line:

Unfortunately, the bill will work exactly opposite from what it was intended to do. If the bill passes,
eventually the only way to get your pet will be from the large commercial breeders or large animal brokers such as the Hunte Corporation.

The current Animal Welfare Act is sufficient to work towards regulating commercial breeders and animal dealers. The USDA can determine who is a dealer the exact same way under the current AWA as with the proposed PAWS bill.

Please help to protect our dogs, cats, and all other pets.

Please help to protect all citizenís freedom and rights.

For more information and to find out what you can do to protect our pets see:

For the list of organizations opposing this bill see:

My thanks to all the people and groups working towards defeating PAWS.

Information, Quotes, and links compiled by reporter Diane Sandberg -