The USDA/APHIS is proposing a rules change for the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). If the change goes through, anyone who sells dogs, cats or other small mammals, such as rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, etc., for pets will have to be licensed and inspected by the USDA/Aphis. Their facilities will have to meet USDA/APHIS requirements. The only exemption to this rule will be “retail pet stores.”
- In order to qualify for the “retail pet store” exemption, every puppy/kitten purchaser will have to come to your home at least once when purchasing the puppy/kitten. If you ship just one dog or cat to a long-time friend across the country without that person coming to your ‘facility’ before the sale, you will have to be licensed by the USDA/APHIS.
- The only other exemption will be if there are four or fewer breedable females on your premises and sell only the offspring of your own animals. This could be a combination of two unspayed dogs and two unfixed gerbils. These numbers may include dogs/cats that you co-own with others. If you take in and place a dog (that you didn’t breed) in need of a home, you will have to be licensed by the USDA/APHIS.
The only way to stop these rules is to submit comments to the USDA/APHIS with copies to your senators and congressmen. Comment period closes on July 16, 2012.
For more information, please visit the following websites:
The proposed Rule and the AWA:
- Proposed Rule as published in the Federal Register May 16, 2012: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-05-16/pdf/2012-11839.pdf
- The Animal Welfare Act: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_welfare/
- USDA Fact Sheet about this Proposed Rule: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_welfare/2012/retail_pets_faq.pdf
- Transcript of APHIS Stakeholder Teleconference Call concerning the Proposed Rule, May 10, 2012: http://saova.org/news/APHIS/Aphis_May_10_2012.pdf
Comment directly to APHIS at this link – Comment period closes on July 16, 2012: http://www.regulations.gov/ – !documentDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0003-0001
Dog News has a very good article by Carlotta Cooper about the proposed rule: http://issuu.com/dognews/docs/052512/93
Additional information and talking points are available from the American Kennel Club, the Cat Fanciers Association of America , and the National Animal Interest Association.
Please make sure contact your Federal Delegation about this proposed rule. Contact information for New Hampshire’s Congressional Delegation including their Facebook pages:
Sen. Kelly Ayotte –
- List of local offices: http://www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=community_outreach
- Email Contact: http://www.ayotte.senate.gov/?p=contact
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen –
- List of local offices: http://www.shaheen.senate.gov/nh/office_hours/
- Email Contact: http://www.shaheen.senate.gov/contact/
Congressman Charlie Bass –
- List of local offices: http://bass.house.gov/index.php?flt_m=6&flt_y=&option=com_content&view=article&id=2911&Itemid=400148&layout=default
- Bass’ Community Liaison Christopher C. Collins in the Concord Office at (603) 226-0064 http://bass.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2913&Itemid=400141
Congressman Frank Guinta –
- Local office: http://guinta.house.gov/office/manchester
- Email contact: https://guinta.house.gov/contact-me/email-me
In addition, the Australian Shepherd Club of America has two web-based surveys. One is for breeders and one is for buyers . They are hoping for as many responses as possible to address the USDA/APHIS statement that this rule will only affect 1500 breeders. Please fill it out if you have bred a litter or purchased a puppy in the last ten years.