Sunday, January 29, 2012

PUPS - "What Can We Do"?

PUPS (Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety) is the federal proposal that anyone who owns (or co-owns) even ONE intact bitch be brought under commercial regulations, if he also sells (or offers for sale) fifty dogs in a year. 

This measure is sponsored by the HSUS, so we know that the number "50" is arbitrary and will be reduced with future amendments. No need to reduce the number of intact bitches because anyone with an ownership interest in ONE intact bitch (as young as four months old) would be automatically included. Co-ownerships are specifically mentioned; it's possible that such things as breeding rights and puppy back contracts may also "count" in one way or another as your sales numbers are tabulated.

PUPS erases the line between those who sell at wholesale and those who sell at retail. Currently, retail sellers are regulated locally. PUPS is an effort to bring those who sell at retail (like anyone who advertises with a personal website) under the auspices of the federal Animal Welfare Act. Contrary to the claims of PUPS supporters it does NOT apply only to internet sales. PUPS includes breeders who place pets "via any means of conveyance"; internet ads/websites, newspaper, telephone, dog show contacts and so on.

Requiring hobby breeders to follow USDA rules would force many people to give up hobby breeding entirely. Commercial rules forbid keeping dogs in your house, and instead require that an expensive kennel facility be built. Carpet, grass and upholstered furniture (like a couch or chair) is forbidden in the dog areas. Raising pups in your bedroom instead of a kennel would not be allowed. Dogs must be kept in runs with cement floors, roof-style covers, an adequate ventilation system and floor drains for sanitation protocols which are also regulated. The cost of building such facilities would be out of reach for the vast majority of breeders.

Other rules that would be difficult if not impossible for hobby breeders to meet include submission to unannounced inspections and meeting ambiguous exercise requirements.

The USDA is currently criticised for lax enforcement of existing law. In 2008, the USDA had 99 inspectors who conducted 15,722 inspections or re-inspections on facilities including 4,604 licensed breeders and 1,116 licensed brokers. The numbers of facilities/homes that would be added by PUPS would be in the thousands, adding additional strain on the existing system. PUPS would result in fewer inspections of the large, commercial breeders the AWA was intended to regulate in the first place.

Along with many other canine groups, AKC opposes PUPS, stating:
The AKC also has a number of serious concerns with the bill as introduced and does not support this measure.
(You can read their concerns and the full alert at the link below)

One of best PUPS opposition statements belongs to the national cat registry association, CFA, even though PUPS doesn't even apply to them (doesn't apply YET - which is the whole idea of why they oppose):

There is a version of PUPS in the Senate, and a version in the House of Representatives. Presumably, this makes it easier to get it pushed through quickly once the votes are there. And, at last count, there were 196 congressional sponsors for PUPS; more are signing on every day. Once they get around 220 or so they will have enough votes to pass and it just might be brought up at that time. There is talk that PUPS may never come to a vote because the USDA may amend the AWA and then it might be a moot point. We can hope!

There's a new legislative site that allows you to contact your legislators quickly and let them know when you support or oppose proposed legislation.

Click on the two Popvox links below to urge your legislator to oppose PUPS in both House and Senate:

US Senate PUPS

US House of Representatives PUPS
https://www. bills/us/ 112/hr835

The entire rationale for PUPS is to try to "catch" people who are breeding commercially and selling directly to the public via the internet. However, people who attempt to skirt the law now will not be more likely to comply if a new law is passed. Instead, we will lose many conscientious breeders who are the best sources for healthy, well-bred dogs in this country. The language of PUPS would also bring rescue groups and other resellers under onerous federal rules. Many of these groups use the internet (websites or puppyfind-type services) to find homes for their animals. All retailers who sell directly to the public should remain under local regulation.

Please take a minute to contact your senator and congressman. Popvox makes it quick and easy.

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