I received the posted email earlier today. I don't know how many of our members are hobby breeders or would be effected by these proposed changes, but what I do know is that this is BAD. If anyone reading this information would be effected by these proposed changes, feel free to post and cross post this message. To ensure you receive your Oder Confirmations & BSL Alerts please add Customerservice@adba.cc and firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book. Hello, DOG DAYS KNLS Please forward this information to all animal owners and breeders. USDA/APHIS Proposed Regulation Changes Would Affect Both Pet/Animal Owners and Breeders******Public Comment Deadline is July 16, 2012 ****** The United States Department of Agriculture has recently published a proposed regulation that would expand USDA licensing requirements to dog, cat and other pet breeders who were formerly exempt from USDA licensing. This proposed rule will affect breeders of many different species, which are sold as pets, including: Dogs Cats Rabbits Guinea pigs Hamsters Gerbils Rats Mice Gophers Chinchilla Domestic Ferrets Domestic farm animals Birds Coldblooded Species Without major changes or a total withdraw of these “proposed regulations”, this new classification would impact many pet buyers and breeders.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 animals sold as 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 animal offspring purchaser will have to come to your home at least once when purchasing the offspring. 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 unsprayed dogs and two unfixed hamsters. 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. This IS serious: Either we will all get involved now or for many of us, it will effectively be too expensive or impractical to breed dogs. This regulation is proposed, not yet in effect, and the public has until July 16th to make comments. This proposed regulation needs to be withdrawn by the USDA. Here Are The Summary Of Some Key Points: . -- These regulations will apply to anyone who has more than four breedable females, (of which we have the non- definition of "breeding female", co-owns and family members intact bitches, and intact females of other species, all of which may count in the final allowed exemption total for "breeding females")and sells at least one offspring. -- If you have more than four breedable females and you don't want to be inspected by the federal government, the regulations require you to sell all offspring from your home. No shipping, no meeting at the rest stop, no buying a puppy from someone who meets you at a show. This requirement is for every sale, which means if you sell a puppy to one of your current owners, that person has to come to your home again -- it is one visit per sale. -- You may sell only offspring that were born and raised at your home. That rules out stud fee offspring, puppies back, and any other puppy not born at your home. -- If you stick to these requirements, you will not have to have USDA inspections. (Retail pet stores are not inspected because they are "inspected" by their customers. The claimed point of these regulations is to be sure OUR "customers" inspect us.) There can be of any number of reasons not to open your home to the public, including personal safety, health concerns for other people in the home, contagion concerns for the puppies, and the list goes on and on. Under the proposed regulations most would have to stop doing these things. -- If you never have more than four breedable females then you aren't covered by this regulation. The government won't bother you. However, "I'm not planning to breed her" or "She is too old" or "She belongs to my sister" ARE NOT EXCUSES. The wording is 'maintain,' i.e., if it's in your place and you're feeding it and it is female and could be bred, it counts. -- As currently written, this will also affect rescue. Whether you call it an adoption fee or a price, the law considers it a sale, and all sales of dogs are covered. Under the proposed regulation, there is currently no exemption. -- The increase in the number of regulated entities that would be necessitated by the rule, as proposed, would compromise the ability of APHIS to effectively enforce the law relative to commercial breeders, the very group that the AWA was originally intended to regulate. Selling animals’ sight unseen is by no means a new method of sales. People have been selling animals through ads in publications for hundreds of years. There are many instances of buying sight unseen that happen all the time: the buyer might know all of the bloodlines, might be a previous customer, or the distance may be too great between breeder and customer, even overseas. Buying an animal sight unseen in and of itself is not a problem; it’s when sales are conducted in this manner only to hide substandard kennel conditions that it becomes an issue. These new rules are not necessarily going to fix those conditions either; not only is APHIS most likely biting off more than it can chew when it comes to enforcement, but it may negatively affect more innocent breeders than it will curtail the substandard kennels. Our homes are NOT retail shops!! We don't have the protection that a retail store does with security etc. NO retail shop has the puppies that are not allowed to be in a retail store because they are too young to be sold. All our puppies on site are not vaccinated as they CANNOT be vaccinated before a certain age for health reasons. Retail stores do NOT have the sire and dam on site. The owners of retail stores DO NOT LIVE in their facilities so their families and other family animals are NOT put in jeopardy by the visiting public. The public coming to our homes bring potentially unwanted health problems with them on their shoes, clothing etc. The presence of the public exposes the puppies that cannot be vaccinated due to age, to parvo and any other disease that can be brought in on their bodies. In addition many breeders stopped having them come to private homes because of our animals' and personal safety. They were being broken into and dogs were stolen right after a "prospective" buyer has visited. A retail store owner does not expose their self, their family or their pet's safety to that danger. Why would your government put a regulation into place that would mandate that kind of danger? Hobby breeders cannot be treated as “retail pet shops” because they are not. There are many things that you, as a dog owner can do! As this is an administrative rule, a comment period has opened and comments will be considered until July 16. Remember, when making your voice heard, whether it be through an open comment period such as this and/or contacting a legislator, establish yourself as someone who will be directly impacted by the potential changes. PASS THE WORD!!! It's time to start getting those comments out there AND SENDING THEM TO CONGRESS. CONGRESS is where we think this can be beaten. Comments to APHIS is just a numbers game -- we need to show the people there that we know the proposed regulations are bad. On the other hand if every Congressman gets an average of 40 meaningful comments (2000/50 states), it's probably dead. 'Meaningful' is "In docket 2011-0003, APHIS wants to greatly expand the number of pet breeders they regulate/inspect. This regulation would make me stop breeding (rescuing)" ect. That is, the Congressman can tell what you are talking about AND how the APHIS proposal would hurt you. 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 Type: Retail Pet Sales in the search browser on the website. (Please keep your comments respectful and keep in mind that you will only have 20 minutes to complete the page, and a limit 2000 characters, so have what you want to say ready). There is no limit to how many comments you can post, so split them up if you need to or mail comments to: Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003 Regulatory Analysis and Development PPD APHIS Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale MD 20737-1238. Send a copy of your comment to your Congressman and reference Docket No. APHIS-2011-O0003. Directory of RepresentativesDirectory of Senators Comment Guide:APHIS needs to hear most from those who are likely to be affected by the rule. Explain briefly how the rule will impose costs on your breeding program and activities and whether this will cause you to cease your hobby or operations. How will your costs as a buyer be affected? Tell your story. The time is now to tell APHIS and Congress: 1. "Here is what I do now." 2. "Here is what the new regulations would require me to do." 3. "Here is how that will affect me." If you feel you understand what the regulations say, try writing two sentences for each of those three points. You may expand to four sentences if needed for #1 -- for example if you breed and rescue. Philosophical and analytical comments are also needed: 'This is a lousy idea because ...' and 'your idea of a cost estimate is a joke.' But the most important comments are "Here's what this does to ME" sent to your Congressman. We should figure we need 10,000 of those going to Congress to get this thing killed. SUGGESTED COMMENTS FOR APHIS PROPOSED RULEDue by July 16, 2012,The Cavalry Group also has a Capwiz set up to contact Secretary Vilsack directly, with a letter guide.http://www.thecavalrygroup.com/letter1.phpPersonalize the suggested points to address below. Points to Address: * The majority of hobby breeders currently work within zoning requirements of increasingly urbanized areas. USDA licensing will automatically make these breeders businesses or commercial kennels requiring zoning variances which can be vetoed by neighbors and local officials. As these variances and permits may not be possible to obtain in many localities, it is likely to end small-scale breeding for many fanciers. * The breeding of home-raised animals is the optimum source of healthy, well bred and well socialized pets. If fanciers and hobby breeders are forced to discontinue or reduce their breeding programs to avoid impossible licensing requirements, the public demand for well socialized pets will not be met. Fewer enthusiasts will also result in the loss of genetic diversity. * The proposed rule purportedly closes an "Internet loophole". The presumption is that the public purchases sight unseen and sellers can freely operate in substandard conditions. However, long before computers and Internet access became household commodities for shopping, the public purchased dogs as well as birds, livestock and a plethora of commodities long distance via newspapers, farm journals, and magazines in addition to personal, local buying. Because the Internet has replaced many of these advertising methods does not mean it should be used as an excuse to expand the agency's regulatory scope beyond its current enforcement capability. * While the Internet has increased opportunities for sales this does not translate to a need for the federal government to monitor and regulate the purchasing habits or prerogatives of the public. For the majority of pet breeders, selling online and shipping "sight unseen" to the buyer triggers a licensing requirement. In many cases this places unnecessary restrictions on both buyer and seller. Types of pets and specific breeds are not evenly distributed throughout the nation in order to make local buying achievable. It is not practical to expect a buyer to travel hundreds of miles, or fly across country, to purchase the pet of his choice. There are checks and balances in place for "sight unseen" transactions such as personal references and the veterinary health certificate required for shipping. * Living under USDA licensing is NOT an option for the average breeder/seller. Meeting the requirements of the rules and regulations of the Animal Welfare Act will be impossible for those who house animals within their private residences due to such issues as surfaces impervious to moisture, ventilation, bio-hazard control, whelping and space requirements. * In the published "Regulatory Impact Analysis" APHIS admits some affected entities may need to make infrastructural and/or operational changes in order to comply with the standards. APHIS goes on to say that neither the number of entities that would need to make changes, nor the extent of those changes is known; and therefore, the cost associated with any alterations is also unknown. However, the construction costs for a basic USDA compliant building with temperature controls, waste disposal, diurnal lighting, drainage systems, washroom, and perimeter fencing would average $40,000. This alone represents an additional imposed cost of $60 million for the 1500 estimated breeders. * The number of affected facilities in the cost estimate is greatly underestimated, especially when one considers the low threshold number of breeding females that will trigger licensing requirement. The APHIS estimate of 1500 newly regulated breeders nationally is arbitrarily based on 3 states with licensed breeders (Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri) and is only for dogs. No organization in the entire nation has an accurate count of the number of small breeders/sellers potentially impacted by this rule and certainly none exists for multiple species. In the published "Regulatory Impact Analysis" APHIS admits they do not currently have enough information to fully assess the impact of the proposed rule, particularly information on the number of entities that may be affected or breadth of operational changes that may result. * The proposed rule sets engineered standards that are not compatible with residential home breeder settings. Spare rooms in homes, porches, or covered kennel runs can never be converted to a USDA-compliant facility. In these cases where the rule is aimed at improving welfare, it would actually have the opposite affect by mandating that animals move away from daily interaction as part of the family and into a sterile environment. * The average USDA regulated commercial kennel had 106 adults and 93 puppies at any given time. It is unreasonable for USDA/APHIS to compare the need to regulate this size facility with a home-based breeder who owns 5 females. * Regulating and inspecting thousands of hobby breeders in their private homes would require a huge increase in the USDA/APHIS budget or a corresponding cutback in inspections of the large commercial kennels that sell to research facilities or wholesale, the very establishments that were the target of the AWA. * Under the proposed regulations, rescuers of dogs, cats, and other animals would also be regulated if they sell any animals without the buyer physically entering their facility or residence. This requirement could force a large number of rescuers to cease operations rather than endure the red tape and costs involved, leading to increased intakes of animals at shelters and increased euthanasia rates. * State and local animal laws already cover many residential breeders. An additional layer of government regulation into the private lives and homes of individuals is overreaching, intrusive and unnecessary. * Selling offsite can also trigger a licensing requirement. If the buyer and seller meet at a park, fair, adoption day, or arranged location to reduce travel time, the buyer has an opportunity to see the animal before purchase and has the option to decline to take custody. Being offsite should not trigger cost prohibitive federal licensing requirements for the seller. Even when on your property the buyer is not required to have access to all areas of your business or residence. If the point is for the buyer to see the pet then why does it matter where this viewing takes place? * The massive expansion of regulatory responsibilities into the private sector outlined in the proposed rule is not only impractical but unaffordable within an agency that is currently addressing serious budget challenges. * USDA/APHIS should not broaden its regulatory scope to include retail (to the public) sellers. The existing definition for “retail pet store” should not be revised.