CALL TO ACTION: Comment ASAP to oppose proposed USDA/APHIS retail pet seller rule change

CALL TO ACTION: Comment ASAP to oppose proposed USDA/APHIS retail pet seller rule change

SAOVA friends,

As you know by now, APHIS proposes to revise the definition of "retail pet store" to bring more pet animals sold at retail under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licensing and regulations. APHIS plans to narrow the definition of retail pet store so that it means a PLACE OF BUSINESS OR RESIDENCE THAT EACH BUYER PHYSICALLY ENTERS in order to personally observe the animals available for sale prior to purchase and/or to take custody of the animals after purchase. Under the proposed rule no dog or other pet animal will be sold at retail WITHOUT either public or APHIS oversight. This is the critical point.


- For decades pet sellers in the retail sector have enjoyed immunity from federal licensing under the definition of a retail pet store . Historically retail sellers were not licensed by the federal government due to the general ability of the public to provide their own scrutiny of pet sellers and government concerns such as duplicative efforts with state or local laws.

- The proposed rule change has been circulated in the media and by HSUS as closing an Internet loophole in the AWA that will bring regulation to unscrupulous dog breeders who operate in substandard conditions. Far from it!! The broad scope of the proposed rule could bring hundreds of thousands of pet retailers and rescuers of domestic animals under federal regulation.

- A breeder/seller of any species currently covered under the retail pet store definition can potentially lose their exemption and be required to obtain a federal license for even occasionally selling sight unseen via the Internet. Covered species includes dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, gophers, chinchilla, domestic ferrets, domestic farm animals, birds.

- The proposed rule would require EVERY SINGLE BUYER to physically visit a retailer s premises. Therefore selling even one pet OFF PREMISES at a show, at a park, or arranged location without the buyer visiting first, will result in loss of an exemption from federal licensing. Rescue organizations are NOT exempt from this proposed rule. Selling pets at an adoption day event away from their base location or traveling to meet potential adopters would no longer be permitted without a federal license. This proposed requirement places undue limitations on buyers as well as sellers.

- Living under USDA licensing is NOT an option for the average retail seller. Spare rooms in homes, porches, covered kennel runs, and barns can never be converted to a USDA-compliant facility. Federal engineered standards for licensed facilities dictate enclosure sizes, sanitation, surfaces that are impervious to moisture, ventilation, bio-hazard control, veterinary care, exercise, temperature controls, waste disposal systems, diurnal lighting, drainage systems, washrooms, perimeter fencing, as well as transportation standards for regulated animals. Most residential environments would not permit zoning variances for such facilities.

- Exemptions from licensing are limited. Breeders of cats, dogs, and small exotic animals are currently exempt if they have 3 or fewer breeding females. APHIS proposes to increase this to 4 or fewer breeding females. However, either limit makes it very difficult to build a breeding program without constantly moving out or spaying older females to make room for the next generation. To have more than this number of breeding females requires a license.

- There is still an exemption for sellers who derive less than $500 gross income from the sale of other animals (this does not include dogs, cats, and exotic or wild animals).

- The massive expansion of regulatory responsibilities into the private sector outlined in the proposed rule is not only impractical but unaffordable for an agency that is currently addressing serious budget challenges. For the past several years, APHIS budget has been shrinking; since 2010 the budget has decreased by roughly 10 percent. The 2013 submitted budget calls for an additional decrease of 6.6%.


OPPOSE adoption of this proposed rule. APHIS needs to hear most from those who are likely to be affected by the rule. Are you already licensed under local or state law and would federal regulation be a duplicate effort? Explain briefly how the rule will impose costs on your breeding program and activities and whether this will cause you to cease or limit your hobby or operations.

Suggested comments are available at the SAOVA website and can be customized.

Submit a separate comment for each point you wish to make in opposition to the rule. Comment period ends July 16, 2012.

Post comments at the APHIS portal!documentDetail;D=APHIS-2011-0003-0001

Send a copy of your comment to Congressman and reference Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003
Directory of Representatives
Directory of Senators

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION can be found at PIJAC and at the Cat Fanciers Association

Susan Wolf
Sportsmen s & Animal Owners Voting Alliance
Working to Identify and Elect Supportive Legislators

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Rizki wrote:
Honestly, the best thing you can do for them is to get a credit card just for pet emicgenrees, start a savings account for pet emicgenrees or get care credit. Pet Insurance unfortunately usually costs people more than it saves. The problem with most pet insurance companies is that they are not going to cover anything they consider a pre-existing condition' or anything they consider hereditary'. While your dog maybe healthy now, the things they consider pre-existing conditions are any illness or disease that is common in your breed of dogs, even if it's a mutt. Every dog has certain conditions that are common to that bread. Like Cocker Spaniels are prone to Hypothyroidism, patellar luxation, skin problems and urinary tract problems. If you had a Cocker Spaniel and got him insurance, even if he's perfectly healthy now your insurance wouldn't cover any of those things because they consider them pre-existing' due to breed type. The unfortunately fact is, every breed has these conditions that are common to that breed. The reason it's so important that insurance covers these is because your dog is much more likely to come down with one of these illnesses if it's in his breed history than anything else. That is also why insurance companies wont cover them because it would cost them too much money.Even if you have a mutt from a shelter you can't escape this because the vet has to put down a breed type on their paper work. Even if it's a mutt, they'll look at the dog and try to guess. The pet insurance companies will also insist on you giving them a breed on their paper work as well, you can't just put down mutt' or mix'. So when you are looking at the paper work for insurance companies, really REALLY read the fine print hard and inquire what that company considers pre-existing conditions' and what sort of things they don't cover. Look up the sort of illnesses your breed (or what you think it might be if you have a mix) so you can tell/ask if they cover those things or not. A lot of insurance companies wont cover accidents either. If they feel it was due to owner negligence you will be out of luck. Like if you were at the park with your dog playing fetch and it got hit by a car they'll consider it your fault due to not having the dog on a leash. Or if they find your fence was damaged and not fixed well enough and your dog got out they'll consider it your fault. So again, read the fine print REALLY well. It's hard to recommend a company to you because the companies vary so much on what they cover. You need to look at what sort of dog you have, it's age and what you want that insurance to cover then really really do your homework on them as far as what they will and wont cover and how much you want to pay deductible wise, co-pay wise etc. There is nothing worse than having an accident or illness with your pet and thinking you are covered when you aren't. That's why I say it's much better to get a credit card, care credit, or start a savings account. There will be no surprises during a time of need with those. Good luck and I wish the best to you and your pets! Was this answer helpful?

Mon, August 6, 2012 @ 12:06 PM

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