DEAR PAW’S CORNER: Is it true that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is banning professional dog breeding? – Concerned Owner in Iowa
DEAR CONCERNED: Nope, it’s not true. However, the USDA has implemented some new rules that will bring Internet-based pet breeders and sellers under the regulation of the Animal Welfare Act. The rules narrow the definition of a retail pet store and expand the agency’s oversight of pet breeders.
On the plus side, the new rules could make it harder for notorious “puppy mills” to exist, because breeders with four or more breeding females, and those who sell puppies “sight unseen,” now have to be licensed through the USDA.
On the negative side, argues the American Kennel Club, the rules are nebulous in certain areas. For example, determining which females are truly “breeding females” can make things harder for small breeders and hobbyists. “The AKC remains extremely concerned that the rule will make it difficult for individuals to self-report, as they would not be able to know – without an APHIS inspection… before applying for a license – whether they would be required to obtain a license.”
And new standards for facilities could make it much harder for hobbyists and small breeders to raise dogs in their homes. “It is not reasonable to expect small breeders, who keep a handful of dogs and make a choice to raise dogs in their homes, to be able to meet exacting USDA kennel engineering standards that are designed for large commercial wholesale or research kennels,” the AKC said.
So, dog breeders still will be in business when the new rules take effect in November, but they may have more work cut out for them. Cat and rabbit breeders also are affected.
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Send your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. Did you know mosquitoes can transmit heartworm larvae to dogs, but fleas don’t? Find out more in my new book “Fighting Fleas,” available now. For more pet care-related advice and information, visit www.pawscorner.com. © 2013 King Features Synd., Inc.