Message from TX-RPOA

>From RPOA Texas Outreach and
Responsible Pet Owners Alliance
Crossposting is encouraged.
September 5, 2012

The article below appeared in both the Dallas Morning News and San Antonio
Express News recently. No doubt handfed to the reporter by Skip Trimble
with Texas Humane Legislation Network, an animal “rights” (meatless/petless)
organization. There are only 17 licensed Texas dog and cat breeders to
date. Note the statement from James Bias, SPCA of Texas: “…I hope it
[state breeder licensing] will be a catalyst for getting out of the business
and saying, ‘this isn’t worth it.'”


Letters to the Editors are the order of the day! Skip and friends are
laying the groundwork to come back to the Legislature in January. Make your
voice heard!

[Humane Society of the United States/File Picture here in Dallas Morning News.]

More than 500 dogs and cats were taken from a puppy mill in Kaufman County during a rescue
operation in 2009. A new state law that takes effect today requires breeders
to be registered with the state.

By CLAIRE CARDONA CLAIRE CARDONA The Dallas Morning News Austin Bureau

AUSTIN – Those wanting to breed and sell dogs and cats had until today to
apply for a license with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation or
risk being fined. A state licensing law passed last year that aims to curb
abusive practices in puppy mills. The Dog or Cat Breeders Act adds Texas to
a list of at least 20 other states that have adopted a licensing
requirement. “Since this is a brand new law, we are primarily interested in
getting people licensed,” said Susan Stanford, spokeswoman for the licensing
department. “Hopefully everyone will come into compliance that needs to be.”

According to the rules adopted in March by the Texas Commission of Licensing
and Regulation, which oversees the department, only certain breeders are
required to get a license:
Those who possess 11 or more adult non-spayed female dogs and cats and who
breed the animals for direct or indirect sale or for exchange in return for
consideration. Those who sell or exchange, or offer to sell or exchange, at
least 20 dogs or cats in a year.

The department worked with implementation teams and people in the industry
to estimate the number of breeders in the state who need a license. That number, 600, is
drastically higher than the 68 who applied as of press time. Stanford said
some people may be trying to avoid getting licensed, possibly to skirt the
application fee that starts at $300 and increases, by retiring enough
animals to get below the number of 11 cats or dogs. She said fee rates
could be reduced based on the number of licenses issued.

Deborah Whitt is one of a handful of breeders so far who have passed the
pre-licensing inspection. Whitt has been in the breeding business for 21/2
years operating Heart of Texas Chihuahuas in Killeen. The business website
displays her license number, but she’s not happy with the requirement.
“It’s not what I wanted to do, but it’s workable,” Whitt said. “I would
rather not have the government telling me what to do. I probably took better
care of my dogs than what they’re requiring now.” Whitt said she doubts the
licensing requirement will stop disreputable breeders. “I think they will
go underground and will find a way to keep doing what they’re doing,” she

Stanford said her department is always on the lookout for violators. Those
found to be operating illegally or without adhering to standards will be
listed on the website and issued fines, she said.

So far this year, 419 animals have been rescued from puppy mills that kept
them in substandard conditions, according to SPCA data.

James Bias, president of the SPCA of Texas, said he hopes the requirement
will encourage pet buyers to ask for the seller’s license number and to see
where the animals are kept.

“The majority of folks that we’ve dealt with on the cruelty side wouldn’t
even comply with [Department of Agriculture] requirements,” he said.

“There may be some operators who are on the fence with how they’re going
to comply with these minimum standards, and I hope it will be a catalyst for
getting out of the business and saying,
‘This isn’t worth it.'”

Skip Trimble, legislative chair of the Texas Humane Legislation Network,
said he considers the standards of care passed by the Texas Commission of
Licensing and Regulation “a disaster for the animals.”

“The success is we were able to get the bill passed and we have some
regulations, but we feel that without having followed our suggestions, [the regulations] are totally inadequate,”
Trimble said. “But we have something, and that’s better than nothing.”

Thousands of letters were sent to the commission from citizens before
passage of the regulations, but Trimble says the commission failed to address the main concerns.

Animal advocates focused on providing at least 50
percent solid-cage flooring, increased cage size requirements and a ban on
cage stacking.

The Department of Agriculture standards, which apply only to breeders who
sell wholesale to pet stores or to research facilities, were taken into
account and used as the basis for the requirements passed by the licensing
department. Animal advocates say only the minimum was done to shore up
protection for animals. “Clearly it was the intent of the Legislature to do
a better job than what the [federal government] had done, but the commission
that had the final say decided not do more,” Trimble said.

Colleen Tran, policy analyst for Rep. Senfronia Thompson, D-Houston, was the
staff member who helped Thompson write the bill. She said it’s too early to gauge the success of the
bill, but she is happy with the groundwork it laid.
“Nobody is ever going to be completely satisfied,” Tran said. “But we set a minimum bar to get something
on the books so people can do more but nothing less.”

~ by topcatsroar on September 7, 2012.

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