Labradoodle Forums banner

1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,243 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Some of you know that in CA, "our" representatives have already passed in the House, and are voting in the Senate, a Bill that will put most of the small, reputable breeders out of business in California.
Here is the Bill: http://info.sen.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery
I am posting my letter to my local representatives. Please feel free to use any part of this letter, if you desire to write on your own behalf.
(This is long, sorry!)

Honorable Senator Wiggins,

I am a resident of Mendocino County and I am writing to strongly oppose passage of AB 1634.

I wish to be clear that I am not opposed to the intent of this Bill. I agree that too many domestic animals are being neglected, abused, placed in shelters and euthanized.

My opposition of AB 1634 derives from experience as a responsible dog breeder who routinely donates puppies to the Guide Dogs of America and to individuals with special needs. Passage of AB 1634 into law will, effectively put me (and others like me) out of business.

One of the main problems with AB 1634 is that fails to place responsibility for animals directly on the shoulders of those who produce them (the breeders), and those who provide a market for them (the sellers and the owners.) This Bill does nothing to enhance the plight of animals. It merely creates a biased basis for assessing fees to support euthanasia and cover costs of housing of "disposable" animals.

We already have good laws aimed at identification and regulation of breeders. Still, the overpopulation exists. What needs to happen now is a tightening of the regulations to include owners and sellers of domestic animals.

It is my hope that AB 1634 will fail and that our honorable Representatives will then form a strong, diverse, committee (consisting of attorneys, animal rights activists, shelter organizations, animal control officers, veterinarians, devoted animal owners, animal clubs, responsible breeders and various organizations who receive animals into service) to study reasonable alternatives and weigh the risks verses benefits of any limiting proposal. (Please see Addendum I for viable suggestions.)

Alternatives might include, in addition to committee study, formal mediation to assist in fair, open and unbiased communication before imposing a restrictive ordinance such as AB 1634.

This issue goes beyond the concerns announced in the Bill. These animals are placed in the stream of Interstate Commerce, and strict, prejudicial regulations, such as AB 1634, in my opinion, offend the intent and purpose of a fundamental Constitutional right, the Interstate Commerce Clause.

This bill will not stop the influx of animals into the State. It will not reduce the number of those unfortunate animals found in shelters or abandoned. The only thing this Bill will accomplish is to shut down reputable California breeding businesses and force citizens of California to buy their domestic pets from outside the state, where California has no control over the conditions of the animals and where California citizens will have no legal recourse against the breeder or seller if their animal arrives or becomes unfit, unhealthy, in pain or in need of expensive surgery due to careless breeding practices.

Please, for a moment, briefly look over the comment section of AB 1634. You will recognize that the supporters are basically shelters and veterinarians. I think their interest in its passage is obvious. But also take notice of the many in opposition, because you will see a much broader and diverse representation.

I suggest that the overpopulation of animals is directly related to irresponsible ownership. The owner must always be held accountable, but in addition, the breeder or seller of the animal must be held accountable because they select the owner. I make proposals for consideration in lieu of AB 1634, attached to this letter as Appendix I.

I wish to enlighten you with information regarding quality breeding programs, through the eyes and hearts of responsible breeders and I have included this information as Addendum II.

The problem is not solely one of irresponsible breeding, although breeding can and should be regulated properly. The true burden to the state results from irresponsible ownership and from owners who believe that animals are disposable. Still, the breeder (or seller) selects the families, therefore, breeders and sellers must be held accountable for their decisions.

Contributing to overcrowding of shelters are animals from puppy mills, brokers and back yard breeders who produce far more animals than they can sell and once the "cute" new stage is outgrown, the animal is abandoned. These "breeders" do not care where the animal goes, so long as they are getting paid, and no longer have to be troubled with even minimal care for the animal.

Thank you for considering this information. I urge you to oppose AB 1634.

Sincerely,
Jacque Reynolds

Addendum I, Proposed Alternative Legislation
To Jacque Reynolds
OPPOSITION TO AB 1634

The answer to animal over-population is found, simply, in accountability. Holding those who help to create, profit by or own these animals liable for the lives they help to create. To this end, I make the following suggestions:

1) Mandatory micro-chipping and licensing of every animal at the earliest (safe) age. Require DNA testing for every registered animal. Keep a DNA/Registration data bank, forever linking breeder, seller and owner to the animal.
2) The animal should be registered to the breeder, seller, owner and any subsequent owners. In other words, all parties involved in the lives of this animal should be required to keep good records pertaining to the animal.
3) When an animal is abandoned the breeder, seller and/or the owner should be contacted. Each being obligated to reimburse kennel costs and each being involved in making decisions concerning the health and well being of the animal. (Civil and/or Equitable sanctions.)
4) If any individual breeder, seller and/or owner has an animal at large or in a shelter more than, 3 times for an owner and 5 times for a breeder or seller (as an example only), in any one year, or fails to comply with the civil/equity sanctions, the county may charge the parties with a criminal misdemeanor.
5) If the owner/seller/breeder has more than a reasonable number of misdemeanor offences, the county has the right to charge the matter more seriously, even as a felony where the offenses are most egregious.
6) The breeder may have the right to reclaim any animal from the owner, without refund, under certain guidelines. (In order to find a more responsible owner.)
7) If an animal is placed in a shelter and does not have a micro-chip, DNA or registration, then it is automatically presumed to be a stray and may be immediately adopted. (The most extensive expense to shelters is keeping animals for 2 weeks or more, by law, giving the owner a chance to claim the animal. If registration were required, every unregistered animal would be assumed to have no legal owner and could be adopted the very day it was turned in.)
8] The registration or licensing could link the animal, via data base, to vet care so that the county could have another means of identification of the animal and location of its owner. The breeder would always be named on vet records as well as the seller and owner. Vet records could be used in court by any of the interested parties.
9) It could be made illegal for any owner to re-home the animal without the express consent of the breeder. Otherwise, the unwanted animal would be required to be returned to the breeder/seller, who would have the obligation of finding a suitable home. Again, this would eliminate many of the abandoned animals turning up in shelters and make the breeder/seller more cautious in selecting a proper home.
10) The State and counties could help breeders enforce the spay/neuter clauses of their contracts, imposing civil penalties for violations of this type of clause. Even making it mandatory to pursue claims of breach of contract related to this important clause (spay/neuter).
11) The State should make it illegal to broker an animal. Make the seller, yes, the SELLER, liable for the same things a breeder is liable for. The seller must be required to warrant that the puppy is free from disease and from genetic flaws for the same amount of time a good breeder would warrant this. Place the seller into the same liability category as the breeder and owner and include them in the registration process. (Require that the seller list the name and contact information of every breeder who provides animals.)
12) Require that the seller verify the microchip, DNA and licensing of every animal before they agree to sell the animal and that they provide reasonable vet care for every animal in their charge.
13) Make every breeder responsible for retired breeding stock. Create laws to make it illegal to euthanize a healthy animal. Require the breeder to retire the animal to a loving home environment or to a reputable charity organization that will place the animal in a good and loving home.

All of these conditions could be backed by administrative fees. The fees would be charged to the appropriate parties, the ones who must take responsibility for the health and well being of the animal; the breeder, the seller and owner.

Addendum II, Responsible Breeding Practices
To Jacque Reynolds
OPPOSITION TO AB 1634

Breeding animals responsibly requires a certain mindset and a spirit of caring for animals and people that preclude a good breeder from treating animals as property (chattel). This is a small sample of actions you can expect from a caring California breeder:

1) Reputable breeders begin with selection of the best breeding stock available. We look to the parents, including the parent lines, in search for dogs with good temperaments, intelligence, health, confirmation and purpose.
2) We raise the breeding stock, from infancy, and we work with them. We learn about their characteristics through firsthand relationships. We nurture them, we teach them and we watch them grow to adulthood. We train them and make them a part of our families. We know them as well as we know the people in our families and, indeed, we love them.
3) Our adult dogs and puppies are raised in our home, as family, they are used to being loved, stroked, brushed, spoken to, played with and cared for as all living creatures deserve to be.
4) We test these animals for genetic faults that are common in their respective breeds and only if the tests are favorable, do we consider breeding the animals. We select their mates using the same strict criteria. We consult with quality veterinarians and conduct research in order to determine healthy breeding practices.
5) We are aware that in nature, we are unable to predict any given outcome, so in addition to testing and selecting our breeding stock, we have them evaluated by our veterinarian, we offer both short-term and long-term health warranties. We support the new families. We help with advice, guidance, and monetary support if it is reasonable to do so.
6) We select the families as carefully as we do our animals. We turn away prospective families if they don't seem to be a good fit for our animals. We donate animals when the circumstances warrant a donation. (To a good breeder, it is not solely about money.)
7) We offer animals to special needs individuals and children. We help them find special trainers or programs. Sometimes we donate the animals directly to the various programs, such a guide dog programs, law enforcement programs, seizure alert training programs, etc.
8] And if, for some reason, the family is unable to keep the animal we require (through contracts) that the family return the animal to us, the breeders, and the breeder finds a new home that is suitable for the animal, given the special needs that are inevitable after re-home circumstances.
9) Reputable breeders sell animals with a strict spay/neuter clause and only sell breeding animals to carefully selected breeders.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,243 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, Gene...I know that it is waaaaaay too long, but you should have seen how I cut it down! LOL
I just hope that they WILL read! I am afraid they will just have an office person put a checkmark in the "opposed" box when they tally it up...and ignore the whole thing. *sigh*
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
For the first time since I moved to Sonoma County, I want to set up a table with what you've written up and have a petition form signed!!! These SSU falculty, staff, and students love to jump on any bandwagon that opposes the government!

Jac, if I get enough courage to petition my fellow students, do you mind if I use your letter? I've got a 12 page paper to write by Weds or else I'd think up my own.

And who do you think I should send it to?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,243 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Sue... :oops:

Kristen! Great! I am very proud of you!!!
Please do feel free to use my letter, but I noticed some typos (of course) after I sent it out, so just check it over for any mistakes...but you are welcome to use any part or all of the letter.

Let me know how it goes!

Here is a link to find your representatives:
http://saveourdogs.net/contactyourrep.html
Let me know if you need any help!

What is surprising to me is that even the AKC is opposing this...and, the Bill actually allows breeding, but gives so much power to each municipality and/or county that the fees will be way to high to stay in business, for those of us smaller operations. And, they will also be given the right to decide what "type" of dog is appropriate for breeding! You know that will mean that mixed breeds will be out.

Sad, very sad.

But thank you so much! I hope we can get them to at least vote this down and reconsider a better plan.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,551 Posts
Clear, dispassionate, factual, and effective. You address problems with potential solutions - all hallmarks of a well thought-out argument. Well said, and well done. Please keep us abreast of any responses etc, to this correspondence. Kudos!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
985 Posts
Jacque, that's a terrific letter: well-composed, cogent, full of persuasive facts and above all else avoiding emotionalism. Even if "they" just tally yours as an "against" vote, it's still a great effort. And who knows - some aide may even read it in its entirety. Kristen has a wonderful idea, and the more exposure that letter gets the better. Brava!

It's also good to have others use yours as a jumping off point but not follow it verbatim, because it's important that the powers that be see that people cared enough to use their own words. I sit on the NJ State (and Federal) Pinelands Commission, and I can tell you that multiple photocopied versions of the same letter don't impress nearly as much as a short but heartfelt original missive.

Leslie
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,243 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Leslie, your input is so important to me! I agree with you regarding the various "personal" notes and letters. I think that it shows that people really have a personal stake in it all.
Even if the Bill passes, I can feel that I did what I could do...(I'll still be mad as all get out, but.... :? )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
Is tomorrow too late to do anything? My procrastination and the intesity of this final paper was more than I expected. It's 6, the Gilmore Girl's series finale is in two hours, and I still have at least 4 hours of paper writing left, plus the proof reading and what have you. I honestly HATE the end of the semester.

Anyway, I know they're voting tomorrow. Does this Bill go in from of good ol' Arney, the Governator? If so, then I'll definately put something in the works, and send it to him. (Its still weird to know that he's "my" governor)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
985 Posts
Jacque, have you considered the possibility of banding together with other CA breeders and mounting a legal challenge if it does pass? It's not that difficult to find a lawyer who'll work pro bono, if the cause grabs them. And law school clinics often take on cases that have significant public impacts and pursue them as part of their educational process. The tie with guide dogs might be a persuasive hook for getting one of these entities involved.

Leslie (still hoping for the best when it comes up for a vote on Wednesday)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,243 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Kristen, believe me, I DO understand the pressures you are under!
Yes, they vote tomorrow...and the next step would be to petition the Gov to veto if it passes. So, it is not too late to make your vote count, even if it is after tomorrow!
Thanks!


Leslie, thanks once again for the great suggestions. I have actually let the thought of a lawsuit drift in and out of my mind...I think that the suit based on violation of Interstate Commerce might be really interesting.
My husband and son-in-law are both attorneys here in CA...I graduated law school last May, so the things you are saying are certainly ringing true and making sense.

Getting a law school to take on the challenge is a good idea. I know that Berkeley often takes on Constitutional cases and takes them through to the Supreme Court...very cool!

I know that the AKC and other very influential groups are in opposition of this and if it passes, I feel certain that their groups will band together and fight it, or at least I hope that they will.

Still, it does pique my interests...thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
183 Posts
Jac (and other CA folks)--

You should also make a phone call to your legislator, and get others--your friends, family members, etc--to make a call to their legislator also. Calls definitely can make an impact on legislators--especially if several legislators hear from people.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,243 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Thanks Ronnie,
I will do that! ...now!!
I did call before the first vote...should have done it sooner on this one. But it is never too late!
Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
483 Posts
Oh, good grief, it passed the Senate, too???

Are we going to have to move out of state? I really like my little slice of Heaven just the way it is! So, are we going to rent a condo in Nevada and establish residency?

Sorry I missed this from yesterday, I was out like a shot this morning to get the first puppy to the vet to be neutered...

Fabulous letter, Jac, thanks for trying!
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top