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From 14 August 2005 Issue

The ASPCA Endorses PAWS

The ASPCA has long been recognized in the forefront on the war against animal cruelty. Now, the ASPCA joins many fine groups in supporting the Pet Animal Welfare Statute known as PAWS S. 1139/H.R. 2669.

Last week ASPCA president Edwin Sayres announced that the ASPCA will be joining the animal welfare community in support of the Pet Animal Welfare Statute, legislation that cracks down on the country’s large-scale commercial breeding facilities—otherwise known as puppy mills.

ASPCA President Ed Sayres called for "all animal welfare communities to work together to pass this bill that will help require breeders to meet the basic requirements for the care and treatment of thousands of companion animals.”

It is important to understand that PAWS focuses changes in the AWA that will close the loopholes for breeders who breed SEVEN or more litters a year. What PAWS won't do is require rescue groups or responsible breeders who fall short of the SEVEN litter requirement from being licensed under the USDA.

Many breeders have cried foul over entering a number of litters which would bring about licensing and inspections of their breeding facilities. Yet, these standards were implemented under the guidelines recommended AKC's High Volume Breeders Committee a few years back. Breeders who have seven litters a year are required to pass an AKC Inspection and random DNA testing prior to registering any future litters with the AKC.

The AKC recognizes through the history of inspecting high volume breeders that inspection and regulation plays an important role in protecting breed standards and consumer protection. Many of the high volume breeders faced with failing either a USDA mandated inspection which allowed them to sell to the wholesale pet industry OR breeders who failed the AKC's inspection process would simply stop registering under the AKC and sell their poorly bred puppies through Internet sales, classified ads or through other less than responsible outlets like flea markets. Obviously consumers suffer, but worse than that the breeders' stock suffers as well.

The Pet Animal Welfare Statute, H.R. 2669/S. 1139, would amend the Animal Welfare Act to cover facilities in which more than six litters of dogs or cats are whelped per year and that sell any dogs or cats to the public, as well as breeders who annually sell more than 25 dogs and cats directly to the public or wholesale. Passage of this legislation would require that these breeders be licensed by the USDA and comply with standards of care set forth in the Animal Welfare Act. The loophole in the current law allows puppy mills to classify themselves as “retail pet stores,” thus evading federal oversight.

Please join us in support of this important legislation. Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center today www.aspca.org/site/Advocacy?id=1713 where you can contact your federal representatives and ask them to support H.R. 2669/S. 1139.

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