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Current Replies for Oklahoma Dog Owners - Act Now Or Lose It All
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eaglerock814
2/8/2009 2:36:08 PM
Posts: 36
Oklahoma Dog Owners – Urgent Alert!

House Hearing Tuesday On Devastating Breeding Bill

by JOHN YATES
American Sporting Dog Alliance
http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org
asda@conline.net

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - Pro-animal rights veterinarians and their allies are back again with a vengeance in Oklahoma, and are ramrodding legislation to target everyone who raises dogs under the guise of regulating “puppy mills.” If passed into law, this legislation would destroy hobby breeding of high quality purebred dogs in Oklahoma.

The House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee has set a hearing for Tuesday (February 10, 2009) on House Bill 1332, sponsored by Rep. Lee Denney and also known as the “Oklahoma Pet Quality Assurance and Protection Act.” The 4:30 p.m. hearing is open to the public, and the American Sporting Dog Alliance urges dog owners to attend.

Rep. Denney introduced an almost identical bill last year, but it was soundly defeated in the House Agriculture Committee following intense opposition by dog owners, the American Sporting Dog Alliance, and farmers and ranchers.

This year, however, Rep. Denny has cut a deal to circumvent the Agriculture Committee.

HB 1332 is before the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee. Convincing leadership to put a bill in an inappropriate committee falls under the category of a political dirty trick. The committee is inappropriate because the state Department of Agriculture would administer and enforce the law.

This legislation:

· Prohibits an out of state breeder from transporting dogs into or through Oklahoma, which would effectively destroy dog shows, field trials and other canine events in the state. If a hobby breeder were to bring dogs to an Oklahoma event, the dogs could be confiscated and the owner would face heavy fines and penalties.

· Gives any animal control officer, peace officer or animal cruelty investigator unrestricted access to a kennel owner’s home, facilities, animals, records and property. The bill denies kennel owners constitutional right of protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, as no warrants are required. In addition, the simple act of owning a licensed kennel would allow any kind of peace officer to search a person’s property for any reason, and this power is not limited to animal laws. This provision alone is a completely unethical assault on the Bill of Rights.

· Effectively prohibits any Oklahoma resident from buying a puppy or dog from another state, as the breeder would have to be licensed in Oklahoma.

· Requires every breeder, rescue organization, animal shelter and pet store to be state licensed – not just dealers or commercial kennels – if they sell, give away or adopt out 25 or more animals a year. This would destroy many rescue programs.

· Says that a license will not be issued to anyone who has or has ever had a federal kennel license through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This provision will destroy many well-run kennel businesses that meet or exceed all legal requirements for the care of animals, and result in the owners of those businesses losing many thousands of dollars that they have invested in land and facilities, also losing their livelihood. However, all kennels will be required to follow federal regulations for housing, care and other management issues.

· Gives the state the authority to implement complete regulations for the management of all kennels and the care of the dogs, with no provision for legislative approval or input from dog owners.

· Requires extensive record keeping, and kennel management and medical practices to be approved by a veterinarian. The legislation changes the legal status of dog owners to that of guardians, and removes all decision-making power from the hands of kennel owners. Dogs effectively become wards of the state under this legislation.

· Denies a license to anyone who is on probation or parole for any offense, even if they have nothing to do with animals. Licenses also are denied for anyone who has been found guilty of violating any statute pertaining to animals, including relatively minor offenses such as leash laws, local licensing laws and noise ordinances. In addition, purely technical or minor violations of state kennel regulations would cause mandatory denial.

· Provides fines of up to $2,500 for each violation, while granting the kennel owner only the right to an administrative appeal. Placing liens against a kennel owner’s property is authorized to collect fines, penalties and costs for seizing dogs. Several provisions allow the state to seize, confiscate and euthanize animals.

Here is a link to the text of HB 1332: http://www.okvma.org/associations/2557/files/2PQA2009HB1332.pdf. (Please note that this is on the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association site, as the official state legislature site requires a complex search. The veterinarians’ group is pushing this legislation. The sponsor, Rep. Denney, is a veterinarian. The OVMA and its allies have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into promoting this legislation, and have hired a full-time professional political lobbyist.)

We also see many unintended consequences to the legislation. For example, America’s troubled economy means that many people are forced to abandon their pets when they lose their homes or jobs. The destruction of rescue and fostering networks will lead to the needless death of thousands of beloved animals in Oklahoma, if this legislation is approved.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance urges every Oklahoma dog owner to contact each member of the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee to express clear opposition to this legislation. Because the hearing is this coming Tuesday, please make these contacts as quickly as possible.

Our suggestion is to send an immediate email to each legislator, and follow it up with a fax or phone call. Even a brief note clearly stating your opposition will be important. Keeping your tone polite and respectful goes along way in public life.

Here is email contact information for the members of the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee:

· Daniel Sullivan, Chair- danielsullivan@okhouse.gov;

· Randy McDaniel, Vice Chair- randy.mcdaniel@okhouse.gov;

· John Affuet- johnauffet@okhouse.gov,

· John Carey (D) johncarey@okhouse.gov,

· George Faught (R) georgefaught@okhouse.gov,

· Charles Key (R) charles.key@okhouse.gov,

· Guy Liebmann (R) guyliebmann@okhouse.gov,

· Skye McNiel (R) skye.mcniel@okhouse.gov,

· Lewis Moore (R) lewis.moore@okhouse.gov,

· Danny Morgan (D) dannymorgan@okhouse.gov,

· Pat Ownbey (R) pat.ownbey@okhouse.gov,

· Ron Peters (R) ronpeters@okhouse.gov,

· Mike Shelton (D) mikeshelton@okhouse.gov,

· Jabar Shumate (D) jabarshumate@okhouse.gov.

This link also will give information about each legislator’s phone, surface mail and email contact information: http://www.okhouse.gov/Members/MemberListing.aspx.

PLEASE CROSS-POST AND FORWARD THIS REPORT TO YOUR FRIENDS

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