ALERT: Ohio SB 130: Severely affects all breeders of dogs
Sorry this is so late, maybe too late.
Yesterday, the Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee passed SB 130, a kennel licensing bill aimed at regulating large commercial kennels. Although the bill is aimed at high-volume breeders, it will impact all who breed dogs regardless of numbers. The full House is expected to pass the bill this afternoon; session begins at 1:30 p.m. and can be viewed online at http://www.ohiochannel.org/ . It is possible but unlikely that good amendments will be offered. Following passage in the House, the bill returns to the Senate for concurrence and then on to the gov for his signature. It goes into effect 60 days after signing.
The bill is backed by HSUS and the ASPCA as a "first step" in regulating Ohio kennels. Neither organization considers it to be tough enough.
The bill affects all show and performance dog breeders by changing current kennel licensing law so that anyone who keeps a dog "for the purpose of breeding" and offers puppies for sale "for a fee or other consideration" will require a kennel license. Obviously, this provision could put show and performance dog breeders in conflict with local zoning laws that forbid kennels or businesses in residential areas and could be interpreted to require a kennel license for any intact dog because it could be bred. It could impact those who breed infrequently because it will require a kennel license in some years but not others. (Of course, a breeder could simply renew the kennel license regardless of intent to breed in a particular year, but the fee will be higher than the fee for individual registration if the breeder has fewer than 5 dogs.) It does not matter if the breeder has only one dog and sells only one puppy. It doesn't matter if the breeder loses money on the litter. OVDO and AKC argued for a change in this language in every version of the bill for the last four years and were unsuccessful.
The bill also requires that individuals and organizations that run an "animal rescue for dogs" register with the state and report the names and addresses of all foster homes utilized. Registration is free and the information will be kept in a database at the Ohio Department of Ag.
The definition of "animal rescue for dogs" includes a prohibition on breeding dogs, thus effectively banning purebred breeders from participating in breed rescue efforts.
All boarding kennels must also register with the state. The bill states that the boarding kennel must be "solely" in the business of boarding dogs, thus effectively banning breeders from also running boarding kennels.
Both boarding kennels and rescues can be inspected if a complaint is filed or if it is suspected that they are also breeding dogs. Complaints can be anonymous; there is no requirement for written, signed complaints.
The major provisions in the bill cover kennels that produce 9 or more litters and sell 60 or more puppies in a year. These provisions include enforcement of a set of housing and care standards to be produced by the Ohio Department of Agriculture; annual inspections by veterinarians; and license fees ranging from $150 to $750 per year, depending on the number of litters produced and puppies sold. Standards will be based on AVMA guidelines, best practices, biosecurity and disease prevention, and USDA standards. (AKC has also submitted a copy of its care and conditions policy as a resource.) Violations can bring a civil penalty of $100 per day.
High volume breeders are also required to purchase a bond or insurance policy payable to the state as a hedge against potential violations and to undergo a criminal background check. The bonds and insurance policy may not be available in Ohio, and the background checks may be prohibitively expensive, especially for breeders who are at the bottom of the regulated group.