Tuesday, April 3, 2012

OK Commercial Pet Breeders Act

The committee substitute to House Bill 2921 requires that the State Board of Agriculture enforce and administer the provisions of the Commercial Pet Breeders Act and promulgate rules that establish application and license renewal procedures and fees. The board also will establish conditions for license revocation, denial or denial of renewal; minimum standards of care for animals including socialization, veterinary care and transportation. The standards must meet minimum U.S. Department of Agriculture standards and the board must consider relevant state, federal and nationally recognized standards for animal health and welfare. The board must establish procedures for the sale of animals including a health certificate provided by a licensed veterinarian in every sale and prohibiting marketing in retail or public parking lots. The board must establish penalties for violations and a toll-free hotline to report animal abuse.
A person must not act as a commercial pet breeder without a commercial pet breeder license. The measure allows the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry to contract with a local veterinarian, other state agency or any other person to conduct pre-license inspections and annual inspections. The department may not hire any humane society group or member to make inspections. The department must inspect pet breeder facilities before issuing the initial pet breeder license and applicants must pay a nonrefundable inspection fee.
Breeders must obtain a separate license for each location where they keep breeding animals.
The department may deny a license or renewal or revoke a license if a breeder is convicted of a crime involving animal cruelty, violation of the Commercial Pet Breeders Act or violent felony offenses or a felony punishable under the Oklahoma Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The board also may revoke or deny a license if a person’s license pursuant to the Animal Welfare Act was revoked or denied due to improper care of animals.
The measure also requires that breeders must report annually to the department the number of adult males and other information about the prior year’s operations. Breeders must also keep a health record for each animal that states inoculations and medications given.
If the State Board of Agriculture finds a breeder in violation of the act or rules created due to the act, the board may assess a penalty of between $100 and $10,000, with each animal, each action or each day being a violation. People can be fined up to $500 or up to $1,000 in addition depending upon the type of violation.
The measure also repeals the sections of law that previously established the Commercial Pet Breeders Act.
The bill has passed the house by a vote of 80 to 3 and has been reported Do Pass, amended by committee substitute from the Agriculture and Rural Development committee.
On their website The American Kennel Club stated "The American Kennel Club and our Oklahoma federation, the Oklahoma Animal Interest Alliance, both support the bill as an important step toward fair governmental oversight of dog breeders in Oklahoma. Dog breeders and owners throughout the Sooner State are strongly encouraged to contact their representatives and express their strong support of HB 2921."
The bill keeps the definition of "Commercial breeder" and "commercial pet breeder" as any individual, entity, association, trust, or corporation who possesses eleven or more adult intact female animals for the use of breeding or dealing in animals for direct or indirect sale or for exchange in return for consideration.
It also states that "Intact female animal" means a female animal at the second estrus cycle or one and one-half (1 1/2) years of age, whichever comes first and is capable of sexual reproduction.

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