OCTOBER, 2009

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Dog Federation of New York
Albany: Ag & Mkts hosts “Pet Dealer Focus Group” meetings
On Wednesday, Oct. 21 the first in a projected series of meetings took place in Albany under the auspices of the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets. DFNY was invited to attend, and following are highlights of the 2 hour meeting. Also present were representatives from NY Houndsmen, Assoc. Dog Clubs of NY, ASPCA, NYS Humane Assoc., Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, PIJAC, NY Farm Bureau, NY Masters of Fox Hounds, HSUS, and the NYS Vet. Medicine Assoc. Background information The meeting began with a review of the current pet dealer regulations, which went into effect in 2000. The Department noted that at the time the pet dealer program was enacted, $7 - 800,000 was the estimated cost for administering the program, but that in reality the program receives $2 - 300,000 annually for enforcement. The $100/year that each pet dealer pays in licensing fees is no where near adequate to fund the program, yet Gov. Paterson wants the program to be self-sufficient. Ag & Mkts spokespeople explained that the program employs 20 inspectors. They are licensed veterinary technicians supervised by veterinarians working for Ag & Mkts. The inspectors are assigned regionally throughout NY, inspections are done upon application for a pet dealer license, and annually thereafter. "Special inspections" are done on complaint. For 2009 YTD there have been 360 inspections. Of these, 85 were triggered by complaints, 154 were reinspections and 43 were new applicants. Inspectors note "general deficiencies" which are not lifethreatening (generally, sanitation issues), and give the pet dealer 30 days to correct the problem. Inspectors also note "critical deficiencies" which threaten health and safety, and give pet dealers five days to correct them. Pet dealers are then re-inspected after 30 (or five) days to make sure that the problems have been addressed. Ag & Mkts’ primary concern . The Department's biggest issue is that it is difficult to document the number of animals an individual sells or offers for sale. Current NYS law defines “pet dealers” by the number of animals they sell or offer for sale and Ag and Mkts monitors websites and publications for advertisements. Because people selling puppies no longer advertise a specific number of dogs for sale, the Department believes that individuals and enterprises that should be licensed and regulated as pet dealers are falling through the cracks. Additional concerns, proposed remedies

Dog-friendl y, dog- safe communities for all New Yorkers

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P O Box 547, Rhinebeck, NY 12572 DogFedNY@aol.com

OCTOBER 2009

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Dog Federation of New York
(continues from page one)

Ag and Mkt spokespeople then described several additional concerns within the Department:

As a remedy, the Department would like all pet dealers to be required to authorize their vets to release veterinary records on all animals for sale so that the Department can verify that a specific animal is under a vet's care and receiving appropriate treatment. Lack of socialization and exercise Current regulations require that dogs' primary enclosure allow the animals to fully extend limbs and turn around. The Department wants the minimum amount of space provided to each dog doubled -- so that crates would need to be twice as long as the dog measures (nose to tail). Need for “stop sale orders” License revocation is a lengthy process and in the meantime a pet dealer may continue to sell animals. The Department wants to be able to stop sales of pets pending license revocation proceedings. Changes to "pet dealer" definition
Because Ag & Mkts finds it difficult to determine the number of dogs sold or offered for sale, the Department wants the number of breeding (intact) females to determine whether an individual or enterprise qualifies as a pet dealer. Using the USDA guidelines as a model, the Department proposes more than 3 intact females, or selling or offering for sale more than 13 dogs annually, as a threshold. Additional comment

Sick animals may be treated without veterinary supervision
Currently, if a sick or injured dog is identified during inspection, the pet dealer is required to obtain veterinary care for the animal. The Department finds, however, that upon reinspection the pet dealer may provide (for example) a bottle of antibiotics as evidence of appropriate care for the injured/sick animal, but they are not required to document that the animal actually saw a vet or that the antibiotic was prescribed by a vet for that particular illness or injury.

Puppies! What would the world be without them?

Ag & Mkts identifies dog licensing data -- including "purebred” license records -- as a tool to identify the owners of intact dogs.

DFNY believes that it is inappropriate and counterproductive to require home, hobby, and sports dog breeders to comply with regulations modeled on USDA commercial licensing standards.

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P O Box 547, Rhinebeck, NY 12572 DogFedNY@aol.com

OCTOBER 2009

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Dog Federation of New York
Dog Federation of NY expresses deep concern
Inappropriate standards
While DFNY wholeheartedly supports and commends the NYS Department of Agriculture and Market’s commitment to the health and welfare of animals, and appreciates the opportunity to discuss these items with Department spokespeople, we believe that it is inappropriate and counterproductive to require home, hobby, and sports dog breeders to comply with regulations modeled on USDA commercial license standards. For example, guidelines for pet dealer standards of care now circulated by Ag and Mkts require animals to be housed in “primary enclosures or cages.” The “primary enclosure” surfaces—presumably the floors, ceilings and walls of a room or rooms if a dog is living in a home as a family member—must be “impervious.” Guidelines require surfaces that are “non-porous, durable and easy to maintain. . .Surfaces must withstand scrubbing with detergents and disinfectants. . .[and] withstand the impact of water under pressure, if necessary.” Clearly, these guidelines and underlying law were not written for raising dogs in a home environment. Current legislation Ag and Mkts advises that no legislative proposal has yet been drafted in response to their concerns, yet DFNY identifies components of several existing bills now before the state legislature that are consistent with the Department’s recommendations. For example, under proposed NY A7983/S4961 (Paulin/Oppenheimer) pet dealers include anyone with custody of more than four intact female dogs over the age of six months. Additionally, under the Paulin/Oppenheimer proposal pet dealers are required to authorize the blanket release of all veterinary records for all animals in their care to the Department or its authorized agents as well as comply with a host of new requirements and regulations. Keeping New York dog-friendly and dog-safe We believe that locally bred, locally raised dogs are an excellent choice for New Yorkers who would like to acquire a pet or working companion, and we are deeply concerned by legislation that curtails or prohibits lawful, humane breeding and animal husbandry practices. DFNY looks forward to collaborating with the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and other caring, responsible dog owners to find workable, reasonable solutions to the concerns we all share. Help DFNY help you The Dog Federation of New York welcomes individual dog owners and dog-related clubs and organizations. A New York State not-for-profit, we are the only organization focused on laws and legal issues impacting responsible New York dog owners, and we advocate for strong, humane legislation. Visit our website, download an application, and join us today!

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© Dog Federation of New York 2009