Tuesday, July 27, 2010

PAWS bill in House and Senate

The full text of the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety Act, Senate form, is available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:SN03424:@@@P. Enjoy. It's an exercise for logicians. I mean, the exercise parts seem reasonable though unenforceable, seeing as we don't have enough USDA employees to inspect our slaughterhouses, never mind trying to determine the appropriate amount of exercise for a Pekingese. The weird part is the beginning, defining a high-operations breeder as someone who produces more than 50 puppies a year for sale as pets AND owns at least one intact bitch over the age of four months.

So, if you own an intact bitch over four months (personally I don't like to spay that young) but produce fewer than 50 puppies per year by her (oof!), you should be fine. Likewise, if you don't own even part of a reproductive bitch but successfully pull more than 50 puppies out of a hat, you're fine. Presumably that last is meant to put rescue operations in the clear. However, also, if you produce more than 50 puppies but they're not being sold as pets -- work, say, or show prospects -- it sounds like you're still in the clear. Since anyone can claim they're producing working or show prospects, this pretty much defangs whatever is left of the bill. It's in large part a dead damn waste of ink and time. The only real hazard in it for most respectable breeders is for those who take the extra care of their dogs to co-own them, which can increase the number of puppies you produce in a most unfair manner if you co-own ten of your dogs for their own safety.

Now, if we were funding the USDA to actually enforce the already existing animal welfare laws and giving them the artillery necessary to go after Joe Redneck's huge and heavily-guarded chicken-wire puppy mill operation once they're done cleaning up our food supply, that would be great. As it is, this bill makes a lot of mild-mannered law-abiding retirement-age dog fanciers who adore their critters very nervous and accomplishes very little else. It also, incidentally, completely overlooks catteries.

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