Animal rights groups use the neglectful, often illegal, operations of breeders and kennel owners who maintain substandard kennel conditions to push for overbearing “puppy mill” legislation. This legislation affects all breeders and kennels and overlooks the fact that substandard kennels can often be addressed through the enforcement of existing laws. Responsible sportsmen and women fully support an end to any kind of negligent or abusive practices by substandard kennels.
Working with dogs is a cherished part of the hunting tradition. Sportsmen and women have a strong attachment to, and affinity for, their four-legged hunting partners and recognize that maintaining good care and conditions in hunting kennels is key to the well-being of their dogs and the success of their sport. Unfortunately, the relatively few breeders and kennel owners who maintain substandard kennel conditions create a blight that hurts the responsible kennel operators. Animal rights groups have used these neglectful, and often illegal, operations as a reason to push for overbearing “puppy mill” legislation that impacts all breeders, not just the illicit kennels.
Points of Interest
- Animal rights groups often support over-reaching proposals that systematically attempt to whittle away at hunters’ and breeders’ rights with subtle attacks on specific hunting interests, including hunting with dogs.
- Over the past eleven years, several states have proposed regulations that would make it nearly impossible for sportsmen to breed and raise packs of hounds and hunting dogs. Many other state legislatures have addressed or passed similar legislation that requires excessive kennel oversight, arbitrary limits on dog ownership and breeding, extensive daily record keeping, onerous kennel engineering requirements, and daily exercise requirements that do not include hunting or field trialing.
- Sportsmen’s rights and traditions are not being adequately considered in the formulation of legislation around the country that is attempting to reign in abusive commercial breeders.
- Where substandard kennels do exist, they can almost always be addressed through the enforcement of existing animal negligence and cruelty laws. This makes kennel oversight and similar laws unnecessary.
- Responsible sportsmen fully support an end to any kind of negligent or abusive practices by substandard kennels. In opposing unnecessary and overbearing kennel regulations, sportsmen are reaffirming their dedication to their dogs and preserving their right to responsibly breed dogs for sport – a freedom that animal rights activists seek to abolish through draconian legislation, emotional media campaigns and biased information.
- Legislation designed to regulate high volume dog breeders was introduced in the U.S. Congress in 2013– the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act (S. 395 and H.R. 847). PUPS sought to regulate high volume “breeder-retailers” by expanding federal regulation of breeders to include anyone who “has an ownership interest in or custody of one or more breeding female dogs” and “sells or offers for sale, via any means of conveyance, more than 50 of the offspring of such breeding female dogs for use as pets in any 1-year period.” This language does not take into consideration that it is a common practice among sportsmen, sporting dog trainers, and hunting clubs for dogs to be co-owned or for several people to have an “ownership interest” in a dog or several dogs. As a consequence, unsuspecting sportsmen who only keep a few dogs could be subject to commercial breeding regulations and property inspections as a result of their co-ownership relationships.
Although legislative attempts at regulating substandard kennels may be well-intended, it bears the potential to negatively impact law-abiding dog breeders and sportsmen. To ensure this proud part of our sporting heritage is not unfairly compromised, legislators should keep a watchful eye on future “puppy mill” legislation.