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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Puppy Mill Action Week: Email Template

I thought I'd post a template of the letter I sent to my district representatives, just in case any of you are inclined to do the same.  Using the template is easy and fast; just be sure you adjust the references to the bill name and authors/co-authors accordingly!

Thanks for your support!


As 2009 draws to a close and a new legislative session quickly approaches, I would like to call to your attention a bill, likenesses of which have already passed in 31 states (including our neighbor, Wisconsin, enacted yesterday), that affects many lives in the state of Minnesota: H.F. 253.  Unfortunately, this bill did not pass in the 2009 session, but I am certain your support will help make it a success—and a win for Minnesota’s pets—in 2010.

As you may already know, H.F. 253 is the “First Engrossment, Puppy and Kitten Mill Bill” written by Tom Tillberry and co-authored by your fellow district representative Frank Hornstein.  The bill calls for the regulation of puppy mills in the state Minnesota, requiring commercial breeders (breeders who own twenty or more intact animals with the intention of selling their puppies for profit) to be licensed with the state and subject to the Standards for Care of Dogs and Cats already enacted as well as new standards regarding socialization and identification of animals created specifically for the unique circumstances within a puppy mill.  Under the bill, the Board of Animal Health would act as the governing body, overseeing inspections of the mills and receiving funding through licensing and registration fees.

Opposition to this bill and its sister bill, S.F. 7, claim that state and federal laws already enacted are enough to monitor the treatment of animals in puppy mills.  While a good start, the current laws are not adequate.  The Standards for Care of Dogs and Cats mentioned above is not enforceable due to the lack of laws allowing state inspectors to survey and penalize puppy mills for violating its principles.  Worse, the order itself claims to only be “suggestions and recommendations,” not law.  The Standards for Care do not hold commercial breeders accountable for the treatment of animals under their care.  Animal cruelty laws apply only “after-the-fact”; that is, only after the abuse has occurred.  Abuse happens on such a large scale at puppy mills that prevention would be best way to combat animal cruelty—licensing and inspections would stop the cruelty before it has a chance to happen.

Some folks also believe that the Animal Welfare Act provides adequate protection to puppy mill animals, especially because it “requires that minimum standards of care and treatment be provided for certain animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public” through inspections by the USDA.  The sad truth is that puppies are increasingly being sold through newspapers, in parking lots, and most concerning, over the internet (a situation the legislators who wrote the bill in 1966 certainly could not have anticipated).  This creates a wide loophole for breeders to bypass the standards in the Animal Welfare Act, creating a large industry that, in Minnesota, is unregulated and accountable to no one.

As a resident of Minnesota, I am ashamed that my state, which values its connection to the environment and its history of animal husbandry and care for animals of all sorts, is a haven for such outrageous animal abuse.  Please consider the facts surrounding H.F. 253 and support the regulation of the cruel puppy mill industry 

Remember: We must advocate for the animals because they cannot advocate for themselves.      

Thank you for your consideration.


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