“Dog Breeding Standards/Law Enforcement Tools” House Bill #9 was filed today by Representatives Jason Saine, Jonathan Jordan, John Bradford, and Justin Moore. Sound familiar? Rep. Jason Saine has filed another Puppy Mill bill, opportunistically refiled this week in an extra legislative session (1st Extra Session convened this week to deal with disaster relief; 2nd Extra Session dealing with a variety of issues.)
HOUSE BILL #9: WHAT IS IT? This bill adds a section to North Carolina’s Animal Cruelty statute in Chapter 14 (this is the Criminal Law chapter of North Carolina statutes). If HB#9 passed, it would make it a crime to treat a dog “inhumanely”. As defined on page 1 of this bill in the Standards section, “inhumane treatment” is criminal behavior and is defined to include the following various actions & inactions:
If a dog is not exercised daily, you have committed a crime. (If you run your dog only three days per week, are you guilty? It appears that you would be guilty, because you do not give the dog access to daily exercise.)
If the dog does not daily receive fresh food and fresh water, you have committed a crime.
If you do not provide access to fresh food provided at appropriate intervals to maintain a healthy weight, you have committed a crime.
If you do not provide appropriate veterinary care, including routine and preventative care, you have committed a crime.
If you do not daily assess the dog’s overall health and behavior, you have committed a crime.
If your dog is not free from internal and external parasites, you have committed a crime because you have not provided preventative care sufficient to keep dogs free from internal and external parasites. (If your dog develops fleas and ticks or heart worms, this is evidence of your criminal conduct. Investigators could come on your property to check your dogs to gather evidence of your criminal behavior. Do you want criminal investigators from Animal Control coming on your property?)
If you do not protect your dogs from adverse or extreme weather conditions, you have committed a crime. (If you keep your dogs in unheated dog pens and it snows this winter, have you committed a crime? Is a snow storm adverse or extreme weather? Do you want to be arrested and go to Court to find out?)
If you do not provide lighting that provides a regular lighting cycle for the dog, you have committed a crime.
Rep. Saine underestimates the dangerous nature of the animal rights agenda. All four of the bill sponsors are from Mecklenburg County or close by in the Piedmont. We find our urban friends confuse their local humane societies with the HSUS. We are already working with several newly elected legislators from urbans districts to alert them to the dangerous agenda of the national HSUS. North Carolina’s number #1 industry is agriculture. HSUS opposes the ownership and selective breeding of animals, including farm animals raised to feed our populations. We must not give place to the animal rights agenda at any level. The Puppy Mill bill would give them a foothold in the arena of dog ownership.
Since 2004, NC Sporting Dog Association has being battling animal rights activists in North Carolina, including Humane Society of the US (HSUS) and PETA. We discovered the depth of their hostility toward animal ownership, selective breeding, hunting, and animal husbandry. Animal rights radicals believe animals have rights equal to human rights, and, further, should not be owned or selectively bred by human beings. ARs oppose hunting, breeding dogs, eating meat, and raising hogs. These people do NOT represent mainstream opinion in North Carolina. Animal rights radicals are a tiny minority, but they spend large amounts of money on lobbying. Through generous contributions, they gain the confidence of certain legislators and persuade them to sponsor Puppy Mill bills to “cure the crisis” of puppy mills. The truth is there is NO such crisis and never has been any such crisis. North Carolina has strong animal cruelty laws. Hoarders and abusers are prosecuted under existing laws. In every state in which HSUS seeks to pass a Puppy Mill bill, they routinely portray that particular state as having a “puppy mill crisis” or being the “worst state in the nation” for puppy mills.
The worst danger of HB#9 is the government gets into the business of telling us how to care for our own animals. We do not need the government to tell us how to care for our dogs.
First example of defining ordinary behavior as criminal: HB#9 requires “preventative care sufficient to keep dogs free from internal and external parasites”, Section 1, (a) (7) on page one. Therefore, if your dog has fleas, you have committed a crime.
Second example of defining ordinary behavior as criminal: Under Section 1(a) (3) if someone decides your hunting dog is too thin, you could be charged with a crime. What happens if an unknown lady picks up your hunting dog from the roadside, and reports you to criminal authorities because she says your dog is too thin? What if an Animal Control Officer tells you to stop hunting a dog because he thinks your dog has gotten too thin? Do you want law enforcement telling you how to treat your hunting dogs? NO! HB#9 would grant excessive power over the individual citizen. We have sufficient criminal laws to punish animal hoarders and abusers. Many of the problems with this language is that the standards that are incorporated into this bill are lifted from AKC standards for dogs that are bred and cared for in preparation for dog shows. Those dog show standards were never meant to be applied to define criminal conduct. The result would be a travesty if such a criminal statute were passed. In the hands of people who oppose dog ownership, such a criminal statute would be an offensive weapon used to oppress dog owners.
DOES HB#9 CONTAIN AN EXEMPTION FOR HUNTING DOGS? Yes, bill sponsors will say not worry, as hunting dogs are “exempt”. Section 1(e) states “This section does not apply to kennels or boarding facilities in which the majority of the dogs are (1) Being bred or trained primarily for hunting, sporting, field trials, or show; (2) Being maintained primarily for hunting, sporting, field trials, or show; or (3) Kept primarily for purposes other than the sale of offspring as pets.” Sound legal? Yes. Does it protect you? NO!
There are several reasons this exemption language provides no protection. First, suppose the bill were to pass this month. The exemption could be stripped away next month when the 2017 Legislature convenes. “Easy come, easy go.” If HB#9 were to pass, animal rights radicals would return next session to work to remove or weaken the exemption. Often, their approach is to weaken protections step by step until the protection becomes meaningless. Do not trust this weak effort to please everyone. We know “exemptions” can be quietly removed, when no one is paying attention. As citizens, we can demand our property rights be protected now and always. We must defeat the bill now.
Second, the “exemption” is a weak exemption, and is intended to be weak. To keep a great bloodline going, you choose the best. You may sell the lesser dogs as pets. Therefore, you are subject to this bill. HB#9 will apply to you.
A few legislators have expressed the sentiment, “You are exempt. So shut up and don’t worry about it.” They do not speak these exact words, but their attitude becomes apparent as we discuss the issue at length. We cannot accept this attitude. Our only solution is to defeat House Bill #9 (again). The bill was filed on Wednesday, December 14, 2016. We must act now.
Please help protect all dog hunters and dog breeders in North Carolina. Our strongest allies are in the NC Senate, where all the prior Puppy Mill bills have been stopped in prior years. The best strategy is to work to stop the bill in the NC Senate. Please contact these important Senate Leaders and ask them to stop House Bill#9:
1. President Pro Tem Phil Berger: Legislative Office (919) 733-5708; email firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Senator Bill Rabon: Legislative Office (919) 733-5963; email@example.com
3. Senator Tommy Tucker: Legislative Office (919) 733-7659; firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Your Senator (check for the identity and contact information of your Senator here: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/members/reports/countyRepresentation.pl?Chamber=Senate
Punish the Crime, not the Freedom