Saturday, June 30, 2012

AB 1939 - Puppy licensing, seller sales reporting

Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development
Capital, Room 2053
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: 916-324-0917
June 28, 2012
Re: AB 1939 (Pan) Dog licensing: issuance: puppy licenses: (as amended June 19, 2012):
OPPOSE. Request to be listed in official opposition.
Dear Senator Price and Committee Members,
The California Federation of Dog Clubs, founded in 1990, represents thousands of dog owners across our state. We are advocates for animal welfare and for protecting the rights of responsible dog owners. The CFoDC conducts breed identification workshops for shelter workers, distributes a dog care and training brochure for new owners who adopt from shelters, and provides a toll-free help line for pet owners struggling with behavior or training problems. We also maintain and administer a relief fund for animals affected by disasters such as earthquakes or fires. CFoDC supports animal legislation with positive benefits to society.
The CFoDC is OPPOSED to AB 1939. This bill mandates reporting of pet sales to the local licensing agency by pet stores, breeders and rescue groups. AB 1939 also contains provisions for puppy licensing. There will be additional license levels and confusion with the puppy provisions. In addition, differential license fees based on age or reproductive status unreasonably penalize responsible owners of intact, mature animals.
The license fee discount is only offered for puppies under the age of six months, and expires at the age of one year. Owners in certain areas (such as  heavily populated Los Angeles), will discover only too late that they will face mandatory, unnecessary and costly sterilization surgery, or else pay an exorbitant intact license fee for their dog (currently $335 yearly per dog in the City of Los Angeles), once the puppy license expires. This hardship will cause an increase in shelter relinquishments by low- and fixed-income families.
Only puppies who are microchipped qualify for the puppy discount license; however, microchipping itself is an effective measure to facilitate return to owner in case of a lost dog. A license may not provide any additional benefits to the microchipped dog. Microchip information is registered with independent agencies and does not need be tracked by government. Reporting of private matters such as animal ownership information or microchip data will only foster further distrust of government and result in decreased compliance with critically important rabies control programs.
Most veterinarians in our state are required to report any dogs vaccinated for rabies to local licensing authorities. The reporting requirement in this bill is duplicative, creating another bureaucratic layer in animal control with increased costs to local governments. Additionally, there is no reason for a puppy too young for rabies vaccination to be licensed. The sole original purpose for dog licensing was to protect public health through enforcement of canine rabies vaccination requirements.
Rescue groups operate on limited budgets and rely on unpaid volunteers. The burdensome recordkeeping and reporting requirements contained in AB 1939 would seriously compromise the activities of rescue organizations. Fewer animals will be rescued from local shelters, and local governments will find their animal control budget swelling as they will need to house and feed more animals for extended stays. A recent exemption was written in for rescues; however, only the smallest of rescue groups (those who place less than 20 pets per year) would be exempt. An exemption for the smallest and least efficient rescue groups is counterproductive. It discourages rescue groups from saving lives. More animals will be left to die in our shelters.
Bearing in mind that our state has the worst budget crisis in history, it seems ludicrous that we would now prioritize precious resources to implement additional bureaucratic red tape in the tracking of dogs. More money will be needed to ensure compliance; money for advertising, money for tracking and paperwork, and money for more employees needed for enforcement. This will only add to the city/county budget woes.
We urge you to reject AB 1939.
Sincerely yours,
Geneva Coats, R.N.
California Federation of Dog Clubs
CC: Curren Price, Bill Emmerson, Ellen Corbett, Lou Correa, Ed Hernandez, Gloria Negrete McLeod, Tony Strickland, Juan Vargas, Mark Wyland, Bill Gage, G.V. Ayers, S. Mason, K. Sullivan,

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