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Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2009

October 23rd, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Bill Seeks to Ensure that Dogs and Cats Used by Animal Research Facilities are Obtained Legally

Representative Michale Doyle (D-PA) has introduced the Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2009 (H.R. 3907).  The measure would amend the Animal Welfare Act to ensure that all dogs and cats used by research facilities are obtained legally.

Dogs and Cats Used by Research Facilities Must be Obtained Legally

Dogs and Cats Used by Research Facilities Must be Obtained Legally

Dogs and Cats Used for Animal Research or Educational Purposes

The new law would specify the sources from which research facilities, including federal research facilities, may obtain dogs and cats for “research or educational purposes.”  Under the Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2009, a research facility may obtain dogs and cats for research and educational purposes only from:

  • A licensed dealer who bred and raised the dog or cat.
  • A registered public shelter or pound that is otherwise in compliance with federal regulations and that obtained the animal from its legal owner, other than another pound or shelter.
  • The legal owner of the dog or cat, if the owner is donating the animal and if the owner bred and raised the dog ro cat, or if the owner has owned the animal for at least one year.
  • A federally licensed research facility.

Nothing in the measure would require a pound or shelter to sell, donate, or offer a dog or cat to a research facility.  The bill would carry a fine of $1,000 for each violation in addition to any other applicable penalty.

What Does the Pet Safety and Protection Act Mean?

As a practical matter, the Pet Safety and Protection Act would prohibit “Class B” dealers and unlicensed individuals from selling dogs and cats to research laboratories.  According to an urgent alert issued by the ASPCA:

Class B Dealers are people who collect dogs and cats to sell to the research industry.  They sometimes obtain their animals through illegal or unethical means, such as by responding to “free to good home” ads in newspapers, falsifying records to keep the true origins of the animals unknown and stealing pets kept outside in yards.  They also buy animals in bulk from “bunchers,” whose methods are even more questionable.

Eliminating Class B dealers would take away the profit motive from “bunchers” and ensure that pets are not stolen or acquired under false pretenses and sold to facilities that conduct laboratory tests on animals.

What’s Next for the Pet Safety and Protection Act?

The measure was introduced in the House on October 22, and has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.  It amends the Animal Welfare Act which was put in place with the stated purpose of insuring “that animals intended for use in research facilities or for exhibition purposes or for use as pets are provided humane care and treatment.”

In the meantime, the ASPCA is urging concerned citizens to contact their senators and representatives in Congress and ask them to support and co-sponsor the bill.

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