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North Carolina: Anti-Hunting Bill Takes a Step Forward in Raleigh

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Please Contact Your State Senator!

Senate Bill 460, legislation promoted by the radical anti-hunting Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), was passed by the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday, June 30, by a controversial, “secret” vote. 

The vote was controversial and “secret” because a voice vote was called, and many Senators believed it had failed.  Before anyone had a chance to ask for a vote count, State Senator Clark Jenkins (D-3) ruled from the chair that the vote was successful, then quickly adjourned the meeting.  Normally, when a voice vote is even remotely close, a senator may ask for “division,” which means the votes for and against are actually counted, usually by hand.  But not in this case.  Two possible reasons for such a quick adjournment are either Senator Jenkins did not think a counted vote would yield the same result, or he was trying to protect certain Senators from having their positions publicly recorded.  Whatever the reason, the result left many who attended the meeting both stunned and upset.  After all, the meeting was packed with citizens opposed to the bill, who far outnumbered supporters.

S 460 is yet another bill actively supported by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), and intended to put dog breeders and kennel owners out of business. It would also likely have a dramatic impact on those who use dogs when hunting.  The legislation is both dangerous and unnecessary, as existing laws are already available to address the cruel treatment of dogs.  People who mistreat dogs can be, and are being, prosecuted under these laws.  S 460 is simply a deeply flawed, unnecessary bill, which has at its heart the anti-hunting, anti-dog breeder agenda of HSUS.  For more information in this bill, and the goals of HSUS on this issue, please see below.

The Senate Finance Committee reported SB 460 out of committee, and it is now scheduled for a floor vote on July 8Please contact members of that committee and let them know how disappointed you are with Tuesday’s results, and that you would like to know how they voted.  To contact the members of the committee, please click here.  Please also contact your State Senator and urge him or her to oppose SB 460 when it is brought up for consideration on the Senate floor. To contact your Senator, please click here.

Humane Society of the United States goal to end all dog breeding:
SB 460 is part of an HSUS scheme to drive dog breeders out of business, and it could seriously impact kennel owners, those who hunt using dogs, as well as countless other dog lovers.  HSUS has clearly stated its vehement opposition to all dog breeders, not just the so-called “puppy mills” it likes to claim are the target of this bill and countless other bills it is promoting nationwide.  The HSUS website proudly proclaims, “There’s no need for anyone to patronize a pet store or a breeder.”  Hunters who use specific breeds of dogs that are best suited for their particular hunting activities would disagree.  If HSUS is successful in driving breeders out of business with bills like SB 460, good luck trying to find dogs bred for your hunting purposes.  And if you do, get ready to spend several times what you used to spend.  The market almost always dictates that when supplies go down, prices go up.

Not only will SB 460 have a dramatically negative impact on those who hunt using dogs, but it will do little, if anything, to improve what HSUS claims is a problem in North Carolina.  According to HSUS, so-called “puppy mills” -- really, all dog breeders, from the group’s twisted perspective -- have “overcrowded and cruel” conditions.  And while there may be a few operations where such a description may apply, those facilities will likely remain unaffected.  SB 460 requires “commercial dog breeders” to be licensed, then subject to regulations and inspections.  But if you operate a facility that has “overcrowded and cruel” conditions, you likely know this is the case, and simply would not apply for a license.  No license means no regulations and no periodic inspections.  In other words, the same laws that are currently on the books to target true animal cruelty are the only ones that would apply to investigating an unlicensed “commercial dog breeder.”

On the other hand, those responsible dog breeders (which are the vast majority of them) that do comply with the licensing requirement, should SB 460 become law, may find themselves regulated out of business.  The bill states that certain standards must be met, but does not spell them out.  Instead, it allows a bureaucratic rules process for setting the standards, using vague, subjective terms for stating what those standards will be.  The terms “adequate” and “appropriate” are used, which have widely different meanings, depending on the application and who is doing the applying. You can bet HSUS operatives will try to influence the rules process to implement the most draconian rules possible in order to promote its anti-breeder agenda.

And the ultimate insult of this bill is that it may lead to truly cruel treatment of dogs—euthanizing happy, healthy dogs.  The bill states:

“Animals found in the possession or custody of an unlicensed commercial breeder who has been convicted of acting as an unlicensed commercial breeder within the past five years shall be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment and upon conviction of the unlicensed commercial breeder, shall become subject to sale or euthanasia in the discretion of the Director.” 

In other words, people who do not consider themselves “commercial breeders” could have their animals seized and put to death if it is determined they should have been licensed previously.  Someone who was found not in compliance with the law once, thought they had taken the steps necessary to get in compliance without having to become a “licensed commercial breeder,” but were subsequently found to still not be in compliance, could have their animals seized.  If you consider that the care given these animals could easily exceed the arbitrary standards that may be established under SB 460, this bill will create situations where healthy, happy animals are taken from their caring owners, and then destroyed.  Animals can be killed simply because caring owners don’t fully understand this arbitrary licensing scheme.

Finally, with the North Carolina General Assembly mired in debate over budget shortfalls, and discussing cutbacks on programs that affect countless North Carolinians, should the North Carolina Senate really be considering a new program that will cost money the state doesn’t have to spend?

Existing laws are already available to address the cruel treatment of dogs.  People who mistreat dogs can be, and are being, prosecuted under these laws.  SB 460 is simply a deeply flawed, unnecessary bill, which has at its heart the anti-hunting, anti-dog breeder agenda of HSUS.

The Senate Finance Committee reported SB 460 out of committee, and it is now scheduled for a floor vote on July 8Please contact members of that committee and let them know how disappointed you are with Tuesday’s results, and that you would like to know how they voted.  To contact the members of the committee, please click
here.  Please also contact your State Senator and urge him or her to oppose SB 460 when it is brought up for consideration on the Senate floor. To contact your Senator, please click here.

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