February 16, 2021, a bill was introduced in the California Assembly to regulate all who breed a dog in the state.
Assembly Bill 702 was eligible to be scheduled for a committee hearing beginning March 19. No hearing is currently scheduled. However, this is an opportunity for all who breed dogs and those who purchase their dogs from responsible breeders in the state to join the AKC in respectfully reaching out to the sponsor and your own Member of the Assembly to express your concerns and to educate them on the negative impact this could have on responsible breeders in the state. Scroll down for contact information.
As introduced, Assembly Bill 702 creates an unfunded mandate requiring local jurisdictions in California to issue a breeder permit to anyone who owns an intact dog “for the purposes of breeding”. See key points of the bill below. Everyone who owns intact dogs or breeds dogs in California is encouraged to read the short bill in its entirety to understand its impact.
Who would be required to obtain a permit?
A permit would be required for any person who owns, possesses, or harbors an unaltered dog or cat for the purpose of breeding. It is assumed this would include stud dogs and dogs being kept temporarily for breeding.
How much will it cost?
The cost will be determined by individual jurisdictions. The bill states the cost may not exceed “reasonable costs of administering” the program. The state does not provide funding to localities for implementing or enforcing the measure, but allows them to raise funds through fees, etc. to do so.
What is required to get a permit?
When applying for a breeder permit, an applicant must provide extensive information, including:
– “A complete description of the nature and extent of the breeding to be conducted”, although it is unclear what this would entail.
– A statement that the applicant owns the dogs and that there are no other owners. If the applicant is not the owner, they must have written statements from the owners providing authorization to breed the dog. It is assumed this would also apply to co-ownership situations.
– Evidence that the dam to be bred is between two and seven years of age. AKC opposes this arbitrary provision, as the appropriate age for breeding can vary widely between breeds and individual dogs.
– Any other information required by the jurisdiction issuing the permit. This provides for more onerous and unnecessary regulations on breeders that could vary in each jurisdiction.
Are there other requirements?
In addition to the application, a breeder must provide “sufficient proof” (as defined by each jurisdiction) of such items as:
– A local business license and federal and state tax number. This is inappropriate for hobbyists raising animals in their private homes, particularly those who breed only an occasional litter.
– Proof of an adequate shelter, including access to an enclosed yard or other open outdoor space. It is unclear how this would be enforced in urban areas.
– Proof that no offspring have been sold until they are 8 weeks old and have been vaccinated against “common diseases”. It is unclear if this would include vaccines which are not given at 8 weeks of age.
According to messaging put out by supporters, this bill is intended to prevent irresponsible breeding in the state and help with shelter population concerns. AKC agrees that no dog should be kept in conditions where they are not safe and basic needs are not met. However, this bill will not address those issues and provides unnecessary and burdensome requirements on responsible breeders – and local jurisdictions.
In fact, animal shelter populations in California have been steadily decreasing over the last decade, and many California shelters are importing dogs into the state for California consumers. For example, in Los Angeles County alone, shelter populations declined by more than 10,000 from 2014 to 2019, according to the NAIA Shelter Statistics project ( Visit https://shelterproject.naiaonline.org/for more information). Moreover, new state laws effective last year required pet shops to source pets only from shelters and rescues. This has further increased placement demand for shelter populations.
The breeding of dogs by small hobby breeders has traditionally been considered a residential enterprise. Many hobby breeders live in residential areas where business licenses are unavailable or operating a business as defined in this bill would force them out of compliance with HOA or other local requirements.
Even as demand is rising for pets, this proposal would reduce sources of responsibly-bred pets for Californians, disproportionately harming those who do not have the resources to travel out of state to obtain a quality puppy.
When contacting the author and your Assemblyperson, consider the following:
– What steps do you take when breeding a litter to ensure the health of the mother and the puppies?
– What do you do when selling a puppy (do you offer a contract, etc.)? What do you do to make sure dogs do not end up in shelters?
– Review AKC resources on the value of responsible breeders and breeder licensing at www.akcgr.org/breederregs
– Current law that provides consumer protection provisions for all those who sell all or part of 3 or more litters should be considered and examined before expanding law to breeder permits. View AKC’s key issue page at www.akcgr.org/consumerprotection for more information and model legislation.
– The proposed measure, as introduced, will be extremely difficult for communities to enforce and it will divert scarce resources oversight from enforcement of serious animal issues such as true animal cruelty. Responsible, law-abiding hobby breeders will be harmed by the measure, while irresponsible individuals already in violation of the laws are unlikely to comply with the law.
What You Can Do:
As stated above, this is an opportunity to educate lawmakers on this issue and the negative impact it could have on responsible breeders in the state.
Those who wish are encouraged to respectfully do the following:
Contact Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, author of AB 702. Let him know you are a responsible breeder in California and respectfully ask that he not allow this bill to move forward. If you live in his district in Los Angeles, be sure to mention that when contacting his office:
Sacramento Office Phone: (916) 319-2053
Los Angeles District Office Phone: (213) 620-4646
Contact your Assembly Member. To locate the information on your State Assembly Member and Senator click here http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/ Let them know you are a constituent and express your concerns with this bill. Visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center at www.akcgr.org and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find the name and contact information for your State Assemblyperson.
AKC continues to closely monitor this bill and communicate with California lawmakers. More information will be provided as it is available. For questions, contact AKC Government Relations at www.akcgr.org.
Below is a sample letter, crafted by PWDCNC member Julie Conger, that you can use to reach out to Assembly Member Santiago and your Assembly Member. You may use as-is or modify with your own thoughts. Thank you Julie for preparing this for our members’ ease in contacting their Assembly Members!
To my Assemblyperson and/or Senator:
I am writing to urge you to oppose AB 702, which would impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations upon responsible breeders. I am the owner of a purebred Portuguese Water Dog and am personally familiar with the requirements imposed by Portuguese Water Dog Club of America, the American Kennel Club and local authorities that ensure the health, comfort and safety of dogs bred by local breeders.
The PWDCA Code of Ethics for breeders requires extensive health and genetic testing of the dogs, contracts which ensure return of unwanted pups to the breeder, and a spay/neuter commitment unless separate breeding agreements are generated. In addition, the American Kennel Club has field agents who do periodic location checks on breeders and kennels to ensure well-being of the animals, proper record-keeping and cleanliness of the premises. The requirement of a business license would be superfluous and onerous given the regulations already in existence.
I look forward to your response and your assurance that you will be opposing this legislation. The effect of this bill would be that responsible breeders would be put out of business and that offenders would ignore it.