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chel ethun

83 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2007 :  08:56:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
ON BEHALF OF EVERYONE- THANK YOU TO AUGUST, GAIL AND FRANK MOE FOR YOUR TIME AND EFFORT. I agree with Cliff, we need to rally more often. Good luck today and thanks for taking our sport on your shoulders.
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1081 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2007 :  10:52:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit THZSteele's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Good luck in your meeting today...I emailed Sen Tony Lourey this morning...though I live in Washington State I don't wanna see this stuff happen giving our legslature any bright is a copy of what i sent...

Dear Mr. Lourey,

My name is Tim McElravy and I live in Washington State. I am writing you today at the request of my friends and fellow dog mushers who live in your state. I fear that the proposed legislation your state legislature is considering (S.F. No.121) could have a ripple affect onto other states like mine. I would ask you and your fellow lawmakers to please reconsider such a bill and/or to make certain provisions that would allow other responsible dog mushers and sporting dog enthusiasts to continue operating their kennels. Their are several races held annually in your state that attract mushers like myself to travel and participate in them. These race are important to us and we do have an impact of the local tourism in the towns these races are held in. If this bill were passed into law this could have an affect on those races. We'll be following the progress of this bill from afar and hope you will take into consideration how this law will affect those of us who love the sport and industry of mushing so much. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Tim McElravy
Leavenworth, WA

Edited by - THZSteele on 01/22/2007 10:53:45 AM
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Jake Robinson

773 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2007 :  9:03:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Representative Frank Moe, who represents the Bemidji area and is a musher himself, is aware of the bill and the adverse affects it would have on sled dog kennels. Along with your own legislature, contact Frank with your concerns about this legislation.

Do it by dog,
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197 Posts

Posted - 01/22/2007 :  10:04:41 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
This bill is listed as having been "withdrawn and referred to" your MN Agriculture and Veterans Committee today -

Sounds like you folks have a little breathing room temporarily, so of course I'm gonna take advantage and pipe in for a lecture.

What you're seeing in MN has been going on in spades EVERYWHERE. Most of us who have been hit by it or have direct experience call it Animal Rights or AR inspired law. Anti-pet law works too, tho I'm sure many of you consider yourselves a little beyond just pet owners. Doesn't matter. The goal of the extremist and exceedingly well funded and politically adept animal rights movement is the ELIMINATION OF ANIMAL OWNERSHIP. Period. They don't care if you own animals because "FiFi" is cute and keeps your feet warm at night, for performance reasons, or even for service reasons as in service dogs for the disabled. You're all infidels and AR tends to hate all people anyway at the core. They've been chipping away at ALL animal owners a little bit at a time for years behind the scenes in our legislative assemblies and now they're coming on hard and strong.

You can lobby for special exclusions for your sled dogs, but the problem with special exclusions applied to what is BAD law in ALL respects is that those exclusions are easily stricken the next year, or the year after that, or until NOBODY can own or breed a dog. Doggone, huh?

And what about those animal owners that you didn't think about or stand shoulder to shoulder with to fight the BAD law? Maybe they got the shaft while you as mushers won your exclusion. So who's there to stand up for you when mushers LOSE their exclusion?

Animal or dog owners have to lose ALL of the "us" and "them" mentality. AR wants all forms of animal ownership GONE. First they wrap up a pretty package claiming to go after "puppy mills", a little "anti-tether" since the natives need to wear shoes, then they turn hobby breeders into "dealers", and somewhere in there a bill for mandatory spay neuter (MSN) of everything comes along. AR loves it and it's only a matter of time before someone is pointing a "puppy mill" or "irresponsible breeder/owner" finger at YOU. Is it up to our legislators to codify what activities "responsible breeders" or "responsible owners" engage in with their dogs? Or is it up to our legislators to ensure that we have FAIR OBJECTIVE language defining what is ADEQUATE CARE of our dogs, no matter what activities they perform in or if they don't do anything at all?

I'm sorry if what I'm saying seems unduly harsh, but EVERYONE who loves their dogs and doesn't wish to have them legislated right out from under them needs to get up to speed fast and stand as ONE with every animal owner willing to fight to keep their critters. I used to think "those bad puppy mills" or "those rotten backyard breeders" in my rescue days. Heck, before I tried tethering my dogs, I would've believed that all tethered dogs were poor mistreated creatures like on that awful "DogsDeserveBetter" site. AR eats it up and plays it for all it's worth, straight to our legislators' offices in a pretty "save the animals" package wrapped in a bow! Does it "save animals"? Heck no. It's all a BIG LIE. It eliminates every good home available to dogs and animals a little bit at a time until there are NONE.

I truly believed I was bringing my dogs and myself to heaven when we moved to a remote mountain area in the Commonwealth of VA last fall. This month I should be taking advantage of the best season of the year to be running my dogs, yet we haven't had a single run in the new year. Why? The legislature is in session. Let me count the reasons - anti-tethering bills(2), anti-breeding bills, differential license fee bills, "snitch" bills that put ALL pet owners at risk of a modern day Spanish Inquisition, obliteration and over zealous editing of a sound definition of "illegal dog fighting" so that anyone whose dog gets into a "dog fight" or does things with their dogs sometimes associated with "training" for dog fighting (roading, weight pull, treadmills) is subject to a visit from law enforcement or even a felony charge. And that's only a partial list!

It's not just about mushers and even if you can stave it off now for yourself this time, or it's "Not In My Back Yard" (NIMBY) for you this time, it's only a matter of time until it IS YOU and YOUR DOGS.

How do you stop it? Get involved. Write to EACH one of the legislators that your bill sits before (members of the AG & Veterans Comm. for Minnesotans) and let them know it is a BAD law. Don't wheedle for exclusions, tell them exactly what is unacceptable and why not. Tell them NOT to support such an unnacceptable bill!

Ironically, I "went to the dogs" from a long term stint in grassroots advocacy on the national level for a particular underrepresented segment of people. I was burned out and wanted to be away from politics. Imagine my shock when the world of pet politics smacked me in the face. Different names and players, but the games are pretty much the same. MY BLISSFUL SANCTITY IN DOGDOM HAS BEEN VIOLATED DOGGONE IT!!

This time there's no retreating. My dogs are the heart and soul of my existence. How about you?

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musher dad

52 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2007 :  07:20:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
When a bill like this is written its usually because it is initiated by a lobbyist. The politician is only taking the opportunity to put themselves out there - to be visible to be re-elected. That's not as cyncial as it sounds. Even at the state and local level these politicians are pretty hands off and rely on their assitants to do a great deal of the leg work and research on issues. Part of that research is polling and surveys but that's a whole different subject.

If the mushing community can show an alternative as to why we should be categorized differently than "puppy mills" I don't think the politician cares as they are just delivering something that was thought up by a lobbyist and researched by his assistants.

That is why we need to establish a "best practice" of mushing, and kennels. Mush with pride is probably the best example we have of this. Guidelines showing how a kennel should be structured etc.

Once those are in place the next step would be to self-police. To certify kennels and have periodic inspections. If Mushers do that and have that in place the assistnats who research issues for the politicians would at least see that as a reason why Mushing kennels should be treated differently than other kennels.

I know this type of control is distasteful to many but who would you rather have in control of this? A governmental agency with no familiarity with mushing or your peers?
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108 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2007 :  12:39:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
While this is too late for the meeting, I wonder if the definitions of this amendment are aimed at most sled dog kennels. It is aimed at "breeders" and "hobby breeders" who are defined as "a person who possesses animals AND is engaged in the business of breeding animals for direct or indirect sale or for exchange in return for consideration". While we may all have a dog or pup that ends up getting placed (or even sold if we are lucky), almost none of us is engaged in the business of breeding animals direct or indirect sale or for exchange". To be in a business requires a profit motive. This seems like it covers puppy mills. Sled dog breeders are typically trying to produce sled dogs for their team. The sale or exchange of an occasional animal is not the business goal, it is doing the best you can with the team.

My point is that maybe this legislation may be interpreted as covering sled dog kennels, in reality it does not.

Mike S.
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Cliff Maxfield

2631 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2007 :  1:58:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
The problem with these laws is they don't segregate. Going through that list there were so many things that hit home. Do they ever look at the positives? They paint everything with a broad brush and if you fail to measure up it will cost you big time- both monetarily and emotionally if your a dog musher. Then there's location and sheer luck at ever being held to the law.
PRIDE was on the right track addressing what we need do and making it acceptable with USDA but I think it didn't go far enough. How to make it accepted Nation wide?
It's a State by State battle which IMHO shouldn't be so. Why do we need to rehash it through every State legislature everywhere. Along with everything else it costs the tax payer money - not just those involved.
Mike I agree most mushers don't raise dogs to sell AND no mention at all about rescue kennels. We do a lot of that and get no credit at all. Not even from our local government. BUT were the first on their call list when they want to place a dog.
I'd love to know who the real drafters of this bill are and what their agenda is. I believe I all ready know.

Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it...
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83 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2007 :  4:01:20 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
MN Musher Update on the Dog and Cat Breeders Act– SF 0121
January 23, 2007

Yesterday myself and Gail Huntley (Beargrease board member) met with both the MN Senator (Senator Betzold) who has already submitted the bill and Representative (Representative Hornstein) who plans to author the companion bill, plus had discussions with Frank Moe a representative from the Bemidji area and a musher himself.

Basically the bill is being put together to regulate “puppy mills.” Both legislators (Betzold and Horstein) have said they did not mean to be legislating mushers. Good!

The problem is the way the language is in the bill, it includes anyone who has or ever will breed a dog, or has intact female dogs. So whether or not the intent was for a certain “group” this bill will effect many people including and for sure MUSHERS. At the very least the bill needs to be rewritten to exclude dog sport enthusiasts. Here is what your senator and representative needs to know about the sled dog world and why we should not be included in this bill:

Mushers should not be included in this bill as we already have established and accepted principals of practice. World wide accepted by USDA (US Department of Agriculture, under the Animal Health and Welfare Act), IFSS (International Federation for Sled Dogs), ISDVMA (International Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association), ISDRA (International Sled Dog Race Association) and Mush with Pride.

If this bill is passed with its current language aimed towards breeders it could effectively eliminate most people’s ability to own and operate a sled dog kennel in the state of MN.

This is what needs to be done (before the end of January- preferably this week. The bill has already been assigned a committee.)

1. Contact your own personal legislators (not Frank Moe unless he is in your district- he asked for this specifically!) Both your Senator and Representative. Email or write them so they have something on paper. Contact them until you hear back from them. Make sure you refer to the bills number SF 0121. Be polite, i.e. please don’t try to piss them off. Which would be counter productive!. We want to come off as concerned and informed citizens with reasonable arguments that should be considered fairly. We want to stress that we are the experienced and concerned caretakers of our canine families and know what the best husbandry practices are as well as the fact that they are constantly evolving. Stress that while reading the bill that they consider the impact to all dog enthusiasts who go beyond the typical single family pet. This is not our fight alone.

2. Be very clear and simple with why the bill SF 0121 is bad for mushers (and all people who keep dogs.) State 1-3 reasons why (don’t get too complicated with this. A lot of them will have not read the bill or have the time to research it on their own.) Examples include:

a. Mushers should not be included in this bill as we already have established and accepted principals of practice. World wide accepted by USDA (US Department of Agriculture, under the Animal Health and Welfare Act), IFSS (International Federation for Sled Dogs), ISDVMA (International Sled Dog Veterinary Medical Association), ISDRA (International Sled Dog Race Association) and Mush with Pride.

b. Ask legislators to consider that the current laws are sufficient if properly enforced. Ask them to consider if this bill will be funded or too expensive to enforce across the board. If the state is unable to fund the law it will lend itself to discriminatory enforcement which is below our high Minnesota standards. This bill was meant for puppy mills, but due to the language it targets and excessively regulates anyone who has or ever breeds a dog, including mushers, hunting kennels, show dogs, trail dogs, agility dogs, etc. etc.

c. There are many parts of this bill that does not pertain to sled dogs and are known to not represent the best practices in caring for sled dogs. In fact some of the practices would be dangerous to sled dogs. Most mushers police themselves with Mush with Pride policies which includes researched out/ veterinarian endorsed sled dog care practices. Mushers would be happy to follow Mush with Pride guidelines if it were to be included in this and/ or other legislation as a way to exempt mushers from the Breeders act.

3. Please pass this message on to every single one of your friends, supporters and anyone who owns dogs in any capacity. Even businesses owners you know who would be affected by the elimination of dog kennels. Also Chamber of Commerce people who know the benefits of tourism dollars of dog events, etc. Ask them to also contact their personal legislatures to voice their concern.

The bill can be viewed at:
You can find you State Representative and Senators contact information at:

If you are having trouble finding the info, email me, I will find it for you (don’t be embarrassed, this stuff used to be confusing to me too.)

August Galloway

Edited by - August on 01/23/2007 4:07:56 PM
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522 Posts

Posted - 01/23/2007 :  4:24:58 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shawn's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks for your hard work time and effort. Even though I am not from your area. It all works for the entire bunch of us somewhere down the road I am sure. Thanks again

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83 Posts

Posted - 01/24/2007 :  5:57:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Contact the members of the Minnesota Senate Committee on Agriculture and Veterans who will consider this bill.

Senator Jim Vickerman, Chair
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Room 226
St. Paul, MN 55155-1606
(651) 296-5650

Senator Sharon L Erickson Ropes, Vice Chair
(651) 296-5649

Senator Steve Dille, Ranking Minority Member
(651) 296-4131

Senator Satveer S. Chaudhary
(651) 296-4334

Senator Joe Gimse
(651) 296-3826

Senator David W. Hann
(651) 296-1749

Senator Bill G. Ingebrigsten
(651) 297-8063

Senator Paul E. Koering
(651) 296-4875

Senator Gary W. Kubly
(651) 296-5094

Senator Keith Langseth
(651) 296-3205

Senator Steve Murphy
(651) 296-4264

Senator Rod Skoe
(651) 296-4196

Senator Dan Skogen
(651) 296-5655

Senator Betsy L. Wergin
(651) 296-8075

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83 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2007 :  10:54:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Folks...please take a look at this letter that Don Deckert received from Sen. is it great (as is his letter to the Senator!!!) Every single letter makes a huge huge impact right now....please email each of your personal senators and representatives....that is the most important thing to do (most do not even look at letters from people that are not their time to do so!) Look on previous posts onthis forum for links to find your legislators emails, link to the bill...and language you can use in your letter if you need it. Also look on AKC website for other ideas (look on their News link.) Please do this by the end of this weekend! So far we have heard that Rep. Rukivina, Senator Bakk, Rep Dill, Rep Moe and now Sen. Koch are concerned........let me know if you hear more so I can send the encouraging news around to all of us....we need it!


-----Original Message-----
From: Sen.Amy Koch []
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 2:53 PM
To: Don L. Deckert
Subject: Re: Dog and Cat Breeder Bill

Mr. Deckert-

Thanks for drawing my attention to the bill. Very often legislation is drafted to target one group and inadvertently negatively affects another constituency. I will talk to Sen. Paul Koering, a coauthor on the bill and express your concerns. I will also speak to the ranking Republican on the Agriculture, which is the first committee this will go to. As an aside I working to get on the Explore MN tourism board and I would love to attend a race sometime. If there is info available, please let me know where I might look.

Thanks again,
Sen. Amy Koch

State Senator
District 19
115 State Office Building
St. Paul, MN 55155
651 296-5981(phone)
651 296-9441(fax)

>>> "Don L. Deckert" 01/23/07 8:48 AM >>>
Dear Senator Koch,

Hi, My name is Don Deckert, I live just up the road in Albertville.
I am contacting you today regarding a bill that I have included a link to below, concerning dog and cat breeders.

This bill looks like it is directed towards mass breeders (puppy
mills)and I am strongly for any legislation that will better regulate these operations. But as the owner of a small recreational team of Siberian Husky sled dogs, I am highly concerned as how this bill would affect sled dog kennels in the state. I really feel we either need to kill this bill, or somehow make mushing kennels exempt. Certain aspects of this bill, liscensing, spay/neutering/ no tethereing/ debarking, if passed would make it too much of a financial burden for most mushing kennels to keep operating. Dog sledding is a huge business in Minnesota, steeped with history. Think of the major races held in our state. The John Beargrease, White Oak Classic, Mid Minnesota to name a few. These events
draw mushers and revenue to our state from all over the world. Also
there are many dog sled touring operations in the state, especially
near the Ely area that depend on sled dogs for their livlihood. Please do not allow this bill to pass and put these mushing kennels out of business.

Thank You,
Don Deckert

Edited by - August on 01/26/2007 10:56:42 AM
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223 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2007 :  10:59:49 AM  Show Profile  Visit northome's Homepage  Reply with Quote

We need everyone who lives in or has financial interests in Minnesota to write an e-mail and a hard copy letter, plus maybe a follow up phone call to each of the people on the above list as well as to your particular senator and representative. These letters need to be in your own words and should reflect the fact that we are concerned and informed citizens.

The following is an outline of a letter that could be sent with a selection of criticisms of the bill. Use it as a guide and write your own letter. Keep it simple and forthright. If the legislators get the numbers of letters that we hope they do, they probably won't have time to read them carefully, so make them easy to read.

Do it this weekend! The clock is ticking with a senate hearing coming sooner than later. I also have a copy of a letter that Tim Wallace drafted which is quite good. If anyone would like to use it as a source, e-mail me and I will see to it that you get it.

Al Stead

Dear sir,

I am writing to express my concerns about S.F. 121. As a dog owner and friend of all companion animals, I am concerned that the aforementioned bill is not in the best interests of animal, dogs and cats in particular. My objections to the bill are as follows:

The definition of breeder vs hobby breeder is arbitrary and does not reflect the status of the dog fancy as it exists now. It is an unwarrented intrusion into proper husbandry without justifiable evidence that it will work.

sec 3 inspections places a financial burden on the state that is out of line with the need. The proposed fees will clearly not cover the expense to the state and increasing them to do so will put the majority of dog enthusiasts out of the game.

Sec 4 standards of care are also arbitrary and do not take into acount the variablity inherent in the many breeds that it would cover. Certain of the dictates in this section are not best practices and could harm dogs if followed. Current law requires the Board of Animal Health to convene best practices conferences with input from all stake holders and not simply from one individual. A consensus standard would forestall any future dispute or need to amend the law.

sec 5 transportation is unecessary. Federal regulations are currently in effect and have proven to be more than adequate with regards to common carriers.

sec 7 investigations is objectionable on the grounds that it allows a private citizen the authority of a peace officer. Humane agents are not trained or vested with police power and must not be involved in any investigation. The potential for abuse as well as defective enforcement is too great to risk on such individuals.

The remaining sections are already well accounted for in current law. Re-working this part is unwarranted and will place an added burden on the state in costs for enforcement.

Ann Stead
Northome on Windhill
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433 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2007 :  12:09:07 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Been reading along with the developments in this thread for a few days now. As a veteran of several similar attempts by the animal rights zealots to eliminate our ability to own and use our animals in ethical activities under the guise of eliminating some perceived or real vague atrocity such as the much talked about but seldom seen "puppy mills". I advise very strongly against attempting to just eliminate sled dogs from this obviously very flawed piece of legislation. Doing so, only diminishes our support from other animal sport enthusiasts the next time one of these bills hits the floor of the legislature. We need to oppose this type of legislation because it is wrong, not just try to deflect it's impact from our own interests.
Here in Mi. a few years ago there was an initiative to eliminate the use of bear dogs. I won't defend the practice but am simply trying to point out that it was soundly defeated, not by dog bear hunters but by a broad base of support from common everyday people who opposed the animal rights lobby telling Michiganders that they know better than we what is best for our animals.
Obviously this legislation needs to be defeated for the good of sled dog sports in the state of Mn. but more importantly needs to be defeated because it is another attempt by the animal rightists to infringe upon the rights of the average citizen to engage in sporting activities with their animals without undue interference from the government and without unneeded or redundant rules governing housing, feeding, breeding, transportation and about every other practice involved in owning a dog or cat.
I congratulate August and others for their efforts to derail this legislation and urge everyone to take note of Al's letter, it is as fine an example of how to make this bill disappear as I have seen. Thanks for sharing it Al.
I have contacted some of the other BD members for Mushing USA and will be drafting a letter today voicing out strong opposition to this bill for all of the reasons that have been stated by Al and others here. Not just because it is bad for sled dog sports but more importantly because it is bad for pet ownership. This bill needs to be withdrawn, not just amended to minimize it's effect on our sport.

Mike Hutchens
Gwinn MI
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223 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2007 :  12:37:10 PM  Show Profile  Visit northome's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I just got done reading the Board of Animal Health best practice standards that are currently in effect in Minnesota. They are quite good and should satisfy any reasonable person. The fact that the Board wrote these up should dispel any concerns about motive or diligence. Check them out at:

Al Stead

Ann Stead
Northome on Windhill
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27 Posts

Posted - 01/26/2007 :  5:37:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Al, The Best Practices Standards seem to be EXACTLY what the new Bill was trying to say! The problem is obviously more about enforcement than what's right/wrong. I've been pleased with my Rep's and Sen's attention to this matter. I'll forward this info to them, as well. Thanks!! Lin
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