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 new law proposed that would effect MN kennels
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Admin

USA
1484 Posts

Posted - 01/27/2007 :  5:13:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit Admin's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Tim Wallace asked that I post this sample letter for people to use as a template when contacting their legislators about this bill.

************************

To Whom it may concern:
Re: S.F. No. 121

I am writing to voice concerns with this proposed legislation. While I have little doubt that the intent is sincerely to improve conditions for dogs and cats, a broader view is needed to assess the real impacts to kennel owners who are also sincerely interested in their animalís health and welfare. Some of the provisions would actually make conditions for certain breeds far worse and will infringe on legitimate kennels and the added costs will drive many kennels out of existence.

As background, since 1974 I have been involved with raising and racing sled dogs. Over these 30 odd years I have had from 20 to 45 dogs in my kennel at most times. These dogs have lived long healthy lives and have been well cared for as demonstrated by what they have been able to accomplish on a daily basis as working sled dogs. During this time I have always housed them outdoors with a tether system, as have most all other mushers I know from across the continent, with no adverse effects.

I will try to cover the worst problems in a way that follows the outline of the article. However, what vexes me most is that with all the problems facing our state this is what is getting time and attention even though there are at least 10 Chapters in the current Minnesota Statutes that deal with dogs and their care and welfare. While I donít want animals to suffer at the hands of uncaring people either there many far bigger problems that need attention. What about dealing with affordable health care for everyone or global climate change or water pollution? There are likely more children in poverty and being mistreated in our state than there are cats and dogs under similar conditions.

Now to the specific problems from my view point.

Sec. 2. Subd. 4. This definition is entirely arbitrary. Why is six the magic number? Is there any evidence that kennels with fewer than 6 intact females are less likely to provide adequate husbandry? What of a person who has more than 6 intact females of which less than 6 are used for breeding. I currently have a kennel of 25 dogs with about 10 intact females of which 4 have been used for breeding purposes. I trade stud fees or share litters with other sled dog owners and have sold fewer than 15 dogs over my mushing lifetime. Would I I then be subject to the provisions of this legislation? I would argue no, however, I bet the Board of Animal Health would disagree. This broad definition would include hundreds if on thousands of kennels. Who will bear the cost of enforcing these provisions. Without a plan for funding the law would be selectively enforced. As such it would be discriminatory.

Sec 3 Subd. 1b What does the size of the operation have to do with the fee. Also these fees would not seem to cover actual cost incurred by the Board of Animal Health or a local animal control authority for handling, processing and inspections.

Sec. 3. Subd.1e. This part appears contrary to the due process provisions and self incrimination provisions of the state and U.S. Constitutions. Further, some of the required reporting items could happen through no fault or action of the applicant for political or other reasons. What is the purpose of the notarized statement about numbers of animals to be housed except to make things difficult for all kennel owners?

Sec. 3. Subd. 2.b Under what rational/authority should a humane agent be allowed to assist in an investigation of inspection. Many of these organizations and their members have unrealistic ideas about animal care and what constitutes inadequate care. Further reading of the standards of this article reflect some of their biases.

Sec. 3. Subd. 2.c The provision to allow a veterinarian assisting in the inspection to euthanize animals should not be allowed unless ordered by a judge in a court of law where all parties can present their case. The reasons allowed are unlimited and the use of this provision is a taking of private property without due process and it removes potential evidence that might exonerate someone under investigation. Euthanasia under these provisions at the owners expense is objectionable beyond description.

Sec. 4. Subd. 2.(a) As carnivores dogs are metabolically and anatomically designed to eat infrequently. They are also almost always willing to eat if offered and act hungry almost all the time even if extremely overweight. Requiring feeding at least once every 12 hours is unnecessary and often unhealthy unless the animal canít get enough calories under another feeding regimen.

Sec. 4 Subd. 2.(b). Water like food isnít necessary at all times. Adequate intake is important but it is quite possible to keep dogs well hydrated by offering water 2 times per day or as part of their food. This is particularly the case in the winter when water freezes.

Sec. 4. Subd. 3 (1). Shelters as large as described are too big for the animal to keep warm in the winter. If the animal can go outside at will to stretch and move about a smaller shelter is far better.

Sec. 4. Subd. 3(2). Do not the shelters in Subd. 3(1). meet the intent of this provision? Who decides if this second shelter is large enough. I can get all my 25 dogs in a pickup box that is 8 ft by 6 ft. How must such a structure be used and who decides?

Sec. 4. Subd. 3(2b2). What constitutes a windbreak? Many dogs will not tolerate covers over dog house doors and tear them off.

Sec. 4. Subd. 3(2b2d). Barrels that are properly secured have been used by many mushers for years. When filled with bedding they are snug and the are far more easily cleaned than wood.

Sec. 4. Subd. 3(2b2e). This is likely the most ill-conceived provision of this proposed bill. The arguments used by many humane and animal rights organizations against tethering are unfounded. Among these arguments are that tethered dogs become aggressive, mean and/or unsociable and that people that tether dogs tend not care for them properly. These claims are patently untrue. I have a kennel full of tethered huskies (25) that prove otherwise. Over the past 33 years I have raised and trained a more than 100 dogs and all have been tethered their entire life. I can recall no mean, aggressive or unsocial dogs. I know of thousands of similarly tethered dogs that are neither aggressive or mean or unsociable. There are social and genetic reasons that dogs exhibit what is deemed by people to be inappropriate behavior including a lack of early socialization, mistreatment, boredom or natural shyness. Tethering has nothing to do with these reasons for behavioral problems. Tethering is the oldest and most effective way to control the wondering nature of dogs and to keep them safe from all the dangers that befall loose dogs. Properly tethered groups of dogs can socialize with neighbors, have their own large space and allow the owner or caretaker easy access to the dogs with little chance of escape. While accidents are always an issue tethering is no more risk to the dog than a pen or kennel. Each has itís potential problems that must be managed properly.

Sec. 4. Subd. 13. Dogs properly housed in a kennel or tether situation that gives them adequate room do not need this much exercise to stay healthy and fit. This requirement is an undue hardship on owners and has minimal benefit to the dogís health.

Sec. 4. Subd. 14(1). Being in estrus and being ready to breed are two different things. There is no reason to try to regulate this since the dogs will get along fine regardless.

Sec.4. Subd. 14(2). This is an unnecessary cost to any breeder that will not materially improve a dogís health. It sounds like a great idea but what conditions would an exam 4 months prior to breeding reveal? Breeding animals from the same litter is done frequently to double up on good heritable traits and has led to new breeds of domestic animals of all kinds. What of animals that are not of the same litter but have the same parents? Other relatives such as cousins could very easily have as close a genetic relations as siblings. Just as with many other parts of this proposed legislation the language used demonstrates a lack of clear understanding of the problems supposedly being addressed. The requirement that females not be bred in consecutive heat cycles does not necessarily improve the overall health of the female. If fed and housed adequately whelping and raising pups is not a huge drain on the females condition, in fact her health and weight should be the same after the litter as before within a week or two after the pups are weaned.

Sec. 4. Subd. 15. What constitutes positive physical contact with human beings and who decides or monitors if this is happening. Certainly a yearly inspection can not determine this.

Sec. 4. Subd. 18. There is no evidence that debarking has any negative effect on a dogís health or well being. This is purely a feel good provision favored by those that believe dogs have the same responses to life's changes as people would.

Sec. 5. (c) (5). Shipping containers that are large enough for a dog to move ďnormallyĒ are too big to be safe in a accident. A crate that requires that the dog lay down to be comfortable protects the animal much better in the event of an accident.

Sec. 5. (f). Again, feeding every 12 hours for dogs is unnecessary and while traveling can lead to problems with motion sickness in dogs not familiar with being transported. Aspiration and bloat could also be a complication.

Sec. 6. (g). Animals that are being handled by inexperienced airline ground crew risk escape and injury from all sorts of hazardous conditions that exist at airports and other transportation facilities. Unless there are special provisions and facilities available the dog is better off staying in their crate.

Sec. 7 and 8. These sections reek of due process issues. The use of humane agents is clearly outside the due process clause of the U.S. Constitution. These people are not licensed peace officers and should have no authority to enforce laws or regulations nor to affect the seizure of private property. Fully as bad is that these people sometimes have agendas beyond the health and well being of the animals involved. People in other states with similar laws as these have been ill treated and unless wealthy and savvy enough to put up a legal defense some have lost their animals due to the actions of unscrupulous humane agents. Minnesota should not be party to these types of activities.

Please take these concerns into account when you are considering your actions regarding this bill. There are plenty of laws on the books that if properly enforced adequately protect the publicís interest in animal well being. The problem is not the lack of laws but a lack of funding for enforcement and lack of understanding of animal health and well being. As this legislation is currently drafted it will do little to improve animal welfare and it will hurt kennels owners unnecessarily. Legislation should not necessarily feel good, it should be good an effective. I believe this legislation does not meet this ideal and would require major overhaul to even come close. It should be dropped from consideration.

Sincerely,

*****************

Judy Bergemann
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RMBMusher

3 Posts

Posted - 01/28/2007 :  8:51:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thanks for the post August. This legislation will even affect the P.A.W.S. (Promoting Abilities With Sled Dogs)program and that would not be good at all. Also, for this state to fine Will Steger would be just downright crazy! My mom has come on board also and we have gotten in touch with our senator and representative (via email, of course) and mom has gotten in touch with the chair and vice-chair of the committee that the bill got re-referred to as well as the senate author of the bill. I'm thinking about joining Mush with PRIDE since I will have to use many of their Sled dog guidelines myself. I truly hope that there will be an exemption for mushers in this bill.
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Bob Bzdok

USA
3 Posts

Posted - 01/29/2007 :  08:48:00 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here are a couple of examples of e-mails I have gotten back from our lawmakers that I thought were worth sharing. First of all I think we are lucky to have Rep.Frank Moe, and others like him, who are understanding of our situation. Second if you have not done so already, contact your rep. and Sen. as well as all those on August's list posted here and voice your concern. I am quite sure there are others like Sen. Erickson Ropes, who are still gathering info. to make there decision.

Hi Bob,

I'm a musher too and will not let this pass without it being a version written by us. Otherwise we have the votes to kill it.

Thanks for the email

Frank Moe

Dear Representative Moe,
I am the owner of a small (18 dog) sled dog racing kennel in central Mn. I am asking for your help and support in defeating the bill labeled the "Dog and Cat Breeders Act". As I mentioned we are a Family who enjoys the sport of dog sledding and are very hopeful that this bill is not passed as it would force us to dissolve an integral part of our
lives and what we do for enjoyment. We have
18 adult dogs right now, but I would not consider ourselves, or most other Musher's, "Breeders" as in the last 10 years we have raised just 4 litters of pup's and have never come close to turning a profit. I believe most musher's can only hope to help offset some of the expenses like feeding, vaccinating, housing, and raising this many dogs by hoping to win a few races and possibly sell a few pups or dogs to help improve our kennel's. Further I also believe that generally speaking most sled dogs are better cared for than a lot of family pets that are sometimes not vaccinated or let out of there kennel to exercise, or rarely even played with.
Most all musher's have been involved with the sport, I believe, for two reasons. One being that they enjoy the outdoors and that it gives themselves and often their family a great way to spend time and have fun together. The other being that they are a dog lover, who else could work a full time job and then also put in as many hour's feeding, cleaning, training, and caring for a bunch of pet's? Who else could better care for the animal's they love than a dog lover?
Everything that you can do will be appreciated by all, to help defeat this bill and preserve my children's, my wife's, and my, pastime.

Thank You,


Bob Bzdok

Mr. Bzdok,

Thank you so much for contacting my office about Senate File 121! I appreciate and recognize the concerns you forwarded to me about the practice of breeding. As a small business owner, I can understand your concerns about burdensome regulation. I understand the high code of ethics practiced by the trade, and appreciate your efforts to monitor
the safety and well being of the animals in our state. I am still
gathering information from constituents and our research department, so I will be sure to consider your views. Keep me updated!

Sen. Erickson Ropes

Dear Senator,

I am the owner of a small (18 dog) sled dog racing kennel. I am asking for your help and support in defeating, or at least excluding recreational kennels, from the bill labeled "Dog and Cat Breeders Act" SF 0121. As I mentioned we are a Family who enjoys the sport of dog sledding and are very hopeful that this bill is not passed as it would force us to dissolve an integral part of our lives and what we do for
enjoyment.
We have 18 adult dogs right now, but I would not consider ourselves, or most other Musher's "Breeders", as in the last 10 years we have raised just 4 litters of pup's and have never come close to turning a profit. I believe most musher's can only hope to help offset some of the expenses like feeding, vaccinating, housing, and raising this many dogs by hoping to win a few races and possibly sell a few pups or dogs to help improve our kennel's. Further I also believe that generally speaking most sled dogs are better cared for than a lot of family pets that are sometimes not vaccinated or let out of there kennel to exercise, or rarely even played with. There are several organizations that ensure sled dogs are properly cared for, vaccinated, treated properly, etc.
Most all musher's have been involved with the sport, I believe, for two reasons. One being that they enjoy the outdoors and that it gives themselves and often their family a great way to spend time and have fun together. The other being that they are a dog lover, who else could work a full time job and then also put in as many hour's feeding, cleaning, training, and caring for a bunch of pet's? Who else could better care for the animal's they love than a dog lover?
Everything that you can do will be appreciated by all, to help defeat or revise this bill and preserve my children's, my wife's, and my, pastime.

Thank You,


Bob Bzdok
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huskyhauler

USA
76 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2007 :  10:03:38 PM  Show Profile  Visit huskyhauler's Homepage  Reply with Quote
This may be of interest to members of this list:
The next meeting of Minnesota Pet Breeders Asc.will be held February 17th in St. Cloud at the Old
Country Buffet, 3333 West Division Street. The topic for the meeting
is "legislation for our industry". Guest speaker will be Jeremy Geske
who is the Local Issues Specialist from the MN Farm Bureau Public
Policy Team. This team has had a longstanding working relationship
with our legislators. They have knowledge of the current laws that
affect us and fully understand the need for protection of our rights
and protection from the animal rights activists.

Jeremy also sits on the board with the state veterinarians.


I encourage any and and all pet animal breeders to join this
organization. There is strength in numbers. This is not just a dog
breeder organization. So please spread the word to any breeders,
large or small, of any pet type. We need to unite and we need to
unite quickly. We need a collective LOUD voice to squash these bad
bills being proposed.


The Membership Secretary for the MNPBA is Belinda Donley,
bdonley@wcta.net

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huskyhauler

USA
76 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2007 :  12:06:01 AM  Show Profile  Visit huskyhauler's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I spoke with Al K. from the North Star Sled Dog Club earlier this week and he indicated that he thought someone from the club was interested in attending the meeting in the above message. I just recieved a message regarding a location change for the meeting. Please take note:

Hello,

I was reading the post on the sleddogcentral.comís forum about the proposed SF0121 bill and saw your post about the Minnesota Pet Breederís Association Meeting. Iím a member of the association and I thought I should let you know that the meeting place has been changed. It will still be on Saturday Feb. 17th at 11AM in St. Cloud, but it will be held at the Oí Hare Bar & Grill. Itís supposed to be located 2 blocks North of the Old Country Buffet on 33. The guest speaker will still be from Farm Bureau and we will also be hearing from 2 representatives from Tuffyís Dog Food Company. We recently gained their support on fighting this bill and they will be there to discuss what they can do to help. The location was switched because the Old Country Buffet did not have a private room for the meeting.

I just wanted to let you know so you could maybe post it up on the forum in case anyone was planning on attending. I was going to post it but I just registered for an account there and Iím not sure how long it takes before the administrator grants me access.


don
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RMBMusher

3 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2007 :  6:51:14 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi August. I have found out that the House version (H.F. 1046) of the bill was introduced two days after the Beargrease was cancelled (February 15th). Two weeks ago, I got in touch with Representative Mindy Greiling (via email, of course) and I had found out from her that Representative Frank Hornstein is working with Representative Frank Moe on the exemption for us mushers in this state. Last week, I emailed Rep. Hornstein and he thanked me for the letter and told me that it's very iffy at this point for the bill to be heard in front of a committee. Boy, has Senator Don Betzold become something else, eversense he has become the Senate cheif author of the bill. He has become soo nasty that he now refuses to hear from anybody that is opposition of the bill. I know that my mom got in touch with him via email one day and his reply had some very harsh & choice words, and knowing my mom, she fired right back at him and then some. I don't know if anybody else in this forum has had the same problem with Senator Betzold.
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Cliff Maxfield

USA
2631 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  07:32:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I spoke with an AR person last weekend from Duluth, Minnesota. We had a somewhat heated discussion over this bill and her attitude towards mushers in general. She was gloating over this bill Her sources said it was definitely going to shut some kennels down in Minnesota and that it was aimed at SOME sled dog kennels.
I fear this battle is far from over yet.

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

USA
223 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  08:32:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit northome's Homepage  Reply with Quote
There are a number of organized groups opposing this bill. Some are reconstituting the Minnesota Counsel of Dog Clubs, which is probably the best thing to come out of all this. We need to ally ourselves with all animal associates to fight the misguided AR people. If anyone is interested, it is a simple matter to check out what the other side is up to. It is clear that this bill is not intended to regulate puppy mills, rather it is intended to end dog sports and responsible breeding in the state of Minnesota.

We have put considerable pressure on the legislators, and need to continue to voice our objections at every opportunity.

Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.

Al Stead
Northome Siberians

Ann Stead
Northome on Windhill
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