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The House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee has set a hearing for Tuesday (February 10, 2009) on House Bill 1332, sponsored by Rep. Lee Denney and also known as the “Oklahoma Pet Quality Assurance and Protection Act.” The 4:30 p.m. hearing is open to the public.
HB 1332 is before the House Economic Development and Financial Services.Committee. Rep. Denny has cut a deal to circumvent the Agriculture Committee.
- <LI class=MsoNormal>Prohibits an out of state breeder from transporting dogs into or through Oklahoma, which would effectively destroy dog shows, field trials and other canine events in the state. If a hobby breeder were to bring dogs to an Oklahoma event, the dogs could be confiscated and the owner would face heavy fines and penalties. <LI class=MsoNormal>Gives any animal control officer, peace officer or animal cruelty investigator unrestricted access to a kennel owner’s home, facilities, animals, records and property. The bill denies kennel owners constitutional right of protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, as no warrants are required. <LI class=MsoNormal>Effectively prohibits any Oklahoma resident from buying a puppy or dog from another state, as the breeder would have to be licensed in Oklahoma. <LI class=MsoNormal>Requires every breeder, rescue organization, animal shelter and pet store to be state licensed – not just dealers or commercial kennels – if they sell, give away or adopt out 25 or more animals a year. This would destroy many rescue programs. <LI class=MsoNormal>Says that a license will not be issued to anyone who has or has ever had a federal kennel license through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This provision will destroy many well-run kennel businesses that meet or exceed all legal requirements for the care of animals, and result in the owners of those businesses losing many thousands of dollars that they have invested in land and facilities, also losing their livelihood. However, all kennels will be required to follow federal regulations for housing, care and other management issues. <LI class=MsoNormal>Gives the state the authority to implement complete regulations for the management of all kennels and the care of the dogs, with no provision for legislative approval or input from dog owners. <LI class=MsoNormal>Requires extensive record keeping, and kennel management and medical practices to be approved by a veterinarian. The legislation changes the legal status of dog owners to that of guardians, and removes all decision-making power from the hands of kennel owners. Dogs effectively become wards of the state under this legislation. <LI class=MsoNormal>Denies a license to anyone who is on probation or parole for any offense, even if they have nothing to do with animals. Licenses also are denied for anyone who has been found guilty of violating any statute pertaining to animals, including relatively minor offenses such as leash laws, local licensing laws and noise ordinances. In addition, purely technical or minor violations of state kennel regulations would cause mandatory denial.
- Provides fines of up to $2,500 for each violation, while granting the kennel owner only the right to an administrative appeal. Placing liens against a kennel owner’s property is authorized to collect fines, penalties and costs for seizing dogs. Several provisions allow the state to seize, confiscate and euthanize animals.
Here is a link to the text of HB 1332: http://www.okvma. org/associations /2557/files/ 2PQA2009HB1332. pdf
(Please note that this is on the Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association site, as the official state legislature site requires a complex search. The veterinarians’ group is pushing this legislation. The sponsor, Rep. Denney, is a veterinarian. The OVMA and its allies have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into promoting this legislation, and have hired a full-time professional political lobbyist