A Texas bill that seeks to establish a licensing process for pet breeders is up for a public hearing before a Senate committee on Thursday, May 12, 2011.
House Bill 1451, which passed the House late last month, would require the state’s dog and cat breeders to receive a license from the state Department of Licensing and Regulation.
A dog or cat breeder is defined as any person who possesses 11 or more adult intact female animals and is engaged in the business of breeding animals for direct or indirect sales or for exchange in return for consideration.
The original version of the bill would have prohibited breeders from possessing more than 50 adult intact female animals at any time, unless he or she receives a special exemption from the department. That provision has been removed.
Under HB 1451, licensees would have to be inspected at least once every 18 months and “at other times as necessary to ensure compliance.” Previously, the original version of the bill called for licensees to be inspected at least once every 12 months. Inspections may be done by department employees, but the bill also allows for inspection by third-party inspectors.
The state’s commission of licensing and regulation would be responsible for establishing “reasonable and necessary” fees to cover the costs of administering and enforcing the rules set forth in HB 1451.
The bill also provides for the establishment of a Dog or Cat Breeder Training and Enforcement Account to pay for promoting consumer awareness of the provisions set forth in the bill; supporting educational seminars, training activities or other projects to help the department administer these rules; information resulting in the disciplinary action of a violator; and any other action to improve the department’s ability to investigate violations of and enforce the provisions in HB 1451.
Funding for the Commercial Breeder Training and Enforcement Account would come from administrative penalties collected as part of these rules. The department may also solicit and accept gifts, grants and other donations from any source to deposit into the account.
In addition to the licensing process, HB 1451 requires the commission to establish minimum standards for “humane handling, care and transportation of dogs and cats by a dog or cat breeder to ensure the overall health, safety and well-being of each animal.” Specific standards are set forth in the bill, but the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation is authorized to adopt additional standards that “meet or exceed federal regulations.”
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) opposes this bill in its current form. “Legislation such as this should ensure standards consistent with those established under federal law and should not grant unlimited authority for state agencies to adopt arbitrary requirements,” PIJAC stated in a pet alert issued today. “Enforcement should only be conducted by trained employees of the agency and the bill should ensure full due process for all regulated entities.”
The Senate Criminal Justice Committee is set to hear HB 1451 on May 12 in the Capitol. The hearing will begin upon adjournment of the Senate for the day, but no sooner than 1:30 p.m.
To read HB 1451 in its entirety, click here.