legislation > follow the vote
The State of Minnesota functions on a two-year cycle (biennium). The 2013-2014 Minnesota legislative session started January 8, 2013 and ended May 20, 2013. The 2014 session will begin February 25, 2014. The months in between the sessions are known as "interim months."
The Dog and Cat Breeder Regulation Bill (to license, inspect and regulate commercial dog and cat breeders) was introduced. Bill numbers are S.F. 36 and H.F. 84. The author of S.F. 36 is Senator John Marty; the author of H.F. 84 is Representative John Lesch.
Each bill must be heard in multiple committees so as to progress through the MN Senate and MN House. To receive alerts about hearing dates and actions, please sign the support petition and you will be added to the email database.
STATUS for S.F. 36/H.F. 84:
• H.F. 84 passed the House Civil Law Committee on February 13 (amended).
• H.F. 84 passed the House Public Safety Finance and Policy committee on February 21.
• H.F. 84 passed the House Government Operations committee on March 5 (amended).
• H.F. 84 was referred to the House Agriculture Policy committee; it was not granted a hearing before the policy committee deadline of March 15.
• Companion bill S.F. 36 was not granted a hearing in the Senate Jobs, Agriculture and Rural Development Committee.
Due to no hearings granted in the Agriculture policy committees, S.F. 36/H.F. 84 did not meet the committee deadlines in 2013; however, the bills are still alive. Minnesota operates on a two year biennial session. All work accomplished this year (2013) will apply to next year when the session begins again in February 2014. The bills will continue where they left off; they don't have to be heard again in the committees they passed.
Much progress made: Rep. Lesch (author of H.F. 84) has held lengthy meetings with representatives of the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA), the pet breeders, the Board of Animal Health, and members of the Speak Up for Minnesota Dogs and Cats coalition to try to reach consensus on language in H.F. 84. (Animal Folks MN is part of the coalition and lobbying team.) These meetings were very productive. With some new language that came out of the meetings, Rep. Lesch believes this will put the bill in a better position to receive and pass necessary committees in 2014.
Animal Folks MN and other coalition members will continue to lobby and advocate during the interim months; updates will be posted here. Your help is needed — please meet with your State legislators and ask them to support S.F. 36/H.F. 84.
A lot has been accomplished:
• H.F. 84 passed THREE committees in the House without any harmful amendments being added.
• The Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association offered additional language to H.F. 84's veterinary program provision. The new language requires breeders to establish and maintain a written protocol for disease control and prevention, euthanasia and veterinary care of animals.
• Governor Mark Dayton publicly supports the bill.
• The Board of Animal Health supports the House amended bill.
• Legislators were inundated with calls — hearing from Minnesotans who want the suffering of dogs and cats in inhumane breeding facilities to end.
• The lobbying team met multiple times (and continues to meet) with members of all the necessary committees.
• Over 50 Minnesota shelters and rescues, the Minnesota Animal Control Association and thousands of Minnesotans support S.F. 36/H.F. 84.
• Over 385 Minnesota veterinarians and vet techs signed letters supporting S.F. 36/H.F. 84 with more signing on regularly.
• Over 19,000 petitions signed by Minnesotans were delivered to State legislators in support of S.F. 36/H.F. 84.
Unfortunately, over the years, the Agriculture Committees in both the House and Senate continue to control this issue and have not allowed the bills to be heard at all or else they vote it down. We have come further this year than ever before and are confident hearings will be held in these committees in 2014.
We are still hearing from opposition:
• Slippery slope argument — that if regulation passes, next year it will go into the barns and farms (this fear-based argument is still being used by certain legislators connected with agribusiness)
• Some breeders say it will put them out of business (this will not happen if a breeder is properly caring for his/her dogs and cats)
• Already have laws on the books (not true — animal anti-cruelty laws kick in after the cruelty has occurred; local ordinances are inconsistent or do not exist)
• Don't need more government (government is already involved; law enforcement and the courts pay the costs of cleaning up the problem if the cruelty is reported)
THE MVMA BILL
UPDATE: The coalition has been working with the MVMA on this issue and, as noted above, the MVMA has now provided language to H.F. 84 that strengthens the veterinary program provision. As a coalition member in support of H.F. 84/S.F. 36, Animal Folks MN looks forward to continue working with organizations, like the MVMA, in regards to this issue and legislation. (Over 380 individual veterinarians and certified veterinary technicians have signed on in support of H.F. 84/S.F. 36.)
PREVIOUS: In the 2013 session, the Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association (MVMA) had a bill introduced. The authors are Rep. Tim Faust and Sen. Lyle Koenen (H.F. 1005/ S.F. 955). We appreciate that organizations, like the MVMA, are concerned about animal health; however, based on a review of the language, we don't believe the MVMA bill effectively addresses the problem (and prevention) of animal neglect and cruelty in dog/cat breeding facilities.
Highlights of the MVMA bill as introduced:
• No required licensing.
• No required inspections. (The language states the Board of Animal Health "may" inspect a commercial breeder and "may" enforce the bill; it does not state "shall.")
• It adds the Board of Animal Health as an additional authority to initiate an investigation if someone makes a formal complaint against a commercial breeder. (This is the same system Minnesota currently has. The animal must first be neglected, abused, diseased or dead and a complaint filed before action is taken by law enforcement and the courts, which is costly and not preventative.)
• It requires that any dog or cat sold must be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection. (While we support a health certificate as a means to control disease, this language is similar to the existing Pet Lemon Law. Further, while this certificate may provide some protection for animals sold, it does not provide protection for the breeding animals who are confined for years.)
The legislative focus of Animal Folks MN remains on prevention. We believe required licensing and inspections and an enforcement of animal care standards are necessary to help prevent neglect and cruelty and keep animals safe.
• Article/video clips from House Civil Law hearing: House Information Services
Please, continue to act — build awareness with legislators and others in your community about the need for dog and cat breeder regulation.
• Contact your own legislators
Your own legislators need to get to know you. Please continue talking with your own legislators and ask for their support of S.F. 36/H.F. 84. Call or send them an email or, better, set up a meeting and discuss why breeder regulation is needed. (Be sure to always state the bill numbers and mention they are the bills authored by Sen. Marty and Rep. Lesch.)
Find out who represents you at the MN State Legislature: MN District Finder
Never spoken with a legislator before? Contact legislators
If your legislator is not supportive of the bill, please let us know who they are and what the issue is; we may be able to clarify something for that legislator. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Educate everyone you know.
Inform others about this issue and tell them how they can help. Distribute flyers. Write letters to the editor.
Information about the issue and bill can be found at: Breeder Bill
For more information about events: Events
For more information about writing letters to the editor: Contact the press
• Involve your veterinarian
Ask your veterinarian and the vet techs to support this effort. Please have them sign the petition on this website (make sure they indicate if they are a vet or vet tech on the form). If you'd like to help gather support from additional vet/vet techs contact: email@example.com
Please donate. With funds, we can continue to build constituency groups, print legislative materials, commit to advertising, and other to get the bill passed. The work is not over. Please donate today.
Animal Folks MN will be having booths at various events through the State. To help volunteer at events or other activities, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org