Voters will be required to present identification before casting ballots and pet breeders will face new rules and licensing requirements under new laws taking effect Friday.
Opponents promise lawsuits to block the
Lawmakers approved legislation this year containing guidelines and procedures for the state Board of Commercial Pet Breeders. Legislation was passed last year establishing the board.
Oklahoma is behind only Missouri in the number of puppies sold by breeders to wholesalers and on the Internet. Oklahoma consistently has been in the top five with the number of problem breeders, or those reported by buyers who can't find the breeders after a puppy bought from them turns up sick or dies.
Federally licensed pet breeders, who sought exemption, have to meet the state's rules and regulations. The requirements do not apply to breeders with 10 or fewer nonspayed female animals.
Misty Fields, a Tulsa lawyer, filed a lawsuit last month in Le Flore County District Court that claims legislation regulating pet breeders is unconstitutional.
The state constitution requires the Board of Agriculture to have jurisdiction over all matters affecting the animal industry, she said. The Board of Commercial Pet Breeders is under the jurisdiction of the state Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners.
“That would be a huge step in the right direction,” she said. “It's a readily established agency. They deal with these sorts of matters all the time. They already have standards in place for animal husbandry and the breeding and raising of animals.”
The state's pet breeding legislation also violates the constitution because it could be considered a special law and it violates the one-subject rule, she said.
The legislation is also too open-ended and gives little or no direction to the board, Fields said.
A hearing is set for July 7. Fields is seeking orders that would prohibit the state from enforcing its regulations pending the outcome of the case.
Angel Soriano, chairman of the pet breeders board, said more than 50 veterinarians have signed up to serve as inspectors of pet-breeding operations.
They will contract with the board to provide the services.
The board has two full-time investigators who are commissioned and are authorized to carry weapons, he said.
Breeders who are not registered with the board face a fine up of up to $500 per dog or cat found in their operation as well as any violation found on the premises.
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AT A GLANCE
Pet breeders law
A toll-free hot line is in place to report cases of animal abuse. For all cases that are reported to the state Board of Commercial Pet Breeders, callers must leave their name, telephone number, location and description of the abuse taking place. The number is (855) 866-3894. For more information about the state's pet-breeding law, go to www.ok.gov/petbreeders/.