Latest version of pet breeders bill advances in Oklahoma Legislature

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: May 9, 2012
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Commercial pet breeders who get their state licenses by Sept. 1 would be exempt from having to comply with stricter cage-size requirements already in effect, according to the latest version of a bill that would do away with the Board of Commercial Pet Breeders.

The House of Representatives Conference Committee on Natural Resources unanimously approved House Bill 2921, which mostly transfers the pet board's duties to another state agency. The measure now goes to Senate conferees; if they approve the changes, it will go to the full Legislature for consideration.

Pet breeders who get their state licenses by Sept. 1 would be exempt from having to comply with any guidelines stricter than what are currently allowed under the latest version of the bill eliminating the Board of Commercial Pet Breeders and transferring its duties to another state agency.

Tuesday, the House of Representatives Conference Committee on Natural Resources unanimously approved the latest version of House Bill 2921.

Offering incentive

Grandfathering in commercial dog and cat breeders who have their breeding licenses by Sept. 1 is a way to encourage them to register, said Rep. Phil Richardson, author of HB 2921.

Those who apply by Sept. 1 won't be required to meet any cage-size requirement more stringent than U.S. Agriculture Department standards, according to the measure. Any commercial pet breeder replacing or adding cages after Sept. 1 would have to comply with any updated requirements.

The main thrust of HB 2921 is to repeal legislation forming the Board of Commercial Pet Breeders and put its duties under the jurisdiction of the state Agriculture, Food and Forestry Department.

The Commercial Pet Breeders Board was formed two years ago to regulate and license certain dog and cat breeders. Some breeders have complained the board was heavy-handed in enforcing its rules.

Backers of the measure said the Agriculture Department, which inspects livestock operations, already has experience in conducting inspections and enforcing rules.

No-fee transfer

Any commercial pet breeder who has renewed its Commercial Pet Breeders license by July 1 would have the license automatically transferred to the Agriculture Department, said Richardson, R-Minco. No additional fee would be charged for the transfer.

The requirements do not apply to breeders with 10 or fewer nonspayed female animals.

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