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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Urge South Dakota Legislators to Enact SB 157

A bill to establish basic standards of care for commercial breeding operations

For more than 3 years our SDFACT supporters have been asking us to work on a bill to address the cruelties of South Dakota puppy mills. In researching the issue in South Dakota, we identified the need for basic standards of care to be outlined in state law. Standards will assist law enforcement when investigating these troublesome large scale commercial breeding operations and also provide protections for responsible dog and cat breeders in our state.

According to the federal website, South Dakota has 43 USDA Class A Breeders, the 11th most in the country. Additional large scale commercial breeding operations not licensed with the USDA also exist.  Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture licenses and inspects large scale commercial breeding operations that sell to pet stores, the USDA’s own Office of Inspector General (OIG) released a report confirming that USDA inspectors regularly ignore horrific suffering at commercial dog breeding facilities and allow the facilities to continue to operate, unimpeded, despite repeated violations of the Federal Animal Welfare Act.  The USDA admits that its laws are not humane standards, but merely survival standards and that a USDA license is not a seal of approval.

While SB 157 does not implement a state licensing and inspection program common in other states, it does address the immediate need of humane officers and sheriff’s deputies tasked with investigating commercial breeding operation complaints. Currently state law provides no standards of care, only a definition of a commercial breeding operation and the guidelines for investigating such operations. This section of code was revised more than 10 years ago through a joint effort of South Dakota breeders and animal shelters. 

SB 157 simply adds a few basic standards of care to this existing section. The bill will require primary enclosures to have solid flooring to protect the dogs’ feet and legs from injury; primary enclosures to be placed no higher than forty-two inches above the floor and cannot be stacked on top of other cages. A written program of veterinary care including a vaccination schedule, practices for disease control and prevention and an annual physical examination by a licensed veterinarian.

Many animal protection organizations would like South Dakota’s Department of Agriculture to implement a state licensing and inspection program but many breeders argue state inspections are not needed. SB 157 truly represents a compromise and it is a solution SD FACT supports. We urge South Dakota Legislators to enact SB 157. This bill will provide basic standards of care for law enforcement investigating complaints and also enhance the quality of life for dogs and cats living in the large scale commercial breeding operations of South Dakota. #MakeSDPuppyMillsMoreHumane  #SDFACTPAC

1 comment:

  1. Protection and humane treatment of animals in South Dakota. We support candidates and incumbents who align with these values.