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Legislative Alert: Michigan "Puppy Protection Act"
Posted on 04/23/2012 in Coonhounds.

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Michigan Senate Bills 891 and 892, called the “puppy protection act,” are legislation that was introduced in January 2012, authored by the Michigan Humane Society. While UKC condemns substandard care and conditions for dogs, there are concerns that this bill will overreach and negatively impact responsible breeders. Please contact the sponsors of this bill and the Senate Agriculture Committee and tell them that if they feel this law is necessary and warranted, it is imperative that the amendments suggested by UKC be adopted to protect responsible breeders.

•Under the Puppy Protection Act, a “large scale commercial breeding kennel” is defined as a “kennel where more than 15 female intact dogs are housed for the purpose of breeding.” Definition of large-scale commercial kennel by more than 15 intact females alone is an unacceptable threshold. The language is ambiguous as to whether or not all 15 females must be used for breeding, or if only 1 of the 15 would suffice to meet the threshold. Many kennels that do not even breed may have more than 15 intact female dogs over the age of 4 months. UKC suggests adding “and sells more than 50 puppies or dogs in a calendar year.”

•In addition, the bill should contain an exemption for breeders of dogs used for show, performance, work, or hunting. Breeders and owners that are active with their dogs ARE the responsible breeders and are not the target of this legislation. UKC has suggested the following language to be added under exemptions to legislators: “A person or breeder who keeps, breeds, and/or trains dogs for the purpose of hunting, working, herding or guarding livestock or other animals, tracking, assistance or service, dog-powered sports; or exhibiting in dog shows, performance events, field trials, hunt tests, or other type of dog event.”

•Section 3 (c) defines “adequate rest between breeding cycles” as “ensuring that a dog is not bred to produce more than one litter in any 12-month period of time.” The first glaring problem is that the definition does not clarify if this applies to both sexes or only females. Application to both is unrealistic as stud dogs are typically used multiples times within a year. Even if it applies only to females, there is no scientific basis in creating a standard that a female only be bred once a year.

•“Regular exercise” excludes the use of a treadmill, jenny mill, slat mill, or similar device to properly exercise a dog. UKC would like clarification as to why these would not be acceptable exercise means; use of these is quite normal practice for conditioning show, performance, and hunting dogs.

• “State of good health” definition is worrisome as well. The definition sounds good on the outset, but is too arbitrary and in essence, does not allow the individual owner to determine what the “appropriate treatment” should be. There is no clarification as to what or who may deem “appropriate treatment.”

• “Turn and stretch freely” disallows the use of a tether. Outlawing tethers is unacceptable: many hunting and sled dog kennels safely keep dogs in this manner.

•UKC opposes dog ownership limits; focus should be on quality not quantity.

Contact Information

One page in length is optimal, two is the maximum. If sending an e-mail, it’s better to send your letter in the body of the e-mail and not as an attachment as many government offices will not accept attachments in e-mails. A personally written, original letter is better than sending a form letter, so stay away from form letters. Also, a typed letter is best. If you’re sending a handwritten letter, make sure that it is neat and legible.

Discuss only one issue per letter, and make sure to cite the number and full title of the subject legislation - don’t use any acronyms or nicknames for the legislation. Use your first paragraph to state your position and/or request. Keep that first paragraph short and concise, and save the rest of your letter to support your argument. Support your position with facts and data. Remember, it’s ok to show your passion, but refrain from overly emotional arguments. Avoid conceding any points from the other side or apologizing for your position. Also, if you have any family, business, or political connection to the issue, explain that connection. It may serve to help you and your position stand out.

Close your letter by reiterating your position, and state whether you are a member of the official’s district or how else you are connected. Be sure to include a note of appreciation for their dedication and hard work. Make certain to list your contact information (address, telephone number and e-mail address), and inform them you can provide them with more information if they are interested.

The suggested address and salutations for state and federal legislators:
The Honorable ___________
Dear Senator ___________/Dear Representative ___________/Dear Assemblyman or Assemblywoman ___________/Dear Delegate ___________ (these depend on each individual state’s titles for representatives)

•Senator Joe Hune 22nd District
Committee Chair
505 Farnum Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Phone: (517) 373-2420
Fax: (517) 373-2764

•Senator Darwin L. Booher 35th District
Majority Vice Chair
520 Farnum Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Phone: (517) 373-1725
Fax: (517) 373-0741

•Senator Judy K. Emmons 33rd District
1005 Farnum Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Phone: (517) 373-3760
Fax: (517) 373-8661

•Senator Geoff Hansen 34th District
420 Farnum Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Phone: (517) 373-1635
Fax: (517) 373-3300

•Senator John J. Gleason 27th District
PO BOX 30036
Lansing, MI 48909
Tollfree: 866-268-2914
Office: 517-373-0142
Fax: 517-373-3938

•Senator Steven Bieda, 25th District
Primary Bill Sponsor
310 Farnum Building
PO BOX 30036
Lansing, MI 48909
Office: 517-373-8360
Fax: 517-373-9230

•Senator Rick Jones, 24th District
915 Farnum Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Phone:(517) 373-3447
By Fax:(517) 373-5849

•Senator Tory Rocca, 10th District
205 Farnum Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536 (517) 373-7315 (517) 373-3126

•Senator Mike Kowall, 15th District
305 Farnum Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
Phone:(517) 373-1758
Fax:(517) 373-0938

Established in 1898, the United Kennel Club is the largest all-breed performance-dog registry in the world, registering dogs from all 50 states and 25 foreign countries. More than 60 percent of its 15,000 annually licensed events are tests of hunting ability, training, and instinct. UNITED KENNEL CLUB prides itself on its family-oriented, friendly, educational events. To find out more about registration and events, call or visit our website. Phone: (269) 343-9020; Fax: (269) 343-7037; www.ukcdogs.com.

To find out more about UKC registration and events, call or visit our website.
United Kennel Club, Inc. 100 E. Kilgore Rd., Kalamazoo MI 49002-5584
Phone: (269) 343-9020; Fax: (269) 343-7037; www.ukcdogs.com