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New Jersey Tries Again to Regulate Small-Scale Breeders

Since 2006 various legislators in New Jersey have tried to enact a law to regulate breeders who sell more than five puppies per year or have more than two breeding dogs.

The latest is out of the Assembly, sponsored by Assemblyman Timothy J. Eustace (D) of Paramus, N.J.

A736 was introduced on Jan. 10, 2012, and referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, as were previous similar bills.

The bill’s stated purpose is to regulate what it calls “puppy mills” within the state and prevent dealers outside New Jersey from transporting massive numbers of puppies, raised in unknown and possibly abusive and unhealthy environments, into the state for sale in pet shops.

“It is definitely one of the worst kinds of bills that we’ve seen as far as restrictions,” said Lisa Peterson, director of communications for the American Kennel Club.

One of its provisions – that a bitch could only have one litter per year – has been cropping up more and more in proposed legislation, she said.

Although the bill is identical to one introduced in 2010, “It goes far beyond what the previous ones [to that] have proposed,” she added. “It’s certainly something that we’re going to be following very closely and very carefully.”

Under A736, anyone selling or offering to sell more than five dogs per year would be considered a breeder, subject to all the law’s conditions. “Any building or other structure, or area whether indoor or outdoor,” where more than two dogs are housed for the purpose of selling their puppies “for any purpose” would be a “breeding facility.”

The proposed law defines similar environmental requirements that other states have tried to impose, such as air circulation, temperature, enclosure size and materials, cleanliness, etc. In addition, it defines veterinary care and exercise standards.

It also offers a commission of at least $250 to anyone reporting a breeder suspected of operating outside the parameters of the law if it turns out to be true.

“This to me just cries out to be a witch hunt,” Peterson said. “Something like that really opens up the door to allowing unqualified individuals to put responsible people at risk.”

Another concern with the bill, Peterson said, is that it “lumps all breeders into one sub-standard category.”

When a similar bill was introduced in 2008, the New Brunswick [N.J.] Kennel club issued a statement saying, “The details of A1591 make it obvious that it intends to stop the breeding of dogs and cats in New Jersey. This bill is not pro-animal, not even pro-consumer; it is simply anti-breeder.”

The law would also apply to cat breeders.

Assemblyman Eustace’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

To read the bill, click here.

Written by

Susan Chaney has been on the editorial side of publishing since 1990, starting her career as a newspaper features writer and editor. A lifelong lover of dogs, Susan has lived with German Shepherds, Labs, Yorkies, an Irish Setter, a Great Dane-Bloodhound mix, a Sheltie and currently a Chihuahua mix of unknown pedigree. She was the editor of Dog Fancy magazine, content editor of DogChannel.com and group editor of Dog World, Dogs USA, Puppies USA, Natural Dog, Cat Fancy, Cats USA and Kittens USA from March 2005 to December 2009 when she left her position to work at home, part-time. Susan lives in Long Beach, Calif., with her artist husband, Tim, that Chi mix and two big cats. As an editor and writer for Best In Show Daily, she is reveling in the amalgam of three loves: writing, editing and dogs.
  • Ann January 21, 2012 at 6:36 PM

    I sincerely hope that websites like Best in Show Daily, organized by dedicated dog people, can help those of us who are hobby breeders–who study and consider every possible eventuality before breeding even one litter, who health test all of our breeding dogs, who carefully screen every home before letting a puppy go, and who spend more money on our dogs than we’ll ever make–to get the message out that we CANNOT be painted with the same brush as horrific puppy mills. Legislation that lumps hobby breeders and puppy mills into one category is absurd, and counterproductive to providing healthy, happy pets to families who want a purebred dog so that they will have an idea of what to expect for the life of their new family member.

    • Dan January 31, 2012 at 3:03 PM

      Wow, That was great. It is staggering to read some of the proposed legislation. There must be a way to determine the differences from quality hobby breeders, from pet mills, whether purebred or mixed breed. I have seen so many dedicated breeder’s work and strive for perfection and stunned by the pet mills or pitbulls, and mixed breeds as it pops up frequently.

      Maybe acquired or breeding champions or titled dogs could be a start for establishing those who want and strive for success as opposed to those who do not even own a pooper scooper.

      Thanks for sharing


  • elvbend
    Amy January 24, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    I just stumbled across this page and I am impressed. Thank you for publishing the information about NJ bill A736. Every dog breeder in the country should be aware that this type of legislation is being pushed, in some form, in virtually every state of the country.

  • Dan Sayers
    Dan Sayers January 24, 2012 at 8:19 PM

    Welcome, Amy! We’re glad you “stumbled” our way and encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter. We’ll be keeping our readers informed of similar bills being proposed throughout the country.

  • Jenna February 19, 2012 at 2:02 PM

    I understand that you carefully breed your dogs. These laws are trying to stop the mistreatment of dogs in puppy mills. How else do you stop puppy mills without legislation?

  • Mr.D February 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM

    $250 to rat out breeders?
    Oh brother.
    Nobody likes snitches, especially when they are being hired by taxpayer dollar.

  • Kittens For Sale NJ December 27, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can’t wait to read lots of your post.

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