New York, NY - The AKC has learned that the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the Doris Day Animal League's (DDAL) petition to appeal a case against the USDA that would have made all residential breeders of dogs and cats subject to federal licensing and inspection. The decision, which upholds an earlier ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, supports the current exemption of residential breeders who sell dogs only at retail from regulation under the Animal Welfare Act.
"We are pleased with the Supreme Court's decision to deny DDAL's petition," stated James Holt, AKC's Government Relations Consultant. "Congress did not intend for small hobby breeders to be regulated by the federal government."
Currently, the Animal Welfare Act covers only persons who sell dogs at wholesale, but the lawsuit filed by DDAL would also have brought under coverage people who sell dogs at retail from their homes. In January 2003, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the U.S. Department of Agriculture's interpretation that people who sell dogs at retail from their own homes fall under "retail pet store" exemption of the Act. An amicus curaie or "friend of the court" brief filed by AKC supported the USDA's position that hobby breeders who sell only at retail are exempt from the Act. The Appeals Court also agreed that these persons already are subject to state and local laws to prevent cruelty and that there is already a great deal of oversight by breed registries such as the AKC. AKC performs over 4000 inspections of private breeding facilities--including homes, commercial breeders and pet stores--each year.
"No group is more concerned about the humane treatment of dogs than the AKC," noted Noreen Baxter, AKC's Vice President for Public Education and Legislation. "We support strong enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act and believe that its current interpretation will allow the USDA to focus its attention where it's needed most."