Commercial dog breeders; definition, requirements, penalty. (HB538)

Introduced By

Del. Bobby Orrock (R-Thornburg)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Commercial dog breeding operations; penalty. Defines commercial breeders as persons who maintain 20 or more unsterilized adult females for commercial breeding purposes. Commercial breeders will be required to: (i) apply for a business license from their respective locality; (ii) cooperate with inspections by animal control officers to ensure compliance with state and federal animal care laws; (iii) create a fire emergency plan and install fire safety measures; (iv) maintain records of animal sales, purchases, breeding history, and veterinary care; (v) dispose of dead dogs and confined waste in accordance with law; and (vi) maintain no more than 50 adult dogs at one time. Commercial breeders that violate any of these provisions are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. Pet shops must ensure that their dogs are purchased from dealers that are properly registered and licensed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Read the Bill »


03/09/2008: Passed the General Assembly


01/07/2008Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/08 083233672
01/07/2008Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
01/17/2008Assigned ACNRsub: #1 Agriculture
01/18/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB538)
01/25/2008Impact statement from DHCD (HB538)
01/30/2008Reported from Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources with substitute (12-Y 9-N) (see vote tally)
01/30/2008Committee substitute printed 083268672-H1
01/30/2008Referred to Committee on Appropriations
02/01/2008Assigned App. sub: Economic Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources(Cox)
02/06/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB538H1)
02/08/2008Reported from Appropriations with substitute (17-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
02/09/2008Committee substitute printed 081215672-H2
02/09/2008Read first time
02/11/2008Read second time
02/11/2008Committee substitute from ACNR rejected 083268672-H1
02/11/2008Committee substitute from Appropriations agreed to 081215672-H2
02/11/2008Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB538H2
02/12/2008Read third time and passed House (91-Y 6-N)
02/12/2008VOTE: --- PASSAGE (91-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/12/2008Communicated to Senate
02/13/2008Substitute bill reprinted 081215672-H2
02/13/2008Constitutional reading dispensed
02/13/2008Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources
02/20/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB538H2)
02/25/2008Reported from Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources with substitite (14-Y 1-N)
02/25/2008Committee substitute printed 083282672-S1
02/25/2008Rereferred to Finance
02/27/2008Reported from Finance with amendment (16-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/28/2008Constitutional reading dispensed (39-Y 0-N)
02/29/2008Passed by for the day
03/03/2008Read third time
03/03/2008Reading of substitute waived
03/03/2008Committee substitute agreed to 083282672-S1
03/03/2008Committee amendment rejected
03/03/2008Reading of amendment waived
03/03/2008Passed by for the day
03/04/2008Read third time
03/04/2008Amendment #1 by Senator Colgan withdrawn
03/04/2008Reading of amendment waived
03/04/2008Amendment #2 by Senator Colgan agreed to
03/04/2008Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute with amendment HB538S1
03/04/2008Passed Senate with substitute with amendment (34-Y 5-N)
03/04/2008Reconsideration of Senate passage agreed to by Senate (40-Y 0-N)
03/04/2008Passed Senate with substitute with amendment (37-Y 3-N)
03/05/2008Placed on Calendar
03/05/2008Senate substitute agreed to by House 083282672-S1 (94-Y 5-N)
03/05/2008VOTE: --- ADOPTION (94-Y 5-N)
03/05/2008Senate amendment agreed to by House (68-Y 31-N)
03/05/2008VOTE: --- ADOPTION (68-Y 31-N)
03/07/2008Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB538ER)
03/07/2008Signed by Speaker
03/09/2008Signed by President
03/10/2008Impact statement from DPB (HB538ER)
04/11/2008Governor's recommendation received by House


JONH BROWN writes:


Bob Kane writes:

The Humane Society of the U.S. failed three times in its attempt to impose federal licensing and 60 pages of regulations on hobby dog breeders. Each time the U.S. Congress refused to amend the federal Animal Welfare Act to include breeders that sell at retail. Its merger partner also lost a federal lawsuit challenging the same USDA provision. The American Veterinary Medical Association, U.S. canine and cat registries and tens of thousands of pet owners opposed these efforts. HSUS publicly announced in December 2007 that it was carrying its federal hobby breeder regulation fight to Virginia and hired high-priced Richmond lobbyists. HB538, HB690, HB691 and other bills are the result. Note carefully: HB538 breeches the dog breeder regulatory distinction that has prevailed nationwide since 1970. This bill far exceeds federal law in its scope. It defines "commercial breeder" to include anyone with a large kennel that sells a single dog at retail or wholesale. Every breeding must be veterinarian approved. All kennels, identified through state tax filings, classified ads or the "gotcha" rabies database dog licensing system, will be screened for size and subject to unannounced, no warrant inspections. No kennel may have more than 50 animals older than four months of age at any time. Violation penalties for any provision include possible Class 1 misdemeanor fines and jailing for up to twelve months. HB538 is a very close relative to HSUS's disastrous federal "PAWS" bill, which was defeated in 2006 and again in November 2007. Only the cosmetics differ. This is extraordinarily bad, poorly crafted, ill considered legislation. The bill's legal conflicts and negative policy and fiscal impacts are staggering.

Walt Hutchens writes:

The plain intent of HB 538 is to eliminate the lawful commercial breeding of dogs in Virginia. If such a bill were proposed for any other business -- cardiac surgeons, car repair guys for Japanese cars, Italian restaurants, whatever -- the first two questions would be "What will Virginians do when they're gone -- where will we get that product or service?" -- and "How much does the state owe the people whose legitimate businesses we're killing and how will we pay it?"

Why aren't these questions being discussed for the proposed elimination of about 20% of Virginia's dog supply for the sole reason that it comes from commercial breeding businesses?

We know exactly why HSUS promotes this kind of law: Making pet ownership harder, more expensive, and less satisfactory is the business they're in and they make excellent money doing it. What's less clear is why Del. Orrock has tarnished his generally conservative, no-nonsense reputation by sponsoring such destructive and expensive rubbish.

Angela McCalla writes:

Anything the HSUS supports with its well-coiffed, highly paid, so-called "experts" must be opposed, as this Animal Rights organization scams the public into believing there are bags of dead puppies on every corner.

The Virginia General Assembly has more important things to take care of in this session than to worry about a non-existent problem created by HSUS hyperbole.

Mallory Cosby Driskill writes:

My concern is that where will this stop? I have raised and shown dogs for over 30 years. Any dog that is not found to be show potential is sold on a spay.neuter contract which I enforce. If I have concerns, I don't let that puppy go. Even though I am a very small time breeder, maybe a litter in a year, I have been inspected twice by the American Kennel Club, and have passed.
I do NOT sell to pet shops and as a pet groomer, refused to groom dogs for anyone raising them for pet shops. My concern is that these people are raising mixed dogs and selling them as "designer dogs".
And if the State of Virginia decides to pass this bill, where do they think the pet shops will turn? They will import all these puppies from Mo/Kan etc which they do already also.
This is nothing more than to take away a wonderful hobby I have. And dog show exhibitors, we VOTE, we get hotel rooms, we use gas to travel, we eat at the various locations in a city. Salem Civic Center will be the first to tell you, the dog show there is second only in money making for them to the horse show held there.
If they want to do something about the pet shop business, then regulate them, not make the rest of us pay for their crimes!!
If they think for a minute that dog show people won;t remember WHO voted for something like this, they better realize, they are quite wrong.

Scottee Meade writes:

Virginia does not need to spend money enacting and enforcing legislation that duplicates what is already being done by the Federal government. We have much more important things on which to spend our money.

Roberta Pliner writes:

I can't say it better than Bob Kane and Angela
McCalla did. HB 538 is not only a terrible law
that would be extremely expensive to enforce, but it is the proverbial prescription in search of the non-existent patient. The Commonwealth of Virginia is not churning out puppies by the truckload to be sold in pet shops. On the contrary, most of the puppies in Virginia pet shops are imported from other states. HB 538 wouldn't change that at all, or if it did by putting some Virginia breeders out of business, then more dogs would just be imported from out-of-state with consequent loss to the Commonwealth's economy and treasury. In other words, whether it's dogs or cars or apples, if Virginians are prevented from producing a product, then the economy of Virginia suffers, and the tax base for other public necessities is diminished.

Karen Peak writes:

HB 538 is misguided and bill such as this are unenforcable, easy to get around by the few who would abuse it, etc. I am a dog trainer and many of my clients have pet shop pups. Not one over seven years came from a VA puppy mill. Most were from Missouri and Pennsylvania. HB 538 can be circumvented very easily and already is. And what of the financial impact of these bills. The ultimate goals of animal rights groups it to end all animal "enslavement." They fail to mention how much money those of us breeding and exhibiting and already policing ourselves put into the local and national economy. I have crunched numbers and it is staggering.

As of now, there are over 160 dog events with the American Kennel Club scheduled in the Commonwealth in 2008. This does not include United Kennel Club events or events of other venues. It is common for there to be 1,000 dogs or more at various events. At an average range of entry fee from $25 - $30, in entry fees alone, the dog events scheduled in the Commonwealth could bring in over $400,000 to the local economy. Even if we half that as some shows are smaller, some entries may be less, etc., that is still over $200,000! What of the hotels and campgrounds where out of town exhibitors may stay, the various eating establishments they will go to, etc., would feel some level of affect. Every time I go to a Starbucks or 7-11 on the way to a dog event, something I would not do but for that event, I am contributing to the local economy.

What vendors are at local dog shows? Over the years, I have seen: dog supplies, clothing, antiques, books, jewelry, sign makers, massage therapists. Then there are those who provide food, port-a-potties, security/local police (traffic details) and the hiring of emergency medical staff for humans and animals to clean up crews. Dog clubs have to rent facilities. How much do these facilities cost to rent? How much money will dog shows put into the local economy in one state? How much will those who compete with dogs contribute to the national economy? I feel comfortable stating millions of dollars nationally every year.

Who will make up for the loss of revenue should these laws shut us down or at least limit us? Will PeTA, the HSUS or the legislator backing a bill write my state a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars? Will they do this every year? No.

HB 538 will negatively affect those of us wo are putting thousands of dollars into the economy every year. From a purely financial standpoint, this bill cannot go through.

Sandi Coy writes:

We as responsible dog owners need to take back our dogs. I for one am very tired of these fanatics trying to tell me how to care for my dogs and that they need psychological counciling? Not only that but your wonderful animal rights groups have made the statements that it would be for the best if the American Pit Bull Terrier breed were to dissapear ("for their own good"). What a bunch of hog wash.
Why should we be forced to get rid of an American Icon? Did they forget "Petey"? He was an APBT. How about Sgt. Stubby? One of the most decorated veterns of WWII. He too was an APBT.
To bring us to modern times you have Popcicle. He is the most decorated dog in the annals of the border patrol. He has found more drugs and made more busts than any other dogs in history. Oh yeah, by the way, he too is an APBT.
HSUS and PeTA are using things that happened to make themselves rich. When Michael Vick's dogs were first taken, HSUS started asking for donations to "help these poor dogs". They did not have the dogs and were not involved in their care so why should they have been asking for monies? Is that not akin to prostitution?
HSUS runs no shelters and gives minimal amounts of its vast resources to shelters across the world, they are busy taking lots of money in but, where does it all go? Not to help the animals. Kind of like money laundering in its own way.
PeTA DOES run a shelter with a kill rate of greater than 97% when every other shelter in the area is about 35%. Why do they call it a shelter? I know slaughter houses that do not have that high a kill rate.
I have given you freely of my opinion. Now I will tell you about facts. HSUS and PeTA are currently engaged in a war against the American Pet owners. They are waging a smear campaign. If they can not get you to follow them willingly they will get your local government to harrass you and take your animals away from you. I know this to be fact. I am a victim of these very tactics.

Gerbera writes:

Not one over seven years came from a VA puppy mill.

How do you know this?

You talk about dog shows...what dog show dog is bought at a regular pet store? Those dogs, at least the ones being shown in reputable shows, are coming from professional breeders who aren't producing dozens and dozens of dogs each year. Dog shows will go on just fine without puppy mills.

Preethi writes:

I am aware of several sincere dog lovers including myself that have been rejected as not adopable parents for the HSUS puppies. The reasons were silly. Having been rejected by HSUS, I resorted to brining home a pure bred. In further dealings with the HSUS, I have arrived at the conclusion that they deliberately reject potential dog owners to put down a certain number of animals each month. This way they can justify pushing various laws to make our lives difficult in the name of preventing animal deaths.

I say that over population of animals is not the issue here (especially comapred to the number of humans), the real issue is that one can get away with abandoning an animal. Can a parent get away with abandoning a child?, why is a dependent animal treated any different.

I also pointed to a HSUS volunteer that cutting down the supply of puppies will only lead to artificial inflation in the price to obtain one - many middle class families will be stripped off the joy of owning a dog.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

I also pointed to a HSUS volunteer that cutting down the supply of puppies will only lead to artificial inflation in the price to obtain one - many middle class families will be stripped off the joy of owning a dog.

There's really no danger of that.

Jayne Ellison writes:

The breeders are only worried about making money - they DON'T care about the dogs.

Take a close look at websites like My Dog Votes - a REALLY close look - and you'll find they're supported by the same major corporations who have shipped our jobs overseas, struck trade agreements that hurt the U.S. economy, have lobbyists in place to ensure their positions and are after one thing and one thing only: MONEY.

The profits that are made from unregulated breeding are astronomical and the groups who oppose standards of care for breeder dogs will use any type of scare tactic they can think of to fool you into believing their lies.

If anyone else tried to create perfection in a living creature.... oh, wait. Someone DID try that with disastrous results. Oh, and didn't that group have some pretty good propaganda that scared people into conformity?

Be care whom you believe. Those who are screaming the loudest care very little about you and absolutely NOTHING about the dogs.

As for AKC breeders, some are good, some aren't. Take a look at Cheryl Magnotta in PA - an AKC breeder who allowed 21 Great Danes to starve to death. She even nailed the kennel doors closed so the dogs couldn't escape and fend for themselves.


Ethical and responsible breeders should WELCOME legislation that will set them apart from those who don't care about their dogs and who make those who do look bad.

Since when is there anything wrong with establising laws that keeps people accountable?

In a society that's largely based upon exploitation it is not unreasonable that someone finally begins to look out for "Man's Best Friend".... that is except for those who seemingly object too loudly and, to dogs, might be considered "Dog's Worst Enemy - Man."

The legislation that's proposed is reasonable, sound. After the bust at Junior Horton's place, Virginians should WELCOME these important changes.

No one's trying to take anyone's rights to have a dog and those who care for their dogs responsibly have nothing to fear.... except those trying to manipulate the truth by using scare tactics that are completely false and laughable.

Like I said, take a good look at the financial supporters of groups opposing canine legislation that promotes a standard of care to which these companion animals are entitled.... you will be surprised by what you find.

B. Haywood -CEO - My Dog Votes writes:

To Jayne Ellison -

As the Founder, Owner and CEO of My Dog Votes, I suggest you do your homework before you casually throw the name of my company around in such a capricious nature.

I'd like to respond to your comment,
"Take a close look at websites like My Dog Votes - a REALLY close look - and you'll find they're supported by the same major corporations who have shipped our jobs overseas, struck trade agreements that hurt the U.S. economy, have lobbyists in place to ensure their positions and are after one thing and one thing only: MONEY"."

I find your assertions repugnant, comical - even laughable.

It would seem that you are suggesting, Jayne, that my tiny company is single-handedly more powerful that the globalists that have sucked the lifeblood out of the American economy. It would also seem that you are inferring that I am a greedy, evil dog-breeding puppymiller that exploits innocent animals to the detriment of society and even the planet.

Well, Jayne - let me set the record straight for you.

My Dog Votes is a campaign supply company that sells political style campaign products - bumper stickers, t-shirts, campaign buttons, etc. which bear the TRADEMARK "My Dog Votes" and the TRADEMARKED paw print.

I founded the company as a means to express my sentiments to local politicians that are fond of breed bans and to send them a clear message that if they vote to ban my dog - and YES - I own a "pitbull", then my dog will be happy to vote them out of office - hence My Dog Votes.

While we are technically a for profit company - there has yet to be any profit whatsoever, the company has run in the red - meaning out of my own pocket - for four years.

My Dog Votes also underwrites the country's ONLY national, nonpartisan GOTV - Get Out The Vote campaign aimed at increasing voter participation by dog owners at the local level.

Our full page public service campaign runs in dog magazines across the country due to the good graces of the publishers that support the three key messages: Register To Vote, Your Vote Matters and Local Elections Count.

So let's review, Jayne, shall we?

My Dog Votes is a socially-responsible campaign supply company founded with a corporate mission of Saving Dogs & Democracy.

At the end of the day, Jayne, I find that your comments here are completely false in nature and you have deliberately impugned the reputable of my company.

I strongly suggest that you publicly retract your comments and apologize for defaming the My Dog Votes name.

Barbara Haywood
My Dog Votes

Moonflower writes:

The rabid animal rights activists want to totally eliminate the hobby breeding of purebred dogs and cats and this bill is just one of their many efforts to do so. Anything supported by H$U$ should be questioned thoroughly.

HRB writes:

I firmly believe that our current cruelty and neglect laws, existing licensing regulations including those pertaining to hobby kennel owners , the required USDA license for wholesale pet dealers, leash laws, noise ordinances and inspections will cover every problem you could have with dogs. The fact of the matter is municipalities aren't enforcing the laws already on the books! As a responsible hobby breeder and exhibitor ,active in my national breed parent clubs for over 25 years,I understand the importance of selective breeding,carefull screening of my puppies homes, spay neuter contracts on all pets ,as well as my committment to every puppy I sell for a lifetime. HB538 will do nothing to stop indiscriminate breeding. HB538 will however end responsible breeding in Virginia.

legallyblonde writes:

I know all of these people who are writing & voting NO to this Bill are all on Hutchens' PET-LAW list. They are ALL breeders! Hutchens breeds Whippets & all these ...mostly dumb women are his groupies! He remains the Virginia Bloviator!

legallyblonde writes:

one other thing: sandi coy "went to LA. & supposedly "rescued" Pit Bulls & took them back to her home & BREEDS THEM! She is currently under investigation for animal cruelty!

Robin Harrison writes:

And just why is "breeder" a dirty word, Karen... errr... "legallyblonde"?

Roberta Pliner writes:

Chill out, "legallyblonde", we who voted no
on HB 538 are not all groupies of Walt Hutchens,
quite the opposite. Of the 18 people commenting
on this bill, 14 are opposed to it. Of those
14, only 6 have ever participated in Walt Hutchens' lists, and of those 6, one dropped
off his lists, another mostly just argues
with him, and the other 4 are only occasional
contributors. Hardly a group of groupies.

As for breeders, it's original sin to breed
dogs??? You really need to get a life and stop
telling everyone else how to live theirs.

Gregory P. Thompson writes:


You need to get your facts straight, if indeed facts are important to you. I have NEVER bred a dog in my life. I have only owned ONE dog my whole life.

But I don't like the control that people like you are seeking to exert over other people's lives and their perfectly wholesome and legal activities in the name of protecting animals. This is about wiping out pet ownership and this legislation would be another step towards it. It hurts people, families, dogs, businesses, and more, plus is government intrusion where it doesn't belong.

By the way, WHO are YOU, and what is your real name and affiliations?

P.S. Who is Walt Hutchins?

Deb Thompson writes:

There are already laws in place that address abuse and neglect. The reason we hear about abuse and neglect cases IS because there ARE laws in place that deal with abuse and neglect, and they are being successfully used to deal with such cases as has been aforementioned.

These kind of anecdotal scenarios are merely a smokescreen. Virginia's laws are quite adequate at identifying and prosecuting animal neglect and abuse.

Proud Pit Bull Owner writes:

I am a voter and MY DOGS DO VOTE! Bills like this never get very specific and always end up anti-breeding and BSL bills in the end. These bills are unconstitutional and should never be passed. Instead make cruelty charges more severe. The only people that are ever effected by bills like this are the good owners/breeders and law abiding citizens. VOTE NO!

Deb Thompson writes:

Walt Hutchins is the owner/moderator of the Yahoo Groups VA Pet-Law and Pet-Law lists. He is very well versed in AR strategy which is hell-bent on destroying the relationship between man and animals. He devotes much of his life to protecting pet owners rights (and thus their animals) through bad legislation from which we have been under-sieged by AR proponents. ARs seem to believe that breeding healthy, temperamentally sound, well-socialized, and desirable pups in your home is a crime?!!! I know of no better place to procure a pup!

Proud Pit Bull Owner writes:

I am a breeder and i will proudly say that. I breed of course Pit Bulls. They are healthy, sound, vet checked always, and i only have one female that I am breeding at this time. So what is the problem, and since when did this become such a horrible thing. Not everyone wants a shelter dog with unknown backgrounds, problems, and vices. My dogs are raised around small children, cats, other dogs, worked every day, ect... Find something to do other then but into other peoples lives. You won't catch the REAL criminals this way, it will only damage good homes and families. And by the way the money I do make from the pups, goes right back into the dogs, pups are not sold without a signed contract, and pups will come back to ME NOT A SHELTER if the owner can't have them anymore.

I have a good home, 36 acres, and steady income with vet references, but because I have small children i couldn't get my breed of choice "Pit Bull", from a shelter. Instead they repeatedly took my "application fee" and told me no. Fair? I don't think so. Plus most shelters in my area and across the country put down Pit Bulls on site. Fair? Again NO! And as for recue groups, they want more for their damaged, sick unpredictable dog, then a breeder wants for their sound, stable, healthy puppies.

I used to work for a rescue group and the only thing I saw was people padding their pockets, and it wasn't just the one I worked for. Sorry not every dog needs to be spayed or neutered, and not every dog is deathly ill. And then MOST of them give the dog to the highest bidder.

So if anything needs to be monitored it is the shelters and the rescue groups.

Rescue Dog OWNER writes:

I have owned 2 shelter dogs, and both of them were at least 50% purebred lab or golden retriever in ancestry... both one of the most popular breeds of dogs, PURPOSE bred to work closely with a handler for hunting, highly responsive to people.

One served as a therapy dog, and the other is now serving as a service dog. Both were neutered. The one who was neutered earliest had the most fearfulness. My next dog I intend to use for service, I hope to delay spay or neuter until 18 months for best bone and emotional health.

While I completely love my mixed-breeds and appreciate their non-retriever heritage, the fact remains that their retriever heritage contributed considerably to their suitability for their work and as pets. These parents were allowed to breed and whelp in good homes that gave them early positive experience with humans, as was key for their normal social development.

Both were given to the shelter because of abusive or neglectful owners, not abusive breeders. I also have friends who got wonderfully tempered retrievers from VIRGINIA breeders.

I do not want to get my dogs from aboard or from remote kennels meeting USDA standards with concrete drains, lack of human contact, because that would absolutely ruin the puppy to be the kind of dog I need.

Both of my dogs were so traumatized by their shelter experience that they developed confinement and separation anxiety to varying degrees. My present dog, I can never kennel with strangers thanks to the ever-so-humane shelter experience.

In short, there are people who are absolutely capable of taking care of many dozens of dogs, and people who can't take care of even one.

And there are law enforcement who can certainly act on a few animal abusers with due speed, and other law enforcement that can ignore puppy mills for years.

Let us not confuse the real issue here by blocking people's liberty simply because existing laws were not properly enforced.

How could anybody ignore hundreds of dogs being abused? They bark, they whine, they fight, they yelp. They smell if not properly taken care of.

Where were the animal control and police for those puppymills? Why didn't they care?

That's the real question-- not "why isn't there a law barring big commerical operations?"

Sheila in NJ writes:

I am a cat owner (not a breeder) and I live in New Jersey. I've never yet owned a purebred cat, but I'd like to someday. I'm interested in seeing this bill shot down because what passes in one state will inevitably be attempted in others. In fact, we have our own Draconian anti-breeder bill that's just been introduced into our state legislature.

There is no need for these bills. Cruelty laws (and leash laws for dogs) exist in just about every jurisdiction in the United sttes. If these laws are enforced evenhandedly, there will be many fewer incidents involving neglect/abuse/cruelty towards animals, and way less unintended breeding!

To see the real agenda of HSUS and PETA, check out the NAIA web site, especially the quotes page: and other web sites that expose the motives of these groups through their own words, such as this site:

To find out that PETA kills 4/5 or more of the animals that enter its "shelter" in Virginia (while shelters in neighboring towns find homes for 2/3 or more of their intake) check out

The misnamed "Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare" is a fellow traveler of HSUS and PETA.

Sandi Coy writes:

Legally Blond, you need to get your facts straight. What you have written is both libalis and slanderous. I am not under investigation for cruelty to animals and as for breeding un-registered Katrina dogs, you have to be joking! I have better blood lines than that on my yard and have NEVER bred a rescue dog. If it is not registered then how do you know it is pure bred? You don't. I don't want that kind of trash coming from my bloodlines.
Now, friendly advise, retract what you have said or talk to my lawyer. That is why I pay him big bucks.

Vickie Littleton writes:

Jayne Ellison writes:

The breeders are only worried about making money - they DON'T care about the dogs.
Oh, PLEASE! You would know that--how? I know a wide cross section of purebred dog breeders and exhibitors in a variety of canine sports. You couldn't find a group of people who care more about animals and less about their own pocketbooks. there's an old saying: "There MUST be money in dogs--I keep putting it there!"--Really a wry observation that breeding dogs responsibly is a VERY expensive hobby, not a way to make a buck. The money we make from the sales of a few well-bred puppies every couple of years does not even pay our feed bill for that year--let alone the vet bills or the entry fees for that year. We are not commercial breeders but we are adamantly opposed to HB 538 and other legislation like it. Virginia already has fair and just animal welfare laws--these good laws need to be enforced, not endlessly made more burdensome, complicated, and difficult to enforce.

Vickie Littleton
Proud breeder, slipper, and exhibitor of purebred Borzoi

Gerbera writes:

I hate it when people from listserves or message boards show up and talk to each other without letting the rest of us know what is going on.

I asked it on the other bill's page: Why do we need commercial breeding? What would be so bad about commercial breeding going away?

Alice Harrington writes:

Gerbera asks - Why do we need commercial breeding? What would be so bad about commercial breeding going away?

Let's look at this as a market. We need suppliers at all levels. We estimate Virginia needs about 170,000 dogs a year to meet demand. Commercial breeders meet about a third of that market, or about 56,000 a year. There is no way small, hobby breeders can supply that number of dogs, each and every year. So if we eliminate commercial breeders/suppliers where will people in Virginia get their dogs? Two places--1) from out-of-state breeders that do not have to comply with Virginia laws and 2)foreign countries, many of whom have no animal welfare laws at all. These sources would not be "around" if a problem developed and it would be very difficult to get a remedy.

So, while we would all like for all puppies to be raised in our family rooms/kitchens it is not a realistic way to supply all the puppies people want. Better to have viable farms that can be regulated under existing Federal and Virginia law than the economic model that would result under HB 538. Hope this helps. Alice

Ah yes writes:

Alice, what's the source of your numbers? Good info.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

So if we eliminate commercial breeders/suppliers where will people in Virginia get their dogs? Two places--1) from out-of-state breeders that do not have to comply with Virginia laws and 2)foreign countries, many of whom have no animal welfare laws at all.

Aren't you ignoring shelters, rescues, etc?

John W writes:

It seems that the voice of money is here. ALL puppymills should be shut down! They do not help the betterment of any breed nor do they care about their animals, they only care about how much money they can make. That's why they are so against anything that can hurt their wallet. If you are trying to better a breed then you should be selective on what you want to breed to bring out good qualities and work out the bad, not mass produce an animal as fast as you can while keeping the adult dogs trapped in a small pens where they are suffering! "The greatness of a
nation and its moral
progress can be judged
by the way its animals are
treated""I hold that the more
helpless a creature, the
more entitled it is to
protection by man from
the cruelty of man"
~~M. Gandhi (1869-1948)

Thomas writes:

There are many Virginia breeders who support the more-than-reasonable limits of this bill. There cannot be any more incidents of puppy mills in Virginia, it causes the animals to suffer in deplorable conditions, which is appalling to responsible breeders. Virginians do not want a reputation for being a state that allows this kind of animal suffering. Those with basic common-sense will support this bill.

DeniseA writes:

As a Virginia voter and taxpayer I was appalled to learn commercial dog breeders in Virginia number nearly 1,000. And many of these operations churn out puppies in the most deplorable conditions imaginable.

From large-scale operations with hundreds of dogs living in seemingly endless rows of cages to small, crowded kennels in trailers and backyards all across Virginia this mass-production of dogs with little or no oversight for the health and well-being of the animals is inhumane and cruel.

HSUS investigators visited puppy mills of all sizes, as well as pet stores and Virginia-based websites selling dogs. Their discoveries were staggering. Last year in Virginia, humane groups worked hard to expose the truth about the state’s commercial kennels.

Commercial dog breeding facilities(aka Puppymills) are a serious problem all across the U.S. hundreds of dogs in small cages for as long as they can make a profit by selling their puppies. With 3-4 million animals still being euthanized in shelters across the country, it is abhorrent to continue allowing the mass production of dogs.

Last year in Virginia, humane groups worked hard to expose the truth about the state’s commercial kennels. The fact is, the state is filled with dog breeding operations that churn out thousands of puppies many sick, others with genetic defects and disease.

These animals live a life imprisoned in stench and filth with the potential to incubate and spread disease throughout the surrounding community, environment and local wildlife.

The dog waste generated from these operations potentially contain parasites and bacteria that present a health hazard particularly if it is sprayed as fertilizer on food crops that may leach into the groundwater and contaminate the water supply.

Virginia doesn't need to become another state competing for the notorious title of "PuppyMill
Capital of the Nation"

I urge all Virginians to stop this insanity and contact your legislators urging them to support HB538.

Virginia Beach VA

U.S. Marine writes:

As a United State Marine, defender of YOUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH, I am appalled to see such ignorant comments by citizens such as BOB KANE, Walt Hutchens, & Mallory Cosby Driskill. I am embarrassed and uneasy knowing these individuals use the right, which I fight for and have seen others die for, so ignorantly. HB 538 looks out for the protection of animals who would otherwise be under the care of unregulated and many times uneducated backwoods breeders. History has proven, that often the people bitching about these regulations are the one's embarrassing VIRGINIAN'S on CNN, Fox Newsand other news channels when their Puppy Mills are forfeited to the counties they reside in. Bob KANE do you have more than 20 breeding females? No, so this law doesn't apply to you. Instead of Lobbying against HB538, YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUTSIDE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY WITH THE REST OF THE AARP MEMBERS, RALLYING FOR A GOOD CAUSE-Health Care!!! It is a true embarrassment to see these individuals POISONING Progress in the state of Virginia. These People are about as moral as MICHAEL VICK, another animal "activists" Support HB538 for the sake of those animals whose lives will truly be saved from this Bill

-Semper Fi Virginia

jan joyce writes:

I came on this site through the animal cops houston.I am not from the usa but from the uk and i am surprised at some of the attitudes.You may say it has nothing to do with me,but it does i have fostered from the dogs trust here in england.
On one occasion i looked after a west higland terrier bitch called bow she was nearly 8 years and she had been rescued from a puppy mill,
she had been breed near to death,she had no fur on her underneath,had not had any medical care and so afraid of human contact,when i had her she had to have her breasts removed,she will be on tablets for the rest of her life.when they spayed her uterus was a mess.
Im glad to say bow now wags her tail,i dont know any puppy mill owners.I only know the dogs that are treated cruely in the name of profit......
I am not against the liecenced breeders far from it.It may help dogs like bow
why also is the pit bull so feared the dogs are not born bad they are trained and made to be like that, mostley for fighting,so why doesn't the usa make prison time law not just in some states but for the whole of the usa for the people who make their dogs fight and become so untrustworthy that when rescued they have to be put to sleep
Puppy mills are money making machines, but its the cruelty to the dogs that is the real price $$$

Alice Harrington writes:

Source of numbers. OK – I don’t want to turn this into a discourse on evaluation methodology (a subject I love but one that puts most people to sleep.) The first number I had to come up with was how many dogs are in Virginia. I settled on 1.7 million. There are several sources and a range of numbers available. For example, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) calculates about 1.9 million. I think 1.7 million is a conservative, in the middle of the range, number. Next I had to figure out how many dogs would be needed as replacements (dogs die) and growth (as population grows the demand for pets grows). 10 percent is a reasonable replacement/growth factor. That gets us to 170,000 dogs a year. Various sources say about one-third of the supply comes from commercial breeders – that gets us to about 56,000 dogs coming from commercial breeders per year. The actual numbers here are not as important as the relationships between the factors and the effects they have on each other. Do I hear snoring?

What about rescue and shelter dogs? They are in the other two-thirds of the suppliers and not all dogs in that category are adoptable. Also, it is important to remember that commercial breeders are about puppies and rescues and shelters are mostly about non-puppies. If Virginia suppliers cannot meet the demand for puppies you probably could shift part of it to rescue and shelter dogs, (sort of like new cars verses used cars.) But -- if people have their hearts set on a puppy (new car) they are probably going to look for alternate sources and those are out-of-state and foreign imports.

As I said previously, Virginia law cannot be applied to out-of-state businesses and many foreign countries have limited or no animal welfare laws. The puppies from these sources are likely to be lower quality, which creates unhappy customers, which in turn probably increases the rescue and shelter populations with more unhealthy and/or behavior problem dogs – translation bigger population of unadoptable dogs. So, after HB 538 puts all the commercial breeders out of business we have a WORSE situation in Virginia.

VABreeder writes:

DeniseA writes:

As a Virginia voter and taxpayer I was appalled to learn commercial dog breeders in Virginia number nearly 1,000.

But, they don't. There are 21 USDA licensed breeder in VA. The numbers in the HSUS report were purposefully inflated to give a false sense of urgency as to why legislation was needed. It's a well funded PR campaign. They had all the time in the world to pull together their video. If there were truly "nearly 1,000", why weren't more of them shown? Holy've got them contaminating the food chain. Calm down, take a deep breath, and come join us in a place called REALITY.

Mourka writes:

When Florida, Maryland and shelters throughout
Virginia have to clean up the mess of one puppymill that is still permitted to operate, who
pays the thousands of dollars for 900 dogs to be transported, receive medical care, fostered, socialized and then be put up for adoption? You all saw that horrific dump on television that had been torturing dogs and apparently you don't think
Virginia should take steps to prevent it recurrencing because you are responsible and you only have two litters a year and attend shows that
bring a lot of money to the localities where they are held. Your borzois aren't the problem. My shelter has a load of unbeloved pit bulls that somebody bred irresponsibly. As long as you are in the dog business and you keep protesting you put yourselves on the same level as these monsters. Be part of the solution, foster or support the rescue of some of these dogs and fight to bring these hell holes under control or put them out of business.

Gerbera writes:

Aren't you ignoring shelters, rescues, etc?

Exactly what I was thinking. Goodness knows the backyard breeders are supplying us with plenty of puppies.

But, they don't. There are 21 USDA licensed breeder in VA.

So that means 21 licensed breeders and approximately 969 unlicensed breeders.

How many puppy mill breeders spend the time and/or money to get licensed?

I find it hard to believe you're a reputable breeder.

John Witt writes:

DeniseA, how many unlicensed commercial dog breeders are there in Virginia? Alice, comparing a living creature to a inanimate object? Puppies are great, truth be known, they are much more work for the buyer and much less work for the seller, is that why you breeders only sell puppies? There are lots of puppies euthanized or adopted from rescues and shelters, don't make it sound like only breeders provide puppies. You complain about facts being distorted but have no hesitation in distorting the facts when it is in your favor. You sell puppies to provide a service? For how much $50, yeah I bet. This bill does not stop commercial breeders, it just makes them accountable for their actions and makes them responible for the animals in their charge. The only people who would be against this bill are people who are afraid they will get caught mistreating animals or will limit the size of the puppymill so reducing their profits!

John Witt writes:

Sorry DeniseA, I miss read the post, it should be VABreeder to whom my question was directed.

Bark4Progress writes:

ADD "Support HB 538" as your MYSPACE BUDDY!!! We are getting Virginian's and Our Global Supporters to UNITE!!!

Alice Harrington writes:

Large commercial breeders are primarily about puppies. Hobby breeders usually have dogs of all ages available because they are more selective in where they let their dogs go. No hobby breeder I know makes money. In fact, most would be grateful to break even. Genetics/health testing; c-section operations if a momma dog has trouble delivering; feeding, vaccinating, vet care, training, and caring for puppies until they are sold somtimes at 8 to 9 months takes a lot of money that is seldom made up by the sales price.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Just today a guy in SWVA was charged with running a puppy mill. Lanzie Horton Jr., of Carroll County, had more than 1,000 dogs. He's been charged with 14 counts of animal cruelty. Seven hundred of the dogs have been seized.

Concerned Virginian writes:


SHE SUPPORTS PUPPY MILLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Waldo Jaquith writes:

There are 21 USDA licensed breeder in VA.

I've got two breeders on my little gravel road here, up in the mountains. You're telling me I've got 9.5% of all Virginia breeders within a half-mile radius of me?

DeniseA writes:

VABreeder wrote:
"you've got them contaminating the food chain. Calm down, take a deep breath, and come join us in a place called REALITY."

The MN Puppymill battle against McDuffie is still in litigation due to the Morrison County CUP waiving a State mandate for an Environmental Impact Statement to assess the potential for contamination to the surrounding environment from the 600 breeding pair operation.

Apparently the State of MN saw fit to recognize the REALITY of the potential for contamination.

* The county may have violated state law by waving the need for an environmental assessment before the permit was granted. McDuffee's property is adjacent to a wetland area that could be effected by urine and manure run-off into the wetland. Additionally, since McDuffee plans to spread manure from his facility on nearby tillable land, a potential exists to contaminate the area with organisms known to cause disease in wildlife and/or people.

Concerned Virginian writes:

John McCain Supports HB 538!
check out other celebrity supporters on the friends list @

Cindy Crisler writes:

Let me remind everyone that HB538 does not impact hobby breeders. It's about setting minimum standards for large breeding operations that use dogs to make a profit. To them, it's a business, not for a love of the breed. The supporters of this bill simply want better living conditions for dogs that are being bred for a profit. No one is going to be put out of business. They will simply be required to be responsible guardians of the helpless domesticated animals in their care. Don't be so paranoid. No one is proposing a ban on breeding and if that time ever comes, then fight that bill will all of your heart - not this one. Support HB538.

Ah yes writes:

Thanks Alice. And thanks to all the folks here who have publicized the names of Bob Kane and Walt Hutchens.

John writes:

"We can judge the heart
of a Man by his Treatment
of Animals."
~ Immanuel Kant
and women

Prayer for Animals

"Hear our humble prayer,
O God, for our friends the
animals, especially for
animals who are suffering;
for animals that are
overworked, underfed
and cruelly treated;
for all wistful creatures in
captivity that beat their
wings against bars;
for any that are hunted or
lost or deserted or
frightened or hungry;
for all that must be put to
death. We entreat for
them all Thy mercy and
pity, and for those who
deal with them we ask a
heart of compassion
and gentle hands and
kindly words. Make us,
ourselves, to be true
friends to animals,
and so to share the
blessings of the merciful."

- Albert Schweitzer

John writes:

Support this Bill!

John writes:

I have noticed that you can vote as many times as you like if you know how, so the vote count should be disreguarded as it probally is not accurate.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Well, sure, it's possible to cheat. It's quite literally impossible to prevent cheating on any web-based poll. But we have a script that gets run on the voting database periodically, finding suspicious duplicates and erasing them, so the numbers will periodically drift downward.

Deb writes:

Unlike what some think, this bill is NOT against hobby breeders. It's NOT against people who show their dogs and love a specific breed. It's about putting the informal puppy mills out of business.

It's about making a dent in the senseless killing of 42,000+ *adoptatable* dogs in VA each year.

And by the way, it's also about reducing the burden on TAXPAYERS. Our taxes fund our county and city shelters. Shouldn't our $ help save lives and not end them? Couldn't taxpayer resources be better spent than warehousing dogs? (Although shelters are like heaven compared to puppy mills.)

And guess where many of the shelter dogs come from? They're owner turn-ins of former puppies who are no longer cute and little. "The dog chewed, peed, cried in its crate, was too hyper, my kid doesn't want to play with it any more..." the shelter workers have heard it all.

Fortunately many breed rescues help pull dogs before it's too late, but many more aren't so lucky.

What if animal control officers could devote resources to taking care of the real abuse and neglect cases, putting the bad guys in jail, not having to destroy the innocent family pet who got out and lost its tags and wandered too far and was put to sleep due to space because the owner didn't act quickly enough?

Don't our pets deserve better? Don't reputable breeders, hobby breeders, and TRUE dog lovers and people who show dogs deserve better? Don't Virginians deserve better? I think we do.

PLEASE tell your families and friends to call, write and testify in support of HB 538. That awful case in Hillsville is just one...working together we can put the puppy mills on notice.

THANK YOU...John W, Thomas, Denise A, U.S. Marine, Mourka, Gerbera, John A, Cindy, and others supporting this legislation. Together we can fight the good fight.

DOGS DESERVE BETTER...supporting this legislation is one way we can help.

Barbara writes:

Just a few thoughts - I don't think this bill's purpose or result is likely to be a fix of the issue of unwanted pets. Unwanted pets in shelters is, in my opinion, a pretty complex problem that requires multiple solutions. Although I disagree with most of the points in the note referencing it, the Winograd book mentioned above (Redemption) is wonderful and does a good job of talking about how to reduce the number of unwanted pets and find homes for them.

What HB 538 should provide is a tool to identify, inspect, and regulate commercial breeders. Many apparently are not currently getting the required USDA licensing required of breeders who sell to pet shops. Many apparently are in violation of local ordinances, such as the Hillsville breeder, who had several hundred dogs more than he had allowed - presumably unlicensed dogs, as well.

When you have businesses that are not complying with state and local laws, I think it is entirely w/in the right of the state to regulate those businesses. MANY states and localities regulate commercial dog breeding, just like any other industry.

If the problem is that most of these businesses are already operating illegally and may go out of business if they have to obey the law, I don't see how is that a problem?

Commercial dog breeding is a business, not a hobby, and it appears that most commercial dog breeders in VA are not operating within existing state, local, and federal laws. Further, it appears that the current laws don't provide animal control with enough tools to allow efficient or consistent enforcement of existing laws for these commercial breeders.

Most of the arguments against HB 538 appear to be weak. I seriously doubt a third of VA's dog are bred in these places - that is about 3 times what I've seen from other sources, including from AKC Gazette - but if smaller breeders make up any slack in demand, it's a good thing, not a bad thing. Dogs require socialization, and factory farming is not a good way to breed pets.

This bill does not regulate hobby breeders or show breeders. It does a pretty good (not perfect, but pretty good) job at making that distinction.

I do not think breeding is bad - I AM a breeder. Good breeders educate, take back their dogs if the owners can't keep them, and help the new owners with their dog.

I also do rescue. A big chunk of the dogs I get into rescue are from pet shops and commercial breeders who screen credit, not homes, provide no after sales help, and forget about them rehoming dogs that bounce.

I think the near-hysteria built up over this bill is built on inaccuracies and fear. I actually read the bill. It isn't about us. It regulates breeding businesses, not hobby breeders or show breeders. If anything, it helps caring breeders and it helps rescue.

Many breeders support it but are afraid to speak out because emotions are running so high. Many of the people voting and posting against it here aren't even Virginians. I am a breeder and I am for HB 538.

Willard writes:

Thank you for speaking out Barbara! I support this Bill as well.

Cindy Crisler writes:

Very well put, Barbara. And you too, Deb. Thank you both for elaborating. Support HB 538!

Aaron Cowan writes:

Most of the comments here are by for-profit dog breeder lobbyists.

Bob Kane is a lobbyist for the puppy mill industry who also works with the Pennsylvania puppy mill industry. Walt Hutchens sells dogs without a license and is his associate and also a lobbyist. Sandi Coy is a pit bull breeder that has been charged with animal cruelty. And so on.

These people know each other and lobby with each other.

They support unregulated, undocumented, untaxed breeding businesses.

In other words, illegal businesses.

And as the AKC makes most of its money from registering puppy mill puppies, they lobby for puppy mill interests. And work to keep breeders unlicensed and undocumented.

Dog breeding is a very corrupt industry that has escaped detection by its unlicensed status.

Most of these breeders are thus able to hide their income and not pay taxes.

It is quite obvious why the breeding industry would oppose laws that would REQUIRE them run honest businesses and pay taxes.

It is time for breeding businesses to be licensed.

Claire Ward writes:


Thank you for your logical and articulate input. While I am not a breeder, I have a keen interest in dog fancy, have shown dogs and will show dogs in the future. I agree that much of the hoorah over this bill is unwarranted. This bill (and HB 1232 which was folded into this bill) make clear distinctions between puppy mills/commercial breeders and hobby/show breeders.

Based on my reading of this bill, hobby/show breeders have nothing to fear, as they typically do not keep, breed or sell dogs in the volumes specified (20 or more breeding females, 50 or more adult dogs). In fact, I would think that on some level, show/hobby breeders would welcome this bill. People who breed as a hobby do so becuase they love a particular breed of dog and wish to preserve or advance the breed standard. On the other hand, Commercial breeders consider dogs to be an industrial product and produce as many as possible in order to make as much money as possible. They care not a whit for the breed standard. I've seen dogs that were produced by commercial breeders-these animals bear only the slightest resemblance to the breed standard.

However, the non-adherence to breed standard is the least of problems that accompany the commercially bred dog. They frequently have health and socialization issues which result in relinquishment to a shelter or euthanasia.

Dogs have been our loyal companions for centuries-its time to repay some of that loyalty. Support HB538.

Barbara writes:

Aaron, I believe you are sincere, and I actually support this bill, but I disagree with much of what you said.

Many of the comments here are from hobby breeders who are afraid of losing their hobby. In part, those fears are increased by people making comments such as those you made. They are afraid of "foot in the door" legislation that will first regulate commercial breeding, and then eliminate all breeding, including hobby/show/responsible breeding.

Lumping all dog breeding together is not going to help those fears.

Some of the people posting are hobby breeders who are not covered by this bill, but are worried about losing their hobby.

Hobby/show/responsible breeding is not a business. Hobbies of any sort generally are not licensed - for example, you do not need a license of any sort to breed horses, which involves a whole lot more money than dogs.

Breeding at a loss is not going to be a source of tax revenue. Remember, businesses are taxed on profit, not on income, for income tax purposes. Sales taxes do not apply to "occasional sales" - not just for dogs, but for anything.

You may just be talking about commercial breeding. However, when people who fear losing their hobby hear someone go off on "illegal businesses", when what they have is a hobby that is unlikely to ever break even, what they hear is "they are going to take my dogs away."

When you talk about licensing and inspecting their "businesses" which aren't, you are often talking about licensing and inspecting their homes.

Requiring a business license for someone with a couple of dogs in a neighborhood would make it impossible for them to keep their dogs. You can't get a commercial kennel permit in a residential neighborhood, and you have to have a commercial kennel permit for a dog business.

It's not appropriate to require a conditional use permit, business license, and breeder license for someone with a couple of show dogs who breeds a litter every few years.

Those fears are why people who are not affected by this bill are fighting it so hard.

I do support HB 538, but I oppose licensing non-commercial dog breeding.

Bob Kane writes:

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Just today a guy in SWVA was charged with running a puppy mill. Lanzie Horton Jr., of Carroll County, had more than 1,000 dogs. He's been charged with 14 counts of animal cruelty. Seven hundred of the dogs have been seized.

This fight is essentially over. HB538 will become VA law and I now have the time to respond to some of the inaccuracies and malicious distortions posted here. I normally don’t bother with blogs, but will make an exception.

Forget cutesie phrases, mean-spirited characterizations and try see through the media hipe. HB538 duplicates the federal licensing system that registers and inspects all large dog breeders and investigates any dog breeder with four (4) or more females about whom a tip or a legitimate complaint has been received. USDA-APHIS has 5700+ Class A breeders that it monitors and inspects at least once per year, including 14 in Virginia. The feds did 10,000 inspections last year, checking compliance with 60 pages of detailed dog care standards.

Junior Horton in Carroll County, the HSUS
"Virginia is for Puppy Mills" cause célèbre, was well known to local authorities and the animal control officer (ACO) for years. He had a business license, a 500 dog kennel permit, five employees, bought dog food by the ton and advertised puppies in newspapers and on the Internet. He sold both retail and to pet stores and should have been federally licensed and inspected by law, but wasn't. On that there's no dispute.

That situation was a local political problem, not a federal law or enforcement shortfall. HB538 ISN’T NEEDED. At any time, someone could have brought him to the USDA's attention. Three months after the HSUS November 1st "raid," there still hasn't been a complaint lodged with USDA, nor has the local ACO returned to that facility, which continues selling puppies. The Carroll County Commonwealth Attorney just filed somewhat marginal charges based on a visit three months ago. Horton remains in business. The fourteen USDA licensed and inspected VA dog breeders are listed on the USDA-APHIS website. This isn't some mysterious, unknown or unaccountable animal welfare service, just one the State Veterinarian's Office and ACOs need to learn about, rather than being asked to supplant, or duplicate the federal program at great cost to local taxpayers and risk to responsible dog owners.

The House Appropriations Committee is charged with reviewing bill fiscal impacts. Instead it permitted a replay of the emotional puppy mill stories from the Agriculture Committee hearings and totally ignored the bill's significant unfunded new regulatory requirements on Virginia counties and cities. Also ignored were expressions of concern and requests not to report filed this week by at least one city and multiple counties. How many caught the fact that HB538 includes the requirement that all pet store records need to be checked? Richmond did. Fairfax County didn't.

HB538 is a trash bill. It has internal self-contradictions, as well as numerous conflicts with federal law. For this bill to require VA ACOs to enforce both new state kennel inspection standards and those of USDA-APHIS is a total absurdity

The Humane Society of the United State (HSUS) is about to gain in Virginia what it couldn't in years of Washington, DC lobbying, a hobby dog breeder licensing and inspection regulation. Virginia hobby breeders were up against HSUS's five paid Richmond professional lobbyists, its DC personnel and numerous very well coordinated local semi-pro activists.

On a personal level, I’ve had Brittanys for 37 years and bred five litters, the last of them 20 years ago. No one’s paying me a dime for my dog owner advocacy. For more about me and my work, see the websites below, or

Bob Kane, President
Virginia Hunting Dog Owners' Association
Chairman Emeritus, Sportsmen and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance

John Witt writes:

Bob Kane writes: This fight is essentially over. HB538 will become VA law....

I think this Bill will help reduce puppymills by only allowing pet stores to buy from licensed breeders. If a breeder is too irresponsible to get a BUSINESS license, then I don't think they should be allowed to sell at all-MY OPINION! As far as Hillsville, they should prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, why they haven’t I don't know. People in that area should look to see if other action is needed. Don't stop contacting your Delegates and Senators! Report any suspected animal violations in your area to your local animal control, ask them when they will investigate and follow up with them.

Walt Hutchens writes:

On the effects and effectiveness of HB 538 I can't do better than Bob Kane's comments. The bill is a cleverly crafted and nasty tool for making everything in Virginia's dog supply worse, while claiming to make it better. Something like 100,000 donations from well-meaning pet lovers (who thought they were helping animals) are going into a monumental effort to shove this bill through the Virginia General Assembly and that institution is clearly straining to deal with it.

The key House Appropriations and Agriculture committees simply collapsed. With a handful of exceptions -- whose names should be cast in bronze -- members' attitude toward HB 538 was that hearing citizen opposition was a necessary nuisance; we gotta do it but this is a done deal, let's not waste any extra time. Only that handful of members asked questions or seemed interested in what the bill would actually DO.

Bobby Orrock (sponsor of the bill) is the Delegate from HSUS on this one and had clearly called in all his chits. But he had a great deal of help from the HSUS mother ship. SIX lobbyists beamed down -- that's a record for an animal bill in our state, and equals the highest I've heard anywhere. Even HSUS VP John 'JP' Goodwin -- Google will get you info if the name's not familiar.

We should all understand that HB 538 doesn't REGULATE commercial breeding, it ENDS it, except for the very smallest part-time businesses. The number of commercial dog breeders whose business is about to be ended is in the same ballpark as the number of Assembly members; if there was a bill to cut member pay by 90-95% it would get serious study for that reason alone, even though it would save the state a couple million dollar a year. But hey, some guy in Rural County whose family feeds itself by working seven days a week, year 'round, breeding dogs and who pays taxes on what he makes -- so far, that's 'not my problem' in the GA, even if we have to spend a pile of taxpayer money to take him down.

This issue could become more important if today's successful commercial breeders sue to force Virginia to buy them out. I don't know if the General Assembly will be bothered by that or not; certainly most members of the appropriations subcommittee didn't raise an eyebrow at the possibility. Perhaps they were thinking that it's not THEIR money.

Except for the hard core ARs here (who want the pets gone) those who consider all commercial breeding to be immoral need to get past that. In the ballpark of 1/3 of America's dogs now come from for-profit breeding of one kind or another and the fraction will only increase as the number of accidental litters continues to decline and pressure on hobby breeding grows.

Reversing this trend would require both changing laws to make home breeding easier, and home breeder recruitment programs. I don't see either one of those things happening. So, unless we're willing to see prices go up to $5000 or more per puppy, for EVERY puppy (and spend the tax dollars to make that happen) we are going to have commercial farm bred dogs.

If we are going to have commercial breeding, then having a settled marketplace of mostly established and visible people doing it is better than driving most of it out of the state, overseas, and underground, as HB 538 will do. If a dog comes from out of state, then Virginia law can do nothing for either that dog or the new owner. If it comes from a pickup truck gypsy in a Wal-Mart parking lot, our law can only help if you can find the pickup truck; good luck with that. If it's bred in some Back Holler VA pole shed, our law applies if that shed can be found and if the sheriff has the money to do the bust. We're looking at millions a year in extra enforcement expenses and in the real world, it's only going to partly happen. There will be more busts, but also more dogs bred by incompetents, jerks, thieves, and people who don't know any better.

The simple fact is that controlling how much of something is made or sold is not something government can do. If a bill to limit gas stations to selling three tankfuls daily (to save energy and reduce dependence on foreign oil) was proposed, we and every member of the Assembly would know instantly what it would do. All the stations would go bust, guys would be hauling gas from WV in 55 gallon drums in the back of vans, "$14/gallon today, special." Fires, hoarding, cars stolen because they had a full tank, gas mixed with water, nobody's paying the taxes he's supposed to ... Such a bill wouldn't even get a laugh. But along comes HSUS, promoting a 'three tankful limit' on dog breeding and so far, most folks in and out of the General Assembly are touching their foreheads to the ground, "Oh, yes sir, Mr. Pacelle and I'll send an extra donation this year, SIR."

I'm much more positive than Bob about the General Assembly figuring things out. The bill still has a considerable distance to go, there are a whole bunch of smart people there, and the word IS spreading. Presumably the well-informed folks here are telling their Assembly members about the problems. I think there's a good chance that they'll get the picture in time to slide HB 538 into the Richmond dumpster.

GROUPIES! Who knew? Wait'll I tell the girlfriend -- err, wife. LegallyBlond, I love ya'! Roberta, are you trying to burst my bubble? LOL!

Actually, I'm pretty much a groupie of the pet-law folks. They are 2900-some of the sharpest and nicest people I know, working their tails off to be sure that the next generation has pets. Well, and a few HSUS and other moles. We don't worry about the moles as long as they don't try to post their venom there. There's also va-pet-law, with about 175. Both are Yahoo Groups.

John Witt writes:

I'm still amazed at how some of these people talk about animals like they were some type commodity that should be traded on the open market. Wake up! They are living creatures who suffer and feel. I doubt very much that we are about to have a pet shortage, there will always be dogs and cats available from rescues and shelters. Next we will be told that the sky is falling. I for one hope that every puppymill in the state is shut down, we don't need them. Any reputable breeder should welcome the chance to show that they are a real business not a shade tree operation only interested in getting your money and running. How would you like to go to a "gas station" and pay for a full gallon of gas and only get 3/4 of a gallon of gas because they are unlicensed and unmonitored and think they can do anything they want in the name of profit! People should ask to see the license of any breeder before they buy from them, if they do not have one, don't buy from them! If anything in the long run this may help improve the business of reputable breeders. Contact your Delegates and let them know how you feel!

Barbara writes:

John, I know you mean well, but you are mistaken about insisting on a business license, and you aren't telling people what they need to know to find a good breeder.

A small reputable breeder - the sort that people should buy dogs from, if they don't go to shelters or rescue - IS NOT GOING TO BE A BUSINESS and does not need a business license.

Personally, I would never buy from a breeder who HAD a business license.

Reputable breeders are not running businesses. I don't want to be a business, I don't make a profit, there is no way I can do things the way they should be done and make a profit, and that's okay with me. I do things right, not to make money.

A good breeder may have multiple dogs, often a dozen or more - but they don't tend to breed a ton of litters - one or two litters per year is the most common number.

They have many expenses - the expenses of keeping multiple dogs who are NOT having litters every year, typically including old dogs, dogs they've never bred, etc. The expenses of showing, hunting, or performance competition. The large and ongoing expenses of health testing. The expenses of helping rescue.

They screen potential homes, require a written contract, and help new owners after they take the dog home. They will always take a dog back, so dogs they breed have a safety net. They do not breed more than they can raise in their home and place carefully.

Breeding dogs is not like selling gasoline. It should be a labor of love, not a business. All of the things I've listed above are what you should be looking for in a breeder.

Turning away customers, telling customers they need another product instead of what you are selling, always taking a product back and spending money to find it another home, spending lots of extra money on "unnecesary" expenses like health testing and showing, limiting "production" well below what they can sell, keeping old "unproductive" dogs because they are loved and valued - those are not the behaviors of a business. They ARE the behaviors of a good breeder.

I don't want to be businesslike. HB 538 does not require that I, a hobby breeder, become a business. If it did, I would oppose it.

Rosemary Miller writes:

Virginia does NOT need another law like this. The horror stories we hear about puppy mills can be addressed with existing cruelty laws that are on the books. Has anyone stopped to ask why cruelty laws are NOT enforced? Cruelty laws should be enforced regardless of if it's one dog or 200 dogs.

Much of what I would write has already been well stated by Walt Hutchens, Bob Kane, Angela McCalla and others. What is happening here in VA (and will be paid for VA tax payers) is simply a stepping stone of legislation for organizations like PETA and HSUS who want to see an end to all companion dog ownership in the US.

Real dog rescues (of which I am a foster home for one) don't support and want no contact whatsoever with organizations like PETA and HSUS. That should tell the lawmakers something about their agenda.

Phil in Faifax writes:

Barbara says: "I don't want to be businesslike. HB 538 does not require that I, a hobby breeder, become a business. If it did, I would oppose it."

Barbara you sound like an excellent breeder. But don’t think for one moment you are not on the GET RID OF LIST. HSUS and their delegate ORROCK take things one step at a time so people are not conscious of what is really happening. This year it is the commercial breeders. Next year it will be you. How? They will come in with a mandatory spay and neuter bill (this year’s MSN bill was HB1570 which they tabled in committee because they are focusing on HB538) and it will say sure little hobby breeder you can keep your in tact dogs but it will cost you $300/per dog for an annual license. Then in the next year as the fallout from HB538 gets really bad -- high prices for lower quality pups from bad sources = unhappy customers with no remedy -- HSUS and ORROCK will say, “See all breeders are bad – let’s get rid of all of them.” This is right out of the HSUS and PETA playbook to achieve their ultimate goal of no pets in American homes. Please educate yourself to the peril you face before it is too late.
Here are some websites:

Good Luck!

Kay Smith writes:

In the past several months I have watched with dismay the proposal of various Fed,State laws or local
ordinances restricting animal ownership.

Some of these raise the fees for owning animals to a punishing level. Some of these mandate neutering of Dogs & Cats and Restrictions on how to maintain animals that does not meet special criteria. Some prohibit owning more than a certain number of animals without obtaining a special license that imposes special fees and inspections.

In almost every case, the basic premise for such restrictions is wrong. Individuals and organizations such as PETA and HSUS often present misinformation and falsehoods to justify these restrictions, despite the fact that several of these organizations have publicly stated their goal of eliminating all dog ownership and when it is known that the data is false.

In seeking to address a problem of animals in shelters by wholesale mandatory ordinances, cities, counties or states do their citizens a disservice. Such regulations will not eliminate the need for Shelters. The vast majority of shelter animals are not young animals and they are not in shelters because there are too many of specific animals (see http://petpopulatio In most places within the United States , data shows that shelter populations are declining without resort to mandatory Ordinances & Legislation . Many shelters import various animals from outside the United States in order to meet the demand of the public. It is a drastic disservice to the populace to delete the rights of average citizens to keep and to breed their choice of desired animal. While at the same time, "shelters" are importing animals from outside their area.

Often, the presence of strays or/and confiscation of animals is used as a justification to pass restrictions on breeding or ownership even though the area has an existing " law". Instead of enforcing existing laws, more laws are passed. Worse, often statements are made that the laws will be enforced only upon complaint – ensuring that an entirely unequal enforcement of the law occurs. Claims are often made that "exceptions" will be made for animals with titles or service animals but in nearly all cases these exceptions are misleading, because they are subject to the determination and unilateral control of animal control or an official whose knowledge regarding clubs, organizations and animals in general may be very limited. Unequal and unfair enforcement ensues when a "local jurisdiction" determines what is an "approved registry" or determines what is to be a "legitimate show or sporting competition" without understanding that many are not registered to any well-known registry. Individuals whose documents were acceptable in one city may find them unacceptable in another. Moreover, such exceptions are subject to change or reduction later, creating a situation where an owner is never certain that today's exemption will be sufficient for tomorrow.

I believe such legislation is bad for animals as a whole. Such legislation cannot be fixed by addition of "exemptions" that are later eliminated. It does not provide justice to pass an ordinance that will be enforced "sometimes" and against "some people". It does not provide for domestic tranquility to have citizens of the United States concerned that they are breaking the law simply by driving through a city with a particular animal.

Criminalizing the mere ownership of an animal does not address the health issues of specific ordinances


http://www.naiaonli LongTermHealthEf fectsOfSpayNeute rInDogs.pdf). In the Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Non-Surgical Contraceptive Methods for Pet Population Control

(see http://www.acc- ) research showed that neutered animals were more aggressive towards people, not less (http://www.acc- 20Symposium%20Docs/Session% 20I.pdf).

Rather than leaving the decision to one between the owner and their vet and based on an informed evaluation of pros and cons, laws are passed that force sterilization, housing & care or total elimination of animals. Such laws and ordinances make a travesty of the Constitutional rights of any citizen.

For these reasons, among many others, I oppose any law or ordinance that requires spay / neuter or that limits the number of animals an individual may own , or transporting so long as they provide reasonable care for those animals.

Many Animal Owners, Clubs & Organizations now have in place Bio Security Measures, Use & Provide specific information on Care, Housing & Breeding of the chosen Animal. I believe Animal Owners, Clubs and Organizations should be allowed to self regulate.


Kay Smith

Cindy writes:

I am a small hobby breeder. This particular bill won't affect me but HSUS getting their foot in the door will. HSUS wants to eliminate pets. Period.

You cannot judge the quality of a breeder or the care that they give their dogs by the quantity of dogs they own anymore than you can say that a mother of one is a better mother than a mother of four. They probably care for their children differently but I wouldn't say one was better than the other.

It's time for the people who own and love purebred dogs to speak out and let their representatives know that they do not support this type of legislation.

We have laws that protect animals. Good laws. Hence, Michael Vick is in prison.

Maybe the politicians should start figuring out how to enforce the laws we have instead of spending millions of dollars on new laws.

By the way, I don't know Walt Hutchens but after reading his posts here, I wish I did. And I'm not blonde.

Cindy writes:

And I would also like to say that I am ashamed to live in the same county as Bobby Orrock. He sold out and will certainly NOT get my vote again. So I guess my dogs vote too.

Gina Gross writes:

The vague and overly broad language of this bill has great potential for abuse. 20 intact females could mean adults, puppies, youngsters that may have potential for show but maybe have not matured yet, co-owned dogs, females visiting resident stud dogs for breeding, heck, if someone wanted to count them, even new born litters. Many mid-sized private hobby breeders could at one time or another easily have this many dogs and could suddenly become commercial breeders. Here is a piece of legislation that will suddenly criminalize many, many people for practicing a perfectly innocuous and legal hobby. The great Commonwealth of Virginia is on a witch hunt and seems to be writing bad laws to appease the rabid whims of the extremist animal rights agenda. I guess the politicians of Virginia care more about where their big political contributions come from and less about the small business and hobby loving taxpayer living in their state.

Dania Karloff writes:

I read the post from Aaron above and I am aghast at his comments relating to breeders making huge profits. It is obvious that he has a lot to learn about the sport of dogs. I have been breeding/showing dogs for the last forty years and I have NEVER shown a profit - it is a hobby, albeit an expensive hobby. I oppose this bill - I see it as a toehold to more strict regulations that will eventually penalize responsible, ethical breeders. It is an attempt to do away with the sport of showing/breeding dogs. I am a responsible breeder. I care for my dogs. I breed a litter every two or three years but I don't want nor need the government to regulate this. I place my puppies in forever nurturing, caring homes. I take responsibility for EVERY dog that I bring into this world. I do not need the government to regulate my life or my hobby. This law will have absolutely no impact on the biggest culprits - the uncaring, irresponsible back yard breeder who never takes their dogs to the vet, does not give vaccinations and has never purchased a dog license in his/her lifetime.

Dania Karloff
German Shepherd Dog Club of America Member
German Shepherd Dog Club of E. VA Member
Signer of the GSDCA Breeders Code of Ethics
Owner of Champion Therapy Dogs and Herding Dogs

Scottee Meade writes:

Gina,it's not the Commonwealth of Virginia that is on a witch hunt, but HSUS, with five high-paid lobbyists working to get this bill passed. We don't need this legislation. I do not believe the HSUS claim about how many "puppy mills" there are in Virginia. This bill is a waste of time and taxpayers' money. It will cost us too much money to enforce, and will not make any gains for animal welfare.
Every taxpaying citizen of Virginia should be against this bill!

Walt Hutchens writes:

Some of the disagreement here comes from simple misunderstanding of the facts.

Under the federal Animal Welfare Act of 1966 (I think?), amended several times since then, any dog breeder who has over three breeding bitches and sells even one dog at wholesale (to a pet shop, distributor, etc.) is required to get a dealer license from the USDA.

The AWA includes 60 pages of regulations spelling out the details of the breeding facility. All surfaces must be waterproof, floor drains are required, surfaces must be sterilizeable in one of three ways, and much, MUCH more. These are reasonable -- even good -- methods for the farm breeding of dogs. And in order to get a license, you must be inspected and comply with the regulations. After that, you'll be reinspected on average a bit less than twice a year -- more if you get poor grades or have a large facility, less, if you're small and always okay. These are no-notice inspections and you don't have a choice -- you cannot be gone to the grocery store or too busy that day.

Most of us probably think that home breeding -- puppies whelped in the spare bedroom and raised underfoot in the kitchen -- is better than farm breeding. But the AWA regs don't allow that. No breeding animals or puppies are allowed in your home; you can be fined for a violation that big. Enough violations will get your license suspended or even lifted: No selling puppies if that happens, and goodbye dog breeding business.

Another way to breed is to sell retail only. Traditionally this was done by putting a sign out at the road and an ad in the paper. People drove out, looked at your puppies, bought one, and took him home. USDA specifically left these retail only sellers out of the requirement for licensing, in the belief that puppy buyers inspect these individuals and will report them to animal control if they're bad.

USDA only has so much money. They choose to spend it where they'll find the most problems -- wholesale breeding businesses that might otherwise never be seen by anyone but a truck driver.

In the last few years there's increasing selling from web sites and many of these breeders will direct air ship a puppy. That's still retail but because it doesn't require the buyer to come to the farm, you don't have direct inspection. However this type of sale is a lot of work: there are emails and/or phone calls, shipping must be arranged (a crate purchased), the puppy has to be taken to the airport. In practice, I believe there are very few commercial sellers who sell ONLY by web site/direct ship. The great majority of retail-only sellers do at least some pickup-from-the-kennel sales, so they still get inspected.

Also, the requirement for USDA licensing kicks in when you sell EVEN ONE puppy wholesale, unless you stay at three or fewer bitches.

Many hobbyists with web sites (that includes us, with our one litter a year) require every puppy to be picked up. The web site is just a way to make contacts; we DO NOT ship.

HSUS found 900 Virginia web sites selling puppies and simply labeled all of us as unlicensed dealers and 'puppy mills.' But the law does not require retail-only breeders to be licensed, and in fact if you want a home-bred and raised puppy, it CANNOT come from a USDA-licensed dealer, because they are required to operate as farms. The great majority of those 900 web sites belong either to hobbyists or other (mostly small) retail-only sellers -- people who are not required to be licensed.

I 'spose HSUS CEO Pacelle knew that, but forgot to say.

Some states have passed laws requiring some larger direct sale only breeders to be state licensed and inspected. Some require USDA dealers to ALSO be state inspected. These states -- Pennsylvania is one -- are among those with the most trouble with breeders. The least you can say is that more regulation of breeding has not solved their problems.

One problem with these state licensing laws is that they almost always require all licensed breeders to follow AWA-type rules. Since AWA = farm, that means even fewer home bred puppies. I expect that the poster advising us to only buy from licensed breeders didn't know that such breeders MUST be farm-type operations. Or maybe he just prefers farm-raised dogs to home raised ... that's his call.

Virginia has a number of ways to manage dog breeding. Localities can use their zoning powers to set limits. They also have the power to license breeders and other dealers. Like other animal owners, breeders are required to provide good care; both animal control officers and representatives of the state veterinarian can inspect them. Breeders selling wholesale must be licensed and inspected by USDA. Virginia's 'puppy lemon' law gives protection against common rip-offs. Breeders who register any puppies with the AKC (or one or two other registries) can be inspected by the registry. The AKC suspends a few breeders' registration privilege each month and those who have serious animal care problems are reported to animal control.

Any of these various inspecting authorities will take a tip from someone who knows of a bad breeder. Usually animal control is the place to start (for filth or poor care) but if any wholesale selling is involved, the individual should also be reported to USDA. Follow up a week later to see what was done. If your local animal control doesn't care (it happens) then contact the mayor and the newspaper. The LAWS are there; we just have to be sure they are used.

Hobby breeding isn't directly affected by HB 538. But as surprising as it may be to the ARs here, we hobbyists love dogs and don't want to see more of them bred badly, as will happen if passage of the bill drives commercial breeding underground. Furthermore, HB 538 will drive the average size of commercial dog breeders down toward the size of hobbyists. When the problems caused by the new rules reach the point of "We need ANOTHER law!" (three years or so), that law will include hobbyists.

My wife and I are close to the peak of the small time hobby breeding game. We're not big show winners but we're known for breeding healthy, happy, 'typey' whippets. As it happens we're breeding this year's litter just about now and they've all been sold for a couple of months. Our prices are as high as any on the east coast and when all goes well, we come out a little cash ahead on an average litter. For a hobby breeder, it gets no better than that. But you know what? We STILL aren't making any money. First, because it's a hobby, we pay taxes on all the income but can deduct only part of the expense. And every litter does more damage to our house; when we move we'll have maybe $10,000 worth of work to undo what our puppies did. When we net it all out, someday a few years down the road, our hobby breeding program will be a (hopefully shallow) hole in the ground, financially.

If you score what we do as a business, then you have to consider the value of our time. We get NOTHING for that -- tens of hours of time per puppy is donated to the new owner. HOBBY -- the word is HOBBY. We do it because we get a lot of satisfaction out of getting great dogs and wonderful people get together, that's all.

Another way to see it: We could spay our four bitches and have four very nice pets. One of us could take a full time job at Wal-Mart and we'd have a lot more money coming in. No damage to the house at all. And no breeding-related expenses. What we do is a HOBBY.

If the day comes that we have to be licensed and inspected, get a business license, and follow a bunch of regulations that (a) make it harder to do our hobby, (b) are enforced by a 20-something with no felony convictions and zilch knowledge of dog breeding, and (c) assume we're ignorant crooks, it won't be satisfying anymore. We won't have the choice of hiding, even if we would want to. What we do cannot be done by selling in fleamarkets. We'll be gone. And I think that's about where most hobbyists are.

What it comes down to is that the nationwide push to regulate breeding ever more tightly in an HSUS-led drive to 'fight puppy mills' has exactly the reverse effect: Tighter regulation falls not on the people who do it worst, but those who do it openly and because they are doing it in the open, are disinfected by sunshine. HSUS makes great money pushing these campaigns and whether we win or lose on HB 538, they'll be calling for MORE DONATIONS to HELP US CONTINUE THE FIGHT ON VIRGINIA PUPPY MILLS. They'll be back next year or the year after with another bill.

Another interesting angle is this: The average state has 114 USDA class ‘A’ dealers while VA has 14. Other states have at least as many large retail-only sellers as we do. We have had an occasional ‘puppy mill’ bust – but of course these are people who were zapped using existing laws – not a sign of a problem with the laws or the system. In other words, we really don’t have a problem. So why is HSUS mounting the HB 538 campaign here?

Well, why the campaign against sow gestation crates in Florida which had TWO pig farms? Or that and veal farming in Arizona with just a small handful of such farms? Or fois gras in California, with ONE farmer? Because in all these places the activity was of so little importance that the various targets weren’t organized and had few or no allies. HSUS went straight to the people with ‘initiatives’ and since nobody knew enough to say “You’re lying,” they were toast. HSUS got wins that they took to other states as “This is banned in Florida and Arizona.”

The same basic story is behind HB 538. Commercial dog breeding isn’t a big deal in Virginia, AFAIK dog farmers aren’t organized at all. VA is a natural target for a ban on commercial farm breeding of dogs. The only difference is that here, many hobby dog breeders, rescuers, and others, understand things well enough to know that (a) banning farm breeding of dogs won’t be good for the dogs, dog owners, or Virginia, (b) if it passes here we’ll be fighting it in other states overnight, and (c) hobby breeding is next.

Utter cynicism, folks; money and a fruitcake anti-human religion, that’s what drives these animal rightist campaigns.

Only the youngest people here are likely to see this war end. Those of us who are farther along are doing the best we can to not leave you a mess, but you have to help us, by NOT giving money to HSUS, PETA, the ASPCA, or any of the other national organizations. Give to your local animal shelter (if they have a good reputation -- a few VA shelters are hard core AR) or a good rescue (mixed breed rescues especially need help) and ask your local Delegate and Senator to VOTE NO on HB 538.

Thanks for your patience with this too-long story.

Deb writes:

Gina Gross writes:
"20 intact females could mean adults, puppies, youngsters that may have potential for show but maybe have not matured yet, co-owned dogs, females visiting resident stud dogs for breeding, heck, if someone wanted to count them, even new born litters. Many mid-sized private hobby breeders could at one time or another easily have this many dogs and could suddenly become commercial breeders."

Gina, doesn't "breeding females" mean dogs that are actively having litters? Not puppies, not visiting dogs? I don't see how this legislation hurts committed hobby breeders.

I would think that hobby breeders would welcome this legislation since it will help ensure better quality of dogs. Those helpless innocent breeding females that have the misfortune of having to have litters year after year in a high-volume environment deserve to have someone whose goal isn't to make a buck looking after their interests.

Deb writes:

Several people have posted things like HSUS and PETA want to do away with companion pets. I'd like to hear more about why you think that -- and where did you see information to that effect?

I think there can be some level of a happy medium with spay neuter laws. It would be interestng to see what's worked in other states.

Cindy writes:


You might want to read the information at this link:

It explains the difference between animal rights and animal welfare and it uses the words from the founder of PETA as well as Wayne Pacelle, President of HSUS.

Animal Rights groups (PETA & HSUS among others) believe that pet ownership is enslavement of non human animals.

The link explains much better than I can tonight.

HRB writes:

This breeding ban bill as written has been tried before and failed miserably!
For example San Mateo CA,San Diego CA and King County Washington enacted it to name just three. One quote from a san Mateo Official stated.....
"(1) Year one of the San Mateo County Pet Overpopulation Ordinance coincided with an increase in euthanasia in the affected unincorporated county and a reversal of the prior downtrend, never returning to previous levels, (2) The downtrend continued in the unaffected cities, (3) The ordinance "findings" were never investigated or shown to exist and are of no significance, (4) Unavoidable euthanasia has been decreasing over the last 25 years and cannot be eliminated entirely if any animals are to live in the community, and (5) The responsible agencies refuse to use quantitative methods to reveal the actual cost of euthanasia. The report goes on to recommend in its summary: "(1) Repeal of breeding permits and unaltered permits, (2) Repeal cat licensing, (3) Repeal all noncommercial limit laws for dogs and cats, (3) Do not enact hybrid or feral cat amendments, (4) Emphasize basic, affordable dog licensing for rabies prevention, identification and reliable revenue, (5) Implement subsidy plan for private vet sterilization, and (6) Establish a public animal commission reflecting a broad spectrum of community values to act as an overseer of animal control, a forum for public complaints, an evaluator of animal control data, and advisor to the Board of Supervisors."
Three of the County's five supervisors related that they would “agree to drop the requirement that would force pet owners to have their dogs and cats neutered, the key feature of a law that brought wide attention to the County's attempt to cope with pet overpopulation."

John Witt writes:

This Bill is pointed to commercial breeders not hobby breeders, sorry I did not specify this to everyone. There are breeders out there who DO mass produce dogs as fast as they can to MAKE A PROFIT! If you are not one of these types then my comments are not directed at you and you should have no reason to worry about this Bill. As many of you have exclaimed, it does not affect you. If I say MY OPINION, it means just that, not that it is a part of the Bill, sorry again for not explaining that. For everyone who is in it just for the love of the breed, you should be the loudest people speaking against puppymills and doing anything you can to stop them, instead of defending them and you are defending them everytime you help keep them in business. Can you love a breed or animal but turn your back on cruelty and neglect? I am not a member of the Humane Society or Peta, but I do have MY OPINIONS of what is right and what is wrong. Mass producing dogs for profit is wrong, but if it's going to be done it should be monitored just like any business would be monitored so the animals are treated right and the consumer is treated fairly. We can help animal control by reporting issues,not just looking the other way. I'm talking about commercial breeders again, if they are unwilling to have a license then I question just how reputable a business they are! So far I have heard excuses why this Bill will do little to help, but have not heard any other solutions offered, it seems to me that a lot people here just want to leave everything as it is and let the unlicensed puppymills run rampant. I am not a commercial breeder or hobby breeder but do work with rescues(alot of the rescues are rescued from puppymills) and it angers me down to my soul to see these animals treated the way I have seen them treated. Anything that can help these animals in any way I'm for. If you are concerned about dogs being brought in from out of state then report them to the police, help educate people why they should not buy from these people. Try to help instead of fighting everything that could help even a little and doing nothing.

Mary writes:

This Bill is simply poorly written. The definition of what a puppy mill is, does not make sense in many small breeds of dog, where a litter may consist of one or two puppies a responsible breeder may have on his or her property 20 breedable bitches. Many may belong to outside breeders there to be bred to a stud dog. Some may belong to the breeder and may not be breedable for several reasons. Responsible breeders do not toss out dogs that they can no longer breed because of age, and there are often health reasons that keep these animals from being spayed. It is more accurate to define puppy mills by the numbers of puppies that they breed and sell as well as the number of different breeds on the property. Twenty breedable bitches in a breeders home or kennel may only be bred every other year or less. So breeding ten toy dogs in one year may only produce ten to twenty puppies.

As a hobby breeder and a responsible breeder there is no way that I could conceive of any responsible breeder breeding dogs to produce a thousand puppies a year or even a hundred puppies a year. When a hobby breeder does breed he will usually breed to advance his own breeding program not to produce puppies to sell. Commercial breeders breed only for puppies to sell often those pups are sold at four or five weeks, commercial breeders do no screening of their puppy buyers and do not screen their breeding stock for health issues. This is not responsible breeding and I have no problem regulating and licensing breeders but what I do have a problem with is how a commercial breeder is defined. Define commercial breeders by the number of puppies and litters they produce, not by the number of dogs that they own.

William writes:

yes and if a person has 20 pairs of shoes or more they should have a commercial shoe salesman taxation. Same for every other item a person may own more than one of. Folks if you like regulation on every aspect of life move to north Korea, you will then be in your heaven. This Bill is just another attempt by our government to take more money from the public, and AR groups are fooled to think it will change something more. I don't suppose it is too terribly hard to fool a bunch of people who believe animals should have humanly rights and unborn babies don't.

peggy writes:

This country was founded on the right of Liberty and the pursuit of free enterprise. While laws regarding humane care are justified for any living thing, the essential right of individuals to conduct a business should not be abridged simply based on their number. If a car manufacturer were to start up in VA, would the state wish them to be limited to 20 cars or less or consider them evil? If you force all breeders of dogs out of the state, you merely ensure that dogs will be imported and that buyers will be less able to verify information about those dogs because of distance.

sue mcclure writes:

The only people who would be against this bill are people who are afraid they will get caught mistreating animals or will limit the size of the puppymill so reducing their profits!
My Goodness- how eager you are to give away others rights. Eventually it will come down to you because it is an ever rolling ball.
I beg to differ. I am not a puppy mill. I am an American that does not like a continual proliferation of laws that eat away at personal freedom. I worked as an animal warden in Fairfax county. I know what comes into shelters. More than once a dog came in with papers that obviously could not belong to that dog. It was from a mass producer of puppies. Do I think it was from a good breeder - no. Do I think there are laws that regulate these breeders - yes. Personally, my own 2 dogs are part of my family (I bred them by the way and the only way any of my puppies go to other homes is if they are kept in the house as part of the family. Have I ever made money doing I have to run a myriad of expensive helth tests on the puppies, and the better ones go to people for no money that I trust to hold on to those genes in the event I want to utilized them. Have any of my dogs been abandoned. No. When you go to a shelter, you are not looking at show quality dogs that have had the nuturing and health care of my dogs. If you run a survey of the breeders in my local dog club,as one person who had bought into the "breeders are bad" hype, you will find very few breed, all sell on spay, neuter contracts, and those that do breed average less than a litter every 5 years. I bred my last litter 11 years ago. You see - that stud service I gave to a woman who had a dog that would compliment my dog's genes, paid me back with a puppy from a grandaughter. We do not need laws to make it difficult to breed quality companions that spend quality time with us in our chosen sports. One of our club member's dogs was in the top 10 show bloodhounds - all the while he was doing search and rescue, which I've also done with my dogs. Only because he was doing search and rescue could his care be taken off on his taxes. Neither I nor most hobbyist breeders opposing this bill can declare our dogs a business...WE ARE NOT IN IT FOR THE MONEY- we have jobs to support our hobby because we love it and the dogs.
Now, I may not like puppy mills, but they can be shut down right now if they are mistreating their dogs. But if someone is breeding dogs for profit - how is that different from breeding cattle, fish, chickens etc. If you live in the country you have a right to make a living and presupposing that everyone who choses to raise animals is an obscene, ignorant abuser isn't much different than saying all men are pedophiles because men abuse children, so all men need to be castrated. We can't stop all pedophiles either, but the laws are there to do it. And the laws requiring the proper care of animals being raised for profit are also on the books, just as laws dealing with vicious animals are.
The laws many of you are proposing are restricting freedom of choice...why...not because there aren't laws to deal with breeders for profit. Not because shelters are are so overwhelmed that they can't import dogs from other shelters or countries (and yes, they do)
Shelter numbers are coming down, as low-cost neuter/spay clinics are offered. Study the states that institued mandatory sp/ne, higher tag prices and breeding bans or ridiculous fees for breeders - not business, they are exempt, so there goes that premise - their costs went up and low and behold, so did their shelter numbers.
And now, as quality dogs become more scarce because quality hobby breeders either have to move or stop breeding their average 1-2 litters in 4-5 years, dogs are being imported from other countries (along with strains of diseases our own animals are not vaccinated for...just like other American businesses that have have been hog-tied with overwhelming requirements that don't have to be met overseas.
Oh, and our county legislature tried to pass a law that made everyone who owned 5 animals a kennel, where the wardens could come into your property at any time without a warrant. Let's see - 5 fish, a bird, 2 cats, and 2 hamsters...yes, that was just how it was written. What is happening to our rights? Why are we so willing to give them away when our own private ideologies want to control other peoples choices. It is going to take away EVERYONE's freedoms. Don't you think you have a right to be secure in your own home without probably cause and a search warrant?
Oh, and don't tell me as a breeder I don't care about my animals... I would NEVER spay or neuter an animal under 4 months. Their bones grow straight up and prone to bone cancer,leaving them narrow and underdeveloped physically. I can see why shelters would want to do it, because shelter animals can't be followed through to ensure they don't produce (and that has been a problem). But pass that law here, and I like many other responsible people will have been legislated into being a lawbreaker over the health and future of my animals.

Kelynle writes:

To all those who "Approve" of Spay and Neutering my animals. Please tell me when and where and the exact time "YOU" will be spayed or neutered! People like you do not deserve the joy of ownership/companionship of anything INCLUDING CHILDREN.

sue mcclure writes:

Ellison wrote: If anyone else tried to create perfection in a living creature.... oh, wait. Someone DID try that with disastrous results. Oh, and didn't that group have some pretty good propaganda that scared people into conformity?

No, they didn't scare them, they made laws to take away their rights. That's what fascism does.The government took over business.

Judy K writes:

I am horrified to know that there are legislators out there that are intent upon taking away our RIGHTS as Americans to be free. If people are abusing something, do something about THEM, but not the people that are trying to improve the situation by testing breeding stock, studying to improve their breed, and then selling the ones that don't make it as show prospects on spay/neuter contracts. Those "breeders" are doing things responsibly, why punish THEM, when its not they that are the problem. You are putting the cart before the horse in legislation that is taking away American Freedom. Maybe we should insist on spaying all the HUMAN WOMEN of the world just because some of their kids end up as murderers, in jail, etc??????????

Carol writes:

Hey - those FOR this bill - why don't you pick up a copy of "Redemption" - READ IT!!! You are being fed LIES, LIES, and MORE LIES! Don't drink the kool-aid of the ARses!! AND - YES - that's what they ARE! ARses!!!! Look at their REAL agenda! They want to separate humans from ALL other animals! That's NOT what you REALLY want!!!

Think for yourself!!! How come - 14-year-olds get it - and you don't!
Stop the import from 3rd world countries TO the shelters! Stop the lying at the shelters! Make them accountable - they are NOT!

Besides - IF you want to live where the gov't has all the rights and you have none - I'll buy you a ONE-WAY ticket to Iran!

lisa writes:

It shocks me to see the number of breeders who have posted comments supporting this bill (either that or we've got a bunch of PeTA freaks pretending to be breeders). Don't any of you know how government works? First they pass a law that applies to puppymills only....then it gets amended (a very easy process I might add; much simpler than getting a bill passed) so that now the law applies to people who breed two litters a year. This has already happened in numerous other states. Some of you really need to get your head out of the sand and educate yourselves.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Don't any of you know how government works? First they pass a law that applies to puppymills only....then it gets amended (a very easy process I might add; much simpler than getting a bill passed) so that now the law applies to people who breed two litters a year.

That's simply not true. Once a bill passes into law, amending it requires precisely the same process as passing a new law. In fact, this very bill is nothing more than an amendment to existing law, as is nearly every bill of substance proposed each year. That's what a new law is: an amendment to existing law.

Debs writes:

Poorly written bill or amendment as some say it is. This should not be voted into law. It only punishes good folks and does nothing to protect animals from being abused, mistreated or neglected.

Carlene Wheeler writes:

I am a 61 yr. old farmer and dog trainer. I vote. I am appalled that a bill like this is even in the legislature! It is extremely unconstitutional for our government to even entertain such bills that are place in motion by Animal Activist groups that have only one main agenda and that is to get rid of all pets being owned by humans. Check this out for yourself.. This is not my say so but the truth. I am hoping that the legislators come to their senses. The only people that are ever effected/punished by bills like this are the good owners/breeders and law abiding citizens.
Please vote NO!

Gail Smith writes:

The Humane Society of the U.S. failed 3 times in its attempt to impose federal licensing and 60 pages of regulations on hobby dog breeders. Each time the U.S. Congress refused to amend the federal Animal Welfare Act to include breeders that sell at retail. The DDAL also lost a federal lawsuit challenging the same USDA provision. The American Veterinary Medical Association, U.S. canine and cat registries and tens of thousands of pet owners opposed these efforts.

HSUS publicly announced in December 2007 that it was carrying its federal hobby breeder regulation fight to Virginia and hired high-priced Richmond lobbyists. HB538, HB690, HB691 and other bills are the result.

We don't need this legislation. This bill is a waste of time and taxpayers' money. It will cost us too much money to enforce, and will not make any gains for animal welfare.

Diane A. writes:

The organization PUSHING this legislation and publicizing all events and manipulating media to get to this point, is the Humane Society of the United States which does not operate, ANY pet shelters and is merely a fund raising organization. Their appeals for help during Katrina netted them $34 million in direct donations. They left New Orleans within months, abandoning the disaster, the victims the families searching for their lost pets. HSUS in now under investigation by the LA Atty General to determine where the funds went, and where the pets went they claimed they were saving. PETA, another backer of this legislation kills 97% of the pets that they pick up claiming to care for animals? They are now charged with felony theft of a deputy's dog in which their employees removed his GPS collar, throwing it to the ground, with witnsesses. ARE YOU NOT SUSPICIOUS as to WHY this punitive legislation is being presented? WHO will this benefit? FOLLOW THE MONEY. Special interest groups now seem to OWN our legislature. Virgina-- the birth place of American democracy. WAKE UP!!!!!!!

Walt Hutchens writes:

A number of interesting points have been raised. John Witt (of the so-called Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare, VVAW) said:

"This Bill is pointed to commercial breeders not hobby breeders ..."

Actually, it defines 'commercial breeder' as anyone with 20 or more breeding bitches. While that MOSTLY leaves out hobby breeders, I can think of one or two who would be included. And on the other hand, many small 'extra money' breeding businesses would not be covered.

"There are breeders out there who DO mass produce dogs as fast as they can to MAKE A PROFIT!"

If you mean they don't provide good care of their animals or don't sell good puppies, we have laws that already cover that -- and those laws should be enforced. If you mean that even breeders who breed good dogs shouldn't make a profit, I think you need to tell us where the puppies are going to come from, with both accidental and hobby breeding in steady decline.

Since when is making a profit immoral?

"If you are not one of these types then my comments are not directed at you and you should have no reason to worry about this Bill."

This just in: A lot of people here care about bad pet laws just because they are bad for the pets. HB 538 will drive a lot of commercial breeding underground: It belongs out in the open where we can all see what's going on. Driving it underground will be nothing but bad for the dogs, the puppy buyers, and the state.

"For everyone who is in it just for the love of the breed, you should be the loudest people speaking against puppymills and doing anything you can to stop them, instead of defending them and you are defending them everytime you help keep them in business."

Please define 'puppy mill': The term used to mean a big kennel, breeding in filth, with generally unsatisfactory animal care, turning out many sick or bad temperament puppies. We ARE all against that; you won't read a single defense of such places. If you see one, report it, if you don't get a good answer, then KEEP ON reporting.

However, in the last few years HSUS and others have started using 'puppy mill' to mean ANY large breeding kennel, regardless of how high the standards. And in the run-up to HB 538, Wayne Pacelle reported that HSUS's investigation had found 900 Virginia web sites that were by his clear implication, 'puppy mills,' so the latest meaning is 'anyone selling puppies to the public.'

Again: We need to think about where the pups are to come from. If 'anyone selling to the public' in Virginia is a puppy mill to be eliminated, there aren't going to be very many dogs costing under $10,000.

"I am not a member of the Humane Society or Peta, but I do have MY OPINIONS of what is right and what is wrong."

Makes sense to me. The VVAW is for HSUS wannabees and nobody on the net has more AR opinions than they do.

"Mass producing dogs for profit is wrong, but if it's going to be done it should be monitored just like any business would be monitored so the animals are treated right and the consumer is treated fairly."

One more shot at 'dogs for profit': The fact that we have commercial breeding and pet stores selling their dogs tells you that the general public thinks this is an okay thing to do. After all, when everyone says "I wouldn't buy from a pet store" they'll stop carrying dogs, instantly and the commercial dog breeders will go under.

Now this is the U.S.A. Even minority viewpoints are entitled to be heard. But when you insist that your minority view is the only right one and should be made into law so that everyone else will have to do it your way, you shouldn't expect much sympathy.

Name another business in which human health and safety isn't critically involved that is subject to 'monitoring.' As noted before, we DO have laws about animal care and honest treatment of the buyer. We also have people whose job it is to enforce those laws.

"How would you like to go to a "gas station" and pay for a full gallon of gas and only get 3/4 of a gallon of gas because they are unlicensed and unmonitored and think they can do anything they want in the name of profit!"

It might happen, but if it did the station operator would be violating Virginia's weights and measures law. (Ever see those little stickers on the gas pumps?) And exactly the same kind of thing is true of dogs: If you are sold a dog claimed to be registerable as purebred then the law requires that it be registerable and that you be given necessary paperwork; you may not be sold a puppy younger than seven weeks, your puppy must have certain vaccinations, and more.

You can find this in §§ 3.1-796.70, 72, 78-83. On line, the index to the Virginia Comprehensive Animal Laws is at:

and you can click the various section numbers.

Mary Ann C. writes:

Please wake up--Our rights are being taken away...Our taxes are going up----Please spend our money doing something to get our children fed, housed, schooled and etc. We have laws for our pets already--Use them. We donot need another badly thought out bill that will waste our money and if they do not enforce it like they donot enforce the illegal aleinsds laws what do we have besides higher taxes and flustration.

MK Goodwin writes:

Yes, let's spay and neuter everything. After all, the responsible and caring dog breeder, who lavishes hundreds or even thousands of dollars on raising puppies that are carefully bred to eliminate disease, behavior problems, and promoting factors that make them good pets for the public, must be punished because there are homeless dogs that have been bred by irresponsible people that we cannot locate. Since we cannot punish the puppy millers or the irresponsible public who allows their dogs to breed in an uncontrolled manner, we must punish those whom we CAN find... the responsible breeder!

Just don't come crying to us when, twenty years from now, all that are left to fulfill the role of family dog, are cast-offs from the meat markets found in some third world countries.

Nancy H writes:

I think everyone agrees that animals deserve to be kept in good conditions - no quarrels about that among any of us from what I see.
However, numbers do not equate to care as you can see even just within the comments made. People can keep one animal in horrible circumstances. Rescues right in VA have been known to be keeping animals in conditions worse than what is portrayed as the typical puppy mill situation.
75-80% of animals in shelters are not purebreds but this legislation is going after purebred dog breeders for the most part.
Quality of care should be enforced upon all animal owners and shelters and rescues as well as breeders.
Numbers laws like this one simply encourage people to avoid licensing reduce the chances of a puppy buyer being able to see the place their pup came from and the parents to determine if the breed or breeder is right for them, and encourages internet or just over the state line sales of dogs.
I'm all for animal welfare and keeping animals in good conditions but I think the one dog or cat owner should be held equally culpable to the multi animal owner and that any laws should be about quality of care not numbers or inspections.
I don't think anyone is willing to give up their legal rights simply because they own one or more animals.
I for sure don't want to be forced to raise animals under the horrendous conditions the USDA claims as acceptable. I want them in the house where they belong.
As for making money raising puppies - so far the only one in the last 35 years that I know for sure has made a profit is the vet doing my animal care.

Patricia Shaw writes:

NO!! A big fat NO!!

This bill will serve no good and will hurt ethical breeders. An ethical breeder ussually only breeds to keep their bloodlines going, requires spay/neutering of all pets, will always take dogs back and often helps rescue dogs they have not bred. In addition, they spend hundreds of dollars on proper medical testing on their dogs, and ussually only breed a female once or twice in their lifetime. They do not breed until the dogs are older so that they may make sure they will not develope any medical issues. These are the kinds of breeders that this law will hurt the most. Ethical breeders will educate people about responsible pet ownership and people will loose their freedom of choice. That is to go to a good breeder, meet the parents of the puppy they would like to get so they would know they were getting a puppy of good temperament and health. It would not address the issue of petshops or puppy mills. And it will force people to buy from these sort of places because the good breeders will no longer be able quality, healthy dogs of good temerament.

David Wells writes:

As an owner of flat-coated retrievers, it would be nice if the legistlature looked at the national society's code of ethics and it's activity in protecting the breed. It was two years ago I got my first flat coat now I have 3 flat coats, an 11 year old labrador and a 2 year golden retriever mix whom I acquired from a rescue society. I love my dogs and all of them are unique. Puppy mills can be an small on one bitch breed to a sire with dysplastic joints. Improving the qualtity of the breed is most important and determining the integrity of the breeding program perhaps by a committee of dog breeders would be a better suggestion. Anything proposed by the USHS is likely a bad idea for ethical dog owners.

Cheryl Mc writes:

Vote NO!!!!!!!!





Elizabeth Huffman writes:

This is what I am not against: reputable breeders who are only producing a litter to improve the breed. Breeders who have a waiting list for those puppies not born yet. Breeders who have spay/neuter contracts that are enforced 100% of the time.

What I am against: Breeders who will sell to anybody, not caring what happens to the pups as long as they make their money. Any type of mass producing puppies to meet so called "Demand". Dogs and cats are not a commodity. They are living creatures that should not be thrown away once the novelty wears off. People who will let their dogs have a litter so that the kids can see the "miracle of birth". Let those same kids go to a shelter first and hold an innocent dog while it is put to sleep for no other reason other than it doesn't have a home.

You may think I live in a fantasy world, but I would rather be there because sometimes Reality SUCKS!!!

John Witt writes:

Walt Hutchens writes:

A number of interesting points have been raised. John Witt (of the so-called Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare, VVAW) said:
Walt it seems you are still mistaken, I'm not a member of the VVAW, so try to get your facts straight. Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare is a great organization. Sorry, I didn't read the rest of what you wrote. I'm amazed at the hobby breeders who have spoken out against this Bill even though it does not directly affect them, or does it, maybe they are more than just hobby breeders. All of you who have posted here have clearly shown how you truly feel about dogs. Anyone reading this page can see who cares about dogs and who does not. I feel sorry for all the dogs that belong to some of you if you treat them the way you sound on this page. I've know people who loved their cars more than some of you sound like you love your animals, although you do like to compare animals to cars and other non living things it seems. Here's some questions you should ask yourself and keep the answer to yourself, we don't want to hear it, you can't lie to yourself or your maker. Have you ever got excited over how much money you were going to make when you sold your puppies? Have you ever bragged to someone about how much you sold your puppies for? Don't answer here, we don't want to know. If you answered yes to either or both, then I suspect you are not a hobby breeder regardless of how many dogs you have. Of course this is just MY OPINION.

April Ruckstuhl writes:

This law should NEVER be past. If you're going to make a law against breeding, I suggest you make it HIGHLY specfic. A general/generic law such as this will be hurting the responsible breeders rather than the puppy millers and those who do not sell their dogs on spay/neuter contracts and screen puppy buyers. I vote NO!

Cathy De La Garza writes:

Why has this country become the supporters of extreamists?. I just saw Peta protesting about animal cruelty and showing pictures of dogs in kennels. Next it will be everyone who uses play pens to protect their childrens safety. When is everyone going to wake up and realize that these kind of extramists are behind the politicians who introduce defective legislation. Please to the up on the formula and the history that these groups. Make sure you pay attention to all legislation that is quietly making it's way through our political sytems.

Sheri writes:

OKAY, First and foremost I am a Sheltie Breeder for 20+ years, there are more dogs in animal shelters that are 1/2 sheltie, 1/2 this or that 1/2 lab and 1/2 whatever - the 1/2 becuase one of the parents is a pure bred dog, raised in someone's kitchen or den, raised with love and attnetion and then sold, without a spay/neuter contract to an irresponsible owner who let it get bred, there are enough breeders of every type of breed to supply Virginia with puppies, good quality puppies, not from commercial breeders, but from good honest hobby breeders, commercial breeders are the same as puppy mills and its the puppy mills that need to be put OUT OF BUSINESS not the hobby breeder who does this for the sport of future champions and for the good of the breed.

Sheri writes:

I would like to add that responsible breeders sell their puppies on spay/neuter contracts so they don't end up in shelters, they also sell their good quality show prospects to other well respected breeders who carry on the same traditions and while none of us are perfect, the dog showing, hobby breeder who cares is the only one who would be hurt by this bill. The commercial breeders who make thousands and thousands of dollars will just get around the bill, or pay the fees for certain dogs and continue with what they are doing - mass producing. We "true breeders" need to take a stand against the puppy millers, I have done it in the past and will continue to do it in the future, while I am only one person, I shut down one puppy mill a few years back, and I don't mind opening my mouth and making phone calls, writing letters, calling the animal control, the game wardens, the local shelters, the local county government or whatever it takes to shut down a puppy mill, other breeders need to step up to the plate and do the same, if your reputable and you see it happening in your area - stand up and fight - keep the hobby, reputable breeders doing what they do for the good of the breed, and the back yard, puppy millers who do it for the money - send them packing.

Aaron writes:

Walter Hutchens is just copying and pasting the same tired and hysterical propaganda that he always does every time any humane law is proposed.

He spends entire days foaming at the mouth with similar ridiculousness with his fellow business owners.

Of course, what Walter doesn't talk too much about is that he is running an unlicensed business selling dogs over the internet.

He and his cronies want to keep dog breeding unregulated and off the books, so that no one really knows how many dogs he is breeding or selling. And how much income is rolling in. And keep things off the record so the IRS doesn't start sniffing around.

Then there is the AKC that supports itself with puppy mill reg money. The AKC doesn't want cheap, abusive breeding to be reduced or limited.

Dog breeding is a dirty game.

Aaron writes:

"responsible breeders sell their puppies on spay/neuter contracts "

Ridiculous. First of all, spay neuter contracts are legally unenforceable. Not worth the paper they are printed on. The buyer can do what they want with the puppy, include start a backyard breeding operation or let the unaltered dog have accidental litters.

And thus descendants of breeder dogs end up in shelters.

Breeders don't spay or neuter before sale because that diminshes profits.

The "contracts" are a fakeout to pretend to be "responsible."

It's a sham.

(And a spay neuter contract doesn't stop the buyer from dumping the dog. Which absolutely happens all too often in this society)

Aaron writes:

And it is very telling what sort of "authorities" these breeders tout here.

The German Shepherd Dog Club of America? Granted membership to Andrew Hunte, the notorious Missouri puppy mill broker. From some of the worst puppy mill breeders in the entire nation with lengthy histories of complaints. Has business relationship with puppy mill reg division of AKC.

NAIA? Run by someone on the puppy mill committee of the AKC. Puppy mill lobbier.

The commercial dog breeding industry and "responsible" breeding industry have been interwoven thanks to these kinds of people.

Aaron writes:

Breeders like Walt Hutchens and his friends will claim they don't make any money from their businesses, but watch them have heart attacks when the IRS or state tax authorities start looking into their operations.

All those unallowable "deductions" and illegal "hobbyist exclusions." Failure to file returns. Failure to report income. Cash only operations.

All this funny business is easy to keep hidden as long as there are few or weak rules or laws.

So every time a rule or law is proposed, Walt and his friends call it "bad" and spend thousands of hours fabricating stories about why it's supposedly bad. Stories that have more holes than a sieve.

Then copy and paste it everywhere and see if it flies and who will fall for it.

Aaron writes:

And some of the commercial breeders call themselves hobbyists.

Aaron writes:

The big commercial breeders.

Walt Hutchens writes:

Aaron said:

"Breeders like Walt Hutchens and his friends will claim they don't make any money from their businesses, but watch them have heart attacks when the IRS or state tax authorities start looking into their operations.

"All those unallowable "deductions" and illegal 'hobbyist exclusions.' Failure to file returns. Failure to report income. Cash only operations."

[And more]


Aaron, you might want to check the definitions of 'libel' and 'actionable.' We're all used to the fact that when animal rightists are backed into the corner with facts and reasonable analysis, they resort to personal attacks, but when you make in public specific, damaging statements that you have no reason to believe are true (and that are in fact UNtrue) you're not always 'home free.'

Incidentally this particular line of personal attack -- all breeders are tax cheats so more regulation is required -- is most typical of the VVAW.

I'm guessing that 'Aaron' is an alias for someone whose name would be familar to many of us.

David writes:

I have read most of these post and it seems that we have people that agree and disagree, I do feel like this is another way to take our rights away in the United States, This would be a very good time with elections coming up to ask them what they think on this bill before we VOTE!I am a veteran and spent time overseas, I saw what was going on before the government fell, seems like we are on the same track, I do beleave that the animals should be taken care of and the ones that abuse the animals, pay the price for their neglect
but we have people starving in virginia and people that sleep outside in the cold weather, begging for food, they need help. Look at our true schors for kids in the education system, And beside that if we could get this much attention on gas price maybe we could see a drop in price, do not mean to jump around like this but this desturbs me to keep loosing our rights to do anything, This country is not free!

John Witt writes:

What are you facts and reasonable analysis that have backed the rightous in a corner? Are they posted here somewhere?

Nan K writes:

Lets look at the reality of this legislation. I am a hobby breeder, and I dearly love my dogs. This bill is just a foot in the door for the miadirected and oft rabid Animal Rights followers.
Look to California and the bill that is in action there. All animals spayed and neutered by 4 months. This would probably take away the joy of pet ownership for the disabled and elderly whos only companion might just be their pet. Low cost spay and neuters aren't always that low cost. Many people would lose the joy of having a pet because they were legislated out by the cost. Then where will the pets come from? This is supposedly to regulate or eliminate puppy mills. I think not. We have child abuse laws and you haven't seen an end to child abuse have you? I have to ask what is next. Hmmmmmm, lets see, how about we regulate cattle, sheep, and dairy farmers? Are they paying the IRS what they should? Put a limit on how much livestock they have, and closely moniter the numbers there. Where does it end?? Yes, some puppy mills have some horrible conditions, but to regulate this would not be cost effective in the long run. As was said years ago , you cannot legislate morality. The sad part to all of this would be the HSUS and PETA have dredged up support by exaggerating numbers and exhibiting photos that are not even current. I think all animal lovers should have a bumper sticker that says Save My Pet, Spay a PETA Member. Some of the comments that I have read are obivously made by uninformed people. And why target the AKC???? I have seen numerous ads for puppies registered with the CKC
(for the uninformed, the Continental Kennel Club)
Hey, submit a picture of your dog and it can be registered, even if it is a puggle, or a wolf hybred. People want papers and don't care if they are worthwhile or not. Limiting the number of "breeding bitches" someone can have won't solve the problem. Enforcing the laws that are already on the books might, and would probably be more cost effective. If you close down the mills, what do you propose to do with the animals that are already there? I guess PETA could take them, but 4 of 5 would be put to death.
And if you can live with that, I guess you would agree that all prisoners on death row e executed. It seems to me that anyone who breeds one litter or 100 litters is painted with the same brush. Vote NO, and save our rights!

Waldo Jaquith writes:

This is supposedly to regulate or eliminate puppy mills. I think not. We have child abuse laws and you haven't seen an end to child abuse have you? I have to ask what is next.

So what are you proposing here? That we legalize child abuse? Or that we not make illegal things that won't be entirely stopped by the mere existence of laws against them? I'm confused.

It seems to me that anyone who breeds one litter or 100 litters is painted with the same brush.

No it doesn't. Who in the world maintains 20 breeding females to breed one litter?

Barbara writes:

Waldo, it is not unusual for hobby breeders (actual responsible breeders) to have 10-15 adult females, and only breed 1 or at most 2 litters per year. If you are breeding one or two litters per year, and keeping one pup per litter per year and you don’t routinely spay females, you can very easily have 10 or more intact females ages 0-16. The revised limit of 30 makes more sense than 20, and probably should be noted in the bill description at the top of this page.

A limit based on number of dogs sold would make a lot more sense than a limit based on number of intact adult dogs in distinguishing commercial from hobby breeders.

Barbara writes:

Aaron, no offense, but your rhetoric is a better example than I can give of why responsible do breeders oppose this bill – and as you read this note, keep in mind that I PERSONALLY DO NOT OPPOSE HB 538, although I do think it could be better.

First, although I don’t agree with him on a lot of things, I know people who know Walt personally. He and his wife are not commercial breeders. The breeding his wife (not Walt) does is low volume, non-business breeding that I am certain loses money. He does not sell dogs over the Internet. It is not a business and it is not “unlicensed” in the sense that it should have a business license and doesn't, unless you mean unlicensed in the sense of “I participate in the unlicensed hobby of skiing.” I do not agree with him, but your statements are not true. Also, I believe he believes what he says.

I’m not the first to mention this, but AKC, while it has its flaws, is a better registry than the commercial registries that sprung up after AKC cracked down and started reporting to Animal Control and doing DNA tests.

Spay/neuter contracts can be legally enforceable. Most are not, but they can be if properly drawn up. However, enforceable or not, they do work. After having done purebred rescue for decades, I believe these contracts do work. I know there are some exceptions, but they are uncommon if a formal spay/neuter contract is signed.

Having bred purebred dogs for decades, I have never had a dog sold on a spay/neuter contract that was later bred.

Screening and spay/neuter contracts, taken together, do work very well.

Most shelters do not sell dogs already spayed or neutered either.

The reason I personally do not s/n before sale is that I do not believe in early s/n for non-shelter/rescue dogs, a position that is consistent with AVMA’s latest take on the subject. Early s/n is good for society, less good for the individual animal.

The new owner would pay for the s/n, not the breeder, so there is no economic argument here. There are no profits to diminish, since most responsible breeders sell at a loss.

Responsible breeders take back dogs if the owner cannot keep it for any reason, at any age, in any health, so if the owner “dumps” the dog, the breeder gets it back. THAT prevents responsible breeder dogs in shelters, not the spay/neuter contract. Having done purebred rescue for decades, I VERY rarely have had a show breeder refuse to take a dog - and by definition, a responsible breeder will take a dog back. Old dogs, sick dogs, you name it, they do take them back and find them new homes. BTW, anyone who refuses to take back a dog they bred, unless they are dying or in other extreme circumstances, is not responsible.

As far as taxes go, responsible breeders really do not make money. Deductions are not unallowable – the amounts deducted, Aaron, are the cost of producing the dog, and that's part of the tax code.

“Hobbyist exclusion” is not illegal – it is the TAX LAW that defines when an activity is a business and when it is not. In fact, the IRS does not allow you to claim business status for hobbies BECAUSE HAVING A HOBBY AS A BUSINESS IS A TAX WRITEOFF that was abused in the 1980’s.

If I could claim my hobby losses on my taxes, the IRS would owe ME money every year. Rich horse people did just that for a long time until the IRS closed the loophole. The rule is most often discussed about horses, and you can find tons of information on the Internet on how you can qualify your horse operation to be a business – it’s a lot of work but if you can qualify as a business, you can get lucrative tax breaks. The law applies to both dogs and horses. Look it up. Don’t take my word for it.

The reason hobby breeders do not want a business license requirement is that you cannot have a dog business in a residential neighborhood. To have a dog business, you need a commercial kennel license, typically a conditional use permit, and you usually need to live in a business or agricultural zoning.

A business license requirement would help big breeders and puppy mills, and it would make it impossible for most people who breed dogs at home to do so legally.

It has nothing to do with taxes.

I think making it almost impossible to do home breeding and encouraging commercial breeding is a bad thing, not a good thing.

Also, be aware most counties have a threshold where any business does not require a license – the exclusions are typically "occasional sales", gross sales volumes, and some counties do not have business licenses for any business of any size.

Nan K writes:

Aaron, what I was trying to point out is that just because you have a law against something doesn't put it out of existence.
Also, little things get blown out of context,ie: spanking your child is now considered abuse, not discipline, so having 20 or more breedable bitches constituting a business will eventually gets changed to 2 or 3. It seems to be the nature of the beast.

Nan K writes:

Sorry Aaron, this should have been directed to Waldo

Timothy Watson writes:

The funniest thing is this bill will cost the state $102,742 a year according to the fiscal impact statement!

But Orrock's own county of residence (Caroline County) can't even get funding from the state to convert the Commonwealth's Attorney's position from a part-time to full-time position.

Priorities, priorities, priorities!

Barbara writes:

Timothy, if I'm not mistaken, Bobby Orrock lives near Thornburg - which is in Spotsylvania County, not Caroline County.

Tammy writes:

The biggest problem with the bill is that someone arbitrarily decided how much money someone should be able to earn by setting a breeding dog limit based on facts that aren't even realistic.
Mr. Orrock doesn't have any idea how many pups usually come in a litter and could care less. The HSUS and other feel good groups have lobbied and are in fact going to be the recepients of more money, and business at the expense of responsible breeders.
Another problem is giving small town "Barney Fife" type animal control officers the authority to make unannounced visits to someone's kennel. These people are on a power trip and aren't trained to handle what they are being charged with.

Timothy Watson writes:

Bobby Orrock lives at:

12387 Nancy Wrights Drive - Woodford, VA 22580

According to the State Board of Elections:

Which is in Caroline County:

Timothy Watson writes:

Eh, sorry about the frakked up link.

Deb writes:

I applaud the responsible breeders, many of whom have posted here, who truly care about their dogs. HB 538 is not directed at you -- the responsible breeders and hobby breeders.

HB 538 is about the breeding dogs who are not as lucky as the ones you own. HB 538 is about the dogs who live their lives in something akin to a chicken coop -- often not much more than six inches above their head, often in extreme heat and extreme cold, usually lacking exercise or socialization, and even lacking adequate medical treatment.

The puppies are sold online, through classified ads, and to pet shops willing to look the other way. The mass producers tell potential owners that their dogs have papers, and why pay more -- aren't these puppies *adorable*? Meanwhile, they're undercutting the fair and reasonable price you are charging. They may not be reporting their income at all. They are doing reputable breeders a disservice.

Are some of these mass producers regulated by USDA standards? Yes indeed. But do you know what the minimum standards are?

Here is a link that explains the USDA cage formula (click through the slide show to see how it works)

After taking the time to look at this, can anyone honestly say that the minimum USDA standards are something to feel good about?

Responsible breeders, I want to thank you for:

* Keeping your breeding dogs in reasonably sized enclosures and allowing them the opportunity to stretch their legs and feel the grass on their feet.

* Ensuring that they have adequate water, food, shelter and medical care.

* Ensuring that their enclosures are sanitary and that they are not sleeping in their own excrement.

* Providing them with human and canine socialization.

* Breeding to standards and keeping careful records to guard against "in-breeding."

* Asking prospective owners questions, making them aware of the realities of what it's like to own a puppy and a full-grown dog of this breed, helping them understand that a pet is a lifetime commitment, making spay/neuter a condition of purchase (unless selling to a responsible hobby breeder) -- and most of all, for stipulating that if the dog doesn't work out at any point in its life, taking the dog back and allowing them to live out their years in a safe environment.

Responsible breeders, my hat is off to you -- you clearly care about the welfare of your animals. It is in that spirit that I respectfully ask you to take a second look at HB 538. Is it perfect? No, it isn't -- but should the perfect be the enemy of the good? It's a compromise.

Clearly the federal laws are not enough; the USDA does not have enough inspectors and lacks sufficient resources. That's why states have the power to create and pass legislation when federal laws are not meeting our needs.

I commend Del. Orrock for making reasonable amendments and for listening to the interests of responsible, concerned breeders and hunting dog owners and for trying to forge the best bill he can.

Half a loaf is better than none. Those innocent dogs who died in the puppy mill fire should not have died in vain. I hope that's one thing that responsible breeders, hunting dog owners, SPCAs, shelters, rescue groups, animal control officers, legislators and taxpayers can all agree on.

Aaron writes:

The IRS considers income from animal sales as regular income. Taxes must be paid.

Barbara, you and your breeder friends have been breaking the law for some time.

Jay writes:

Please, let's be sensible. There are definitely more than enough 'laws' on the books and no need for additional ones. The 'bad' part of this type of legislation is that it is NOT curtailing the true 'puppy mill/producer of unlimited puppies', but affecting the true-blue dog breeder who is working hard to improve and keep sound and healthy the breed they love and care for. Breeders are getting a bad name just because they very unfortunate thing, but something that the animal rights groups are trying to make happen. By the way, 'animal rights groups', does not mean these groups are in any way working for the rights of animals, as they want the unknowing public to think, but are working very hard to end ALL animal ownership and pets, no food or clothing from any animal source. Check it out yourself: (see add. links)
Sorry, got off on a tangent....any way...people who own animals need to stand behind their breeders, even those who aren't in the show ring every weekend with their beloved dog. Breeders put an HUGE amount of time, effort and money into showing, caring for, and loving their dogs, and they spend even more time and money on genetic issues and health screenings when they are available. The USDA, state and city government don't need to impose more legislation. Individual breeds of dogs are unique among the dog world, and important in the things they are bred loving pets, as working dogs, as rescue dogs, as therapy goes on and on, each breed has a purpose and it is very important that breeds are protected. Limiting the number of dogs one can have without stringent 'rules' that make a breeding program useful, will lower the number of dogs available to continue a breed, and this is exactly what animal rights groups are working to achieve.
They know by limiting dogs in any way, will decrease EVERY breed, and over time will actually cause some breed to die out. There are even groups that want humans to 'stop breeding' and die out so the earth will return to its 'natural state'!!!
Anyway, thing for yourselves, common sense works every time. Don't just follow along, because it is the easy way...that is pretty un-American...stand up for what is right.
-a serious American

Amanda writes:

There is a lot being said here....on both sides, but no solutions that I can see. Breeders (performance & conformation exhibitors) may have different numbers of dogs at different times, depending on what they are working on in their breeding program at the time. Numbers always go up and down, that is 'the nature of the beast', and the way that breeders eliminate genetic faults, and introduce positive ones into their bloodlines. Breeders are NOT out to make a buck, they are working to improve their bloodlines, AND IMPROVE THEIR BREED! Breeders are not taking in tons of money, they are spending tons of money, doing tests, and feeding and caring for their dogs. Most, maybe all, breeders operate at a loss, or very close to one. Know ALL of the story, before these kinds of laws are presented.
It seems this law is specifically introduced to to limit dogs. Which limiits the number of dogs produced, which lowers the breed population, and the ability to continue a diverse bloodline. Breeder/exhibitors and producers of working dogs should be completely exempt from these kinds of laws. Breeders are not the ones who are filling shelters with dogs. Dogs are being imported from other countries to the U.S.A. to be sold in shelters...I consider this an atrocity - to say the least. Importing disease is a big concern.

John Witt writes:

Jay writes:
There are definitely more than enough 'laws' on the books and no need for additional ones. The 'bad' part of this type of legislation is that it is NOT curtailing the true 'puppy mill/producer of unlimited puppies', but affecting the true-blue dog breeder who is working hard to improve and keep sound and healthy the breed they love and care for.
As long as people break they law and find loop holes in the law, changes to laws and new laws will be required. This Bill will help fight against puppymills by not allowing them to sell to pet stores without a license which draws them out in the open. It may not get rid of all but can help. It has no or little affect to hobby breeders, if it does have a big impact then you may want to check whether or not you are actually a hobby breeder. Saying you are and being one may be two different things. The amount of money you make or don't make doesn't decide whether or not you are just a hobby breeder, how many dogs you have should. My opinion. I still get the feeling that some of the focus on this page is purebreed specific and that anything less than purebred is unacceptable.

Sam writes:

This is peta and the humane society working behind the scenes. I don't breed, but you dog and cat people need to get together and get to these politicians before the animal nuts do. There are just too many goof-balls in the world and animal rights people are at the top of the list. Good luck...Sam

Lexi writes:

Breeders DON'T sell to pet shops...they think more of their dogs than that. They want to know where their dogs are going, and they want the dogs back if the new owners have to give them up for any reason. Get the whole picture.

Lexi writes:

Gerbera wrote: 'Dog shows will go on just fine without puppy mills."
There will be no dog shows, because there will be no dogs, Gerbera! This type of legislation affects ALL dog goes on the books, then it is revised again and again, until its fits pets/h$u$ standards, and the average pet owner never knows about these laws until he is in violation. Lex

Jay writes:

Witt said, " It has no or little affect to hobby breeders, if it does have a big impact then you may want to check whether or not you are actually a hobby breeder. Saying you are and being one may be two different things. The amount of money you make or don't make doesn't decide whether or not you are just a hobby breeder, how many dogs you have should. "

Witt....this is bad law. Period.
Personally, I own ONE cat. No dog or dogs. So I don't breed. This law very definitely is targeting ANYONE who breeds, no matter that it is a puppy mill or a show breeder. Breeding for money is not the issue for a show or working dog breeder, it is about the dogs and about the breed itself. Now, the puppy mills, which already have a LOT of LAWS are covered by existing laws. This law is ONLY about LIMITING DOG BREEDERS. Think about it.

Witt also said,"I still get the feeling that some of the focus on this page is purebreed specific and that anything less than purebred is unacceptable. Well, Mr. Witt, all or most of us have had a mutt, we love(d) them as much as any dog, but the reason you may get the feeling this is about purebred dogs, is THAT IT IS ABOUT PUREBRED DOGS. You don't see anyone selling mutts, do you...well, maybe those designer dogs, that are mutts. But, mostly those kinds of dogs are sold at the local shelter, H$U$, and a couple by peta (the ones they don't kill, anyway). This bill, and ones like it, ABSOLUTELY affect the breeder of purebred dogs, because no one is going to breed mutts. Puppy mills don't breed mutts for money, they breed purebred dogs. Breeder/exhibitors breed FOR THE BREED...but then you DON'T GET IT....DO YOU! Jay


Waldo Jaquith writes:

There will be no dog shows, because there will be no dogs, Gerbera!

You only hurt your cause saying something that's so laughably untrue. Will dogs cease to mate without human intervention?

Jay writes:

What a thought, just think - if things go like animal right nuts want, there will be dogs (all mutts) EVERYWHERE, mating on every street corner. Since ARs don't want any human intervention with animals, there won't be a need for animal control, JUST MORE LAWS saying that we humans cannot interfere with animals, because it would be illegal. Scary thought.

Jay writes:

I suppose there could be 'human control officers' to make sure we don't interact with the 'free' animals.

Lexi writes:

I don't have a 'cause'...just enough sense to see the light! :) But, I'm pretty sure I am against your cause. I'm for the animals! and animals DO enjoy their families, who are human, and they LIKE being WITH us. Oh...I own a purebred Boxer. Bought straight from a breeder, who shows, who helps me out with any questions I have, and insists that my dog come back to him IF something happens to me, and I can't care for her.
Breeders get a bad reputation, because there are too many crazies out there bad mouthing anyone who doesn't follow the crowd like a sheep.
Lex dog isn't spayed either, she is six years old, and no 'unexpected' puppies. How about that?
A responsible owner....and there are LOTS of us out here.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Lexi, I have no idea of what you're talking about. But you haven't answered my question. You wrote that if this bill passes "there will be no dogs." Are you or are you not prepared to back up that ludicrous claim?

Lexi writes:

No dogs, because animal right activist bills "like this" are intended to control, minimize, and finally prevent breeding of dogs. Not so ludicrous, look at all the forced spay/neuter laws that have been passed recently. Or the laws that make it near impossible to do so, with unreasonable fees if you do, and ridiculous fines, and fees if you even OWN an unaltered dog. No so ludicrous.

John writes:

1 : a psychosis characterized by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur usually without hallucinations
2 : a tendency on the part of an individual or group toward excessive or irrational suspiciousness and distrustfulness of others

I hope this is helpful.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

There's just something about these animal rights bills that bring out the hyperbolic in those opposing them. The trouble is that it prevents anybody rational from agreeing with them. It would be like trying to persuade legislators abortion by claiming that "there will be no people." There are a lot of good reasons to oppose this bill -- we've seen several good comments here explaining why -- but they're unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) blunted in impact by the foolish exaggerations made by most everybody else opposing it.

Diane B writes:

Methinks you protest too much. HB538 is about setting minimum standards for large breeding operations that use dogs to make a profit. Simple. If you're abiding by the minimum standards, you have nothing to worry about. If you're cheap and cruel---worry. The supporters of this bill simply want better living conditions for animals that are being bred for a profit. No one is going to be put out of business. They will be required to be responsible owners of the domesticated animals in their care. No one is proposing a ban on breeding. Support HB538.

Barbara writes:

Aaron, income from animal sales is offset by expenses, according to my CPA. Taxes are paid on NET income (profit), not gross income (sales price.)

This is according to my CPA.

I am not breaking the law - in fact, I sought out a CPA who is a horse breeder to be sure I had someone who knew exactly how it was supposed to work.

It would be a good thing if you would refrain from talking about things that you know nothing about, especially when you are accusing people of crimes.

Barbara writes:

PS - there's a form and such - I am NOT a CPA - but it definitely offsets income with expenses.

Gerbera writes:

Lex, this bill wouldn't affect responsible, reputable breeders. Your breeder sounds reputable in that he wants a relationship with the dogs he sells (though the lack of a spay/neuter clause in the contract is curious). Anyway, this bill would not address that breeder...unless he has a farm full of dogs.

Anyway, it's been said time and again that this bill addresses large, profit-driven breeders. If the bill is too complex, read and reread the recent comment by Diane B.

John Witt writes:

Jay, maybe you should read the Bill. Maybe what I said would make more sense to you then.

John Witt writes:

Lexi, you and Jay should work out your differences. You seem to have opposite views as to what will happen.

Claire Ward writes:

HB538 was approved by the Senate on a vote of 37-3.

Aaron writes:

Jay, at least be honest.

No more of this dishonest, "I only have one cat and am just a pet lover" comedy routine.

Your entire post is straight from dog breeder propaganda. Every word.

It is always more than ridiculous when people running breeding businesses try to pretend to be pet lovers that are magically obsessive about dog breeder profit interests.

This is part of the reason that the reputation of dog breeders has hit the skids. The incessant lying, deceiving, attempted trickery tarnishes it.

Aaron writes:

Waldo, these breeders spend most of their lives emailing and on breeder web boards whipping each other into paranoid delusions and working on dreaming up mountains of lies and deception to counter any kind of animal law.

They want no laws. Period.

They want to stay off the records.

Other people have to license their businesses, follow laws and rules, report their incomes.

But these breeders think they are "special" and not obligated to follow rules or pay taxes or report their incomes.

These breeders are a marginal part of society. It's an odd subset of obsessed and selfish people trying to stay unregulated.

And the extremism and irrational statements and behavior are byproducts.

Aaron writes:

One of the most disgusting and hypocritical things of all are the breeders (including many that have posted here) who claim to be "reputable" and claim they are interested in this bill only because of their interests as "reputable" breeders.

These same "reputable" breeders are right there WITH commercial/puppy mill breeders at the hearings for this bill. Lobbying FOR the interests of the commercial/puppy mill breeders!

Yes, breeders that keep large numbers of dogs in cages for years pumping out litters!

There's Alice Harrington and the Hutchenses and others supporting puppy mill breeding at these hearings. In fact, one of the "hobby reputable" breeders is married to a puppy mill operator!

These breeders refer to themselves and their puppy mill/commercial friends as "our side."

Of course, it does not help that the AKC makes most of its money now from puppy mill registrations and affiliated business. The AKC is IN the puppy mill business. Any surprise that AKC breeders are lobbying for the mills?

This farce about "reputable breeding" is just ludicrous. When "reputable" breeders are right there WITH the puppy mills fending off puppy mill regulation, and calling puppy mill breeders "good breeders," then they have completely slimed the definition of "reputable."

Barbara writes:

Aaron, your posts are a really good example of the behavior that makes it so hard to pass good animal bills.

I do not oppose HB 538. I have said so publicly. It has not won me any friends on either side.

However, I believe that my breeder friends, who are, I believe, being illogical and hurting themselves in their actions against HB538, truly are afraid that they will lose the right to pursue their hobby. NOT losing the right to make money – but losing the right to do what they care about.

I believe they are being used – cynically being used by commercial breeders as a smokescreen – but I also believe they are sincerely petrified at the thought of losing their sport.

FYI - AKC doesn’t make most of its money now from puppy mill registrations – in fact, most puppy mills are going to non-AKC registrations. AKC turns in substandard kennels to animal control and requires DNA testing of frequently used sires. Those actions caused commercial breeders to start their own registries.

Yes, businesses are already regulated – dog businesses exactly the same as any other business – ALREADY. You don’t need special laws to require actual dog businesses to pay taxes or get business licenses, because the business laws already apply to them. What sensible people object to are DIFFERENT rules on licensing and income reporting for dog activities that would require non-businesses to operate as businesses.

Aaron, not everyone selling something is required to get a business license – for ANY type of sales. You do not have to get a license to run a car dealership if you sell your car. Income tax is on NET income, not gross income, for ANY business. You obviously have never run a small business. I do – not a dog business, but a business nonetheless.

Commercial breeders are not on the same side as reputable breeders. Commercial breeders make it harder for reputable breeders, by enabling impulse buying, by putting dogs in rescue that don't have a reputable breeder to take them back, and too frequently by having marginal to poor conditions. Their behavior too often causes a backlash against all breeders.

To claim that the people who go downtown against HB 538 represent all reputable breeders is as “ludicrous”, as you put it, as it is to claim that anyone advocating for animal welfare is automatically against the keeping of pets altogether. Both are ridiculous, hyperbolic statements.

A moderate, logical approach would go a long way to convincing good breeders – WHO ARE NOT FRINGE PEOPLE, AARON, THEY ARE JUST FRIGHTENED – that you are not out to get them for no reason. Your behavior, and your statements that you really are out to get them, just makes things worse. That rhetoric may make you feel good about yourself, but it does not help animals.

Aaron writes:

Barbara, you and your friends have marginalized yourselves.

You have only yourselves to blame for the tarnishing of the dog breeding industry.

When your comrades get together with your commercial/puppy mill friends and lobby for the same ends and share some of the same lobbyists, and strategize together, and share the same nonsensical lies, and in the same way oppose EVERY SINGLE proposed law with reams of delusion and deception and paranoia and just plain dishonesty,

you lose credibility.

You have destroyed the reputation of "reputable" breeding.

As angry as you get at "humane groups" and "animal rights activists" and whatever other bogeyman you come up with, you have only yourselves to blame.

And self-analysis and taking responsibility for your actions is sadly lacking in the dog breeding world right now.

Extreme selfishness has ripped the heart out of the "fancy."

The easy answer for you always is, though, make up a new set of deceptions and blame other people.

Your comrades got in bed with the enemies of
"reputable" breeding and the purebred dog world now has a tanished reputation.

Once upon a time, dog breeders did have some kind of decency and self-respect and honor.

Those days appear to be long gone.

You put your faith in the extremists that filled your heads with paranoid delusions and encouraged reprehensible words and actions and lobbying.

"Commercial breeders are not on the same side as reputable breeders." Maybe you better tell your friends that spill the beans on their intereactions with the commercial breeders and their lobbyists. And maybe you better tell the AKC breeders that are on the Commercial Breeding Committee of the AKC. And so on.

Please. You only step deeper in it.

As the rest of the population has gained some insight into the devious ways that your business operates, and the terrible lies that your business tells and what your industry supports, quite frankly they are disgusted.

When you convince yourself that you don't have to follow rules and laws that honest Americans do, and that cruelty to dogs is acceptable, and that you can simply tell falsehoods to duck and cover when any problem or proposed laws come up- it doesn't fly.

For example, the AKC. The AKC by its OWN admission feathers its nest with primarily puppy mill income. Not to mention the business running microchips to puppy mill breeders. Yet the AKC "inspections" are a farce- especially by the puppy mill breeders' admissions!

They laugh about these "inspections." They joke about them. They are laughing in your faces as they continue business as usual.

At any time, your and your friends can reclaim the reputation of the breeding world and take it out of the fringe. When you and your friends stop acting like patsies for the extremists & cranks that use you for their own ends (and you know who they are,) when you stop the adversarial and hypocritical hysteria and start being honest, maybe then things can change.

Your idea of "moderate and logical" as it stands now is- other people better darn well do what you want. That is not acceptable.

And what you really mean by telling me to stop my "behavior and statements" is
Aaron, please stop TELLING THE TRUTH. We breeders don't want to think about our problems. Go away.

John writes:

Barbara writes:
Aaron, not everyone selling something is required to get a business license – for ANY type of sales. You do not have to get a license to run a car dealership if you sell your car.
Barbara if you are selling A car no, if you are selling multiple cars then yes you have to have a dealer's license, not sure what the exact number is. Do you have a license for your non dog business? I had to have 2 different license's for a small, non store/shop business I had several years ago. I worked out of my home and kept no inventory.

Barbara writes:

Aaron, as I’ve noted before, you are attacking people who are actually on this one issue, on the same side as you.

How can I be to blame for statements that I don’t agree with, and have publicly said I don’t agree with? You are so determined to find an enemy, you are making enemies out of people that aren’t.

In my case, after I have put myself at risk of being upbraided by people who are afraid, and pointed out that they are being misled and used by commercial interests whose best interests are not their own – a sensible position that I believe most dog breeders agree with, and that we could get good people to rally around, your response to my suggestion to my fellow breeders that we not overreact out of fear is – to attack me

Good going, dude.

I didn’t say, and I have publicly disagreed with, the positions you’re saying are bad. If you want to beat someone up, pick on the breeders who hold those positions. That would be – well, there’s a list of them here, but I’m not one of them.

AKC is not primarily funded by puppy mill income. I’m not sure what you are talking about with microchips – AKC does not sell microchips and it does not require microchipping. AKC has a list, in the Gazette, every single month, of people who lost their AKC privileges b/c they were inspected. I don’t think those people are laughing.

My idea of moderate and logical is just that. What I mean by telling you to stop your behavior and statements is to START telling the truth, and start paying attention to the real world.

For both sides, it isn’t evil people against you – and the more you try to make those who disagree with you into evil people, the less credible you are. Aaron, that means you too.

Barbara writes:

John, the requirements for business licenses are set by the cities and counties.

Some have no requirements for business licenses at all.

Many have a minimum dollar amount, ranging I believe from around $3,000 to around $50,000 - I think it's gross income, not net, for the thresholds - so if your gross is under that threshold, you don't need a business license.

I do have a business license for my non-dog business. However, there are counties where NO business has to get a license. If I lived in one of those, I wouldn't have a license.

There are also specific types of business that require specific licensing or reviews or approval - for example, restaurants are inspected periodically, hospitals have some sort of licensure process, etc.

John writes:

I had a state license, nothing for a county or city. I've only heard of county permits. There was no limit as to what sales would require a license for me. The definition of Business may be the key term here. I can cut grass for people and not be a business unless I start a landscaping Business. The amount of money made may be correct in some aspect but from net and not gross? That seems strange. We are taxed on income on gross and what is left is net. You may be able to deduct expenses from the gross if it is deductable. I'm not an accountant so I'm not sure.

Barbara writes:

If you actually met the criteria for a business where you lived, you should have had a city or county business license.

There is no such thing as a state business license. You are licensed by the city or county where the business is.

Are you maybe talking about a business tax id if you are filing as a business?

The Virginia city or county limits on money for whether or not you are a business that requires a business license are on GROSS, not net.

Here is the requirement for Stafford County (actually, they don't require business licenses.)

Here is the requirement for Albemarle County, which is where I think Richmond Sunlight is headquartered. Businesses with under 5,000 gross are not required to be licensed.

Busisses are taxed on NET, not gross. Virginia statute for computing sales tax on businesses is taxable income on IRS form 1120 - see

The form clearly shows that taxable income is income less expenses. See the actual IRS form at

The IRS criteria for hobby versus business are different. Some information is at

I have a lawyer and an accountant, so I don't do these forms myself, but I do try to do things correctly.

Barbara writes:

Correction - Virginia statute for computing INCOME tax on businesses is taxable income on IRS form 1120 - not sales tax. I knew what I meant, but that wasn't what I said.

Aaron writes:

Barbara, it certainly is laughable when you chatter about "reality," then don't even know what the AKC is up to.

And apparently you are totally ignorant of the AKC puppy mill businesses and income? Income they themselves reveal publicly.

Although their puppy mill microchipping business is getting hidden away under some sleight of hand. But even that got exposed.

I think you do know though. But I think you will keep lying as long as you think some poor soul will swallow it.

As far as AKC breeder suspensions? Miniscule and impotent. And only if the problems have reached the point of public embarrassment for the AKC.

Doug Lowing writes:

Did I mis-read the bill? Please tell me. I do not understand why so many breed enthusiasts have commented against this bill.

It defines "commercial breeder" as one having 20 or more adult females, limit of 30 adult females. That is many more than any enthusiast breeder kennel I have seen. If you have a dozen breeding females (which will keep you very, very busy) supposedly it will not affect you!

I can understand if you fear this will lead to greater restrictions. As it stands, I do not see how this affects breed-specific enthusiasts of any breed. I am open to education. I did not see any fine print.

Dog Owner writes:

I do hope the Humane Society of the United States NEVER stops trying to pass this bill. Without this bill Puppy Mill owners will continue to enjoy their life of luxury, while our American pets are transformed into the most inbred, tumor filled, disease crawling species in the world... a reputable breeder, like my self, would be more than happy to see this bill pass!!!

Dog Owner writes:

Jay... it is clear in your statements that you have no clue what is going on at puppy mills, you know nothing about what kinds of dogs are mostly sold in this country and you clearly do not know anything about the HSUS!

It's people like you who support what the rest of us call ANIMAL CRUELTY!
Copying John : GO AND READ THE BILL, or let someone explain it to you - you're clearly missing the point.

Sammie writes:

I strongly suggest that you publicly retract your comments and apologize for defaming the My Dog Votes name.

Barbara Haywood
My Dog Votes

LOL. oh please...more dramatics.