H. B. 2883
(By Delegates Mahan, Guthrie, Fragale and
[Introduced January 27, 2011; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §19-20-26, relating to protecting dogs by creating regulations for commercial dog breeding operations.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §19-20-26, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 20. DOGS AND CATS.
§19-20-26. Commercial dog breeding operations.
(a) As used in this section:
(1) "Advertisement" means any media used to promote the sale of dogs including, but not limited to, the Internet, newspapers, flyers, magazines, radio, bulletins and signs.
(2) "Commercial dog breeder" means any person who maintains eleven or more unsterilized dogs over the age of one year and is engaged in the business of breeding animals for direct or indirect sale or for exchange in return for consideration, except that any person who holds an occupational permit and has registered a greyhound kennel name with the West Virginia Racing Commission is not considered a commercial dog breeder under this article.
(3) "Companion animal" means any domestic or feral dog under the care, custody or ownership of a person.
(b) No commercial dog breeder may breed dogs in the state without a valid business license issued by any locality, where required.
(c) A commercial dog breeder shall:
(1) Obtain a permit annually to operate as required by the county in which the commercial dog breeding operation is located. The county commission of the county is authorized to set a fee and deposit fees collected in the county revenue account in accordance with the following:
(A) Class I-Maintain eleven to thirty unsterilized dogs over the age of one year at any one time;
(B) Class II-Maintain more than forty unsterilized dogs over the age of one year at any time;
(C) The fee for a Class I commercial dog breeding permit shall be an amount determined by the county assessor, not to exceed $250 per year. The fee for a Class II commercial dog breeding permit shall be in an amount determined by the county commission, not to exceed $500 per year.
(2) A commercial dog breeder shall breed female dogs only if the dog is between the age of eighteen months and eight years of age and after annual certification by a licensed veterinarian that the dog is in suitable health for breeding;
(3) Dispose of dogs only by gift, sale, transfer, barter or euthanasia by a licensed euthanasia technician;
(4) Maintain current, valid rabies certificates for every dog over the age of four months;
(5) Include the breeder's annual permit number on any advertisement for the sale of a dog;
(6) If selling directly to the public, post a conspicuous notice containing the breeder's name, address and annual permit number on each cage; and
(7) Provide for the humane treatment of dogs in accordance with section nineteen, article eight, chapter sixty-one.
(A) Maintain adequate housing facilities and primary enclosures that meet the following requirements at a minimum:
(i) Housing facilities and primary enclosures must be kept in a sanitary condition and in good repair. Housing facilities where dogs are kept must be sufficiently ventilated at all times to minimize odors, drafts, ammonia levels and to prevent moisture condensation. Housing facilities must have a means of fire suppression, such as functioning fire extinguishers or sprinkler system on the premises and must have sufficient lighting to allow for observation of the dogs at any time of day or night;
(ii) Housing facilities must enable all dogs to remain dry and clean;
(iii) Housing facilities must provide shelter and protection from extreme temperatures and weather conditions that may be uncomfortable or hazardous to the dogs;
(iv) Housing facilities must provide sufficient shade to shelter all the dogs housed in the primary enclosure at one time;
(v) A primary enclosure must have solid floors that are constructed in a manner that protects the dog’s feet and legs from injury;
(vi) Primary enclosures must be placed no higher than forty-two inches above the floor and may not be placed over or stacked on top of another cage or primary enclosure;
(vii) Feces, hair, dirt, debris and food waste must be removed from primary enclosures at least daily or more often if necessary to prevent accumulation and to reduce disease hazards, insects, pests and odors;
(viii) All dogs in the same enclosure at the same time must be compatible, as determined by observation. Breeding females in heat may not be in the same enclosure at the same time with sexually mature males, except for breeding purposes. Breeding females and their litters may not be in the same enclosure at the same time with other adult dogs. Puppies under twelve weeks may not be in the same enclosure at the same time with other adult dogs, other than the dam or foster dam unless under immediate supervision; and
(ix) Sick dogs shall be isolated sufficiently so as not to endanger the health of other dogs.
(B) Provide dogs with easy and convenient access to adequate amounts of clean food and water. Food and water receptacles must be regularly cleaned and sanitized. All enclosures must contain potable water that is not frozen, is substantially free from debris, and is readily accessible to all dogs in the enclosure at all times.
(C) Provide veterinary care without delay when necessary.
(d) A commercial dog breeder shall not possess, control or otherwise own or maintain more than fifty unsterilized dogs over the age of one year for the primary purpose of breeding and selling the offspring as household pets. A commercial dog breeder who is required to reduce the number of dogs to comply with this section shall spay or neuter, sell, transfer or relinquish the excess dog(s) within thirty days following notification of the violation.
(e) Any commercial dog breeder who is the subject of an investigation shall cooperate with authorities.
(f) Commercial dog breeding locations may be subject to inspection by animal control officers or law enforcement at least twice annually, in addition to inspections arising under subdivision (1) of this subsection, to ensure compliance with state animal care laws and regulations. Before an inspection is to take place, animal control or law-enforcement officers shall give the commercial breeder notice of the upcoming inspection, five business days prior to said inspection.
(g) It is unlawful for a commercial dog breeder to operate if he or she has been convicted of animal cruelty in any local, state or federal jurisdiction.
(h) Any commercial dog breeder who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or confined in jail not more than one year, or both fined and confined.
(i) Nothing in this section exempts a facility licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture from compliance.
(j) Nothing in this section prevents any local, state or federal law-enforcement agency from investigating animal cruelty in commercial dog breeding operations.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to protect dogs by creating regulations for commercial dog breeding operations.
This section is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.