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Introduced Version Senate Bill 406 History

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Senate Bill No. 406

(By Senators Kessler (Mr. President), Beach, Wills and Unger)

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[Introduced January 24, 2012; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

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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, television, bulletins and signs.

    (2) “Commercial dog breeder” means any person who:

    (A) Maintains eleven or more unsterilized dogs over the age of one year and;

    (B) Is engaged in the business of breeding animals for direct or indirect sale or for exchange in return for consideration and;

    (C) Sells or exchanges in return for consideration more than 15 dogs in a calender year, except that any person who holds an occupational permit from, and has registered a greyhound kennel name with, the West Virginia Racing Commission is not considered a commercial dog breeder under this article.

    (3) “Class I Commercial Dog Breeder” means a commercial dog breeder that possesses eleven to thirty unsterilized dogs over the age of one year at any one time.

    (4) “Class II Commercial Dog Breeder” means a commercial dog breeder that possesses more than thirty unsterilized dogs over the age of one year at any time.

    (5) “Housing facility” means a structure in which dogs are kept that provides them with shelter, protection from the elements and protection from temperature extremes.

    (6) “Primary Enclosure” means a structure that restricts a dog's ability to move in a limited amount of space, such as a room, cage or compartment.

    (b) No commercial dog breeder may 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 exclusively as household pets. A commercial dog breeder found to be in violation of this section shall spay or neuter, sell, transfer or relinquish the excess dogs within thirty days following notification of the violation.

    (c) No commercial dog breeder may breed dogs without a valid business license issued by the locality in which the dog breeding operation is located, if the locality so requires.

    (d) 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. County commissions are authorized to charge a fee to commercial dog breeders and shall deposit the fees collected in a specially designated account to be used for animal rescue purposes and for spay/neuter programs administered by county animal shelters or other humane organizations. The fee for a Class I commercial dog breeding permit is an amount determined by the county commission, not to exceed $250 per year. The fee for a Class II commercial dog breeding permit is an amount determined by the county commission, not to exceed $500 per year.

    (2) Breed female dogs, only if the dog is between the age of eighteen months and eight years of age and only after the breeder has obtained an 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 veterinarian;

    (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;

    (7) Provide for the humane treatment of dogs in accordance with section nineteen, article eight, chapter sixty-one;

    (8) 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;

    (9) Provide veterinary care without delay when necessary; and

    (10) Maintain adequate housing facilities and primary enclosures that meet the following minimum requirements:

    (i) Housing facilities and primary enclosures must be kept in a sanitary condition and in good repair; housing facilities must be sufficiently ventilated at all times to minimize odors, drafts, ammonia levels and to prevent moisture condensation; 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 level floors that are composed of solid, impermeable materials only, except that drains may be used for the efficient elimination of animal waste and water in order to keep the animal dry and prevent the animal from coming into contact with these substances. Floors must be constructed in a manner that protects the dogs’ feet and legs from injury. If drains are used they shall be constructed in a manner to minimize foul odors and backup of sewage. If a drainage system is used it shall comply with federal, state and local laws relating to pollution control;

    (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) Primary enclosures must have: (1) Sufficient space for each dog to turn in a complete circle without encountering any impediment (including a tether); (2) enough indoor space for each dog to lie down and fully extend its limbs and stretch freely without touching the side of an enclosure or another dog; (3) at least one foot of headroom above the head of the tallest dog in the enclosure; and (4) at least twelve square feet of indoor space per each dog between twenty-five and thirty-five inches long; and at least thirty square feet of indoor space per each dog for dogs thirty-five inches and longer (with the length of the dog measured from the tip of the nose to the base of the tail).

    (viii) Feces, hair, dirt, debris and food waste must be removed from primary enclosures and housing facilities at least daily or more often if necessary to prevent accumulation and to reduce disease hazards, insects, pests and odors;

    (ix) 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

    (x) Sick dogs shall be isolated sufficiently so as not to endanger the health of other dogs.

 

    (xi) All outdoor dogs spending all or the majority of any day outside of a housing facility or primary enclosure must have unfettered access to adequate shelter from the elements that allows the dogs to remain clean and dry at all times. At minimum, such shelter must: (1) Be large enough to allow each dog to simultaneously sit, stand and lie in a normal manner, and to turn about freely; (2) have a waterproof roof, large enough to completely and simultaneously cover each dog; (3) have solid floors, large enough to cover an area equal to the area occupied by each dog when lying down with its limbs fully extended; and (4) provide shelter and protection to each dog from extreme temperatures and weather conditions that may be uncomfortable or hazardous to dogs.

    (e) To ensure compliance with state animal care laws and regulations, commercial dog breeding locations are subject to inspection by animal control officers or law-enforcement officers at least twice annually, in addition to inspections arising under subdivision (i) of this section.

    (f) 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.

    (g) 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 for each violation.

    (h) Nothing in this section exempts a facility licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture from compliance.

    (i) 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, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.

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