Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Read Between the Lines – USDA Conference Call on New Rules for Retail Pet Stores

Editors note: This week, we’re featuring a humorous take on the new USDA/APHIS rules for retail pet sales from the Time 4 Dogs website (http://time4dogs.blogspot.com/). Of course, there’s nothing funny about AR groups like the HSUS and PETA, and believe me, I know what a deadly serious threat the “well-meaning” folks at the DDAL are to our right to own, breed and show our dogs. But I think you’ll agree that this Time 4 Dogs satire just highlights the extremism and illogical thinking of the Animal Rights Movement in the US.

For an explanation of how the new APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) ruling will affect you, Time 4 Dogs has a new blog in a more serious vein at the above link.

Read Between the lines – A Satire J

I've got the transcript in front of me from the USDA conference call regarding the new rules for retail pet stores that took place on Sept 10, 2013, thanks to the Sportsman and Animals Owners' Voting Alliance! I've also listened to the recording of the call, courtesy of The Cavalry Group. After examining the details of the call, I tried to imagine how it might go with a "read-between-the-lines" interpretation. Here we go!

Kevin: Welcome, callers. After suffering years of much yammering in our ears from scam groups like the Humane Society of the United States, the Doris Day Animal League, the ASPCA and other radical animal extremist groups, we are posting new rules limiting your exemption from the Animal Welfare Act as a retailer of pets. Dogs, primarily, but of course we will combine different species to "count against you" in order to limit you further. We've discovered that 80% of breeders out there are hobbyists and are escaping our iron fist. That will never do! We want them to change to a business model.

The humaniac supporters of our new rules claim that USDA licensing is the hallmark of a "puppy mill." We're not so sure about that, but we are really listening to them. It seems that even though they don't like USDA licensed breeders, they want to have thousands more of them. Go figure! But, we need the money so we're anxious to get started. Why, they've already greased the palms of the politicians who appoint us with millions of dollars! We are DETERMINED to please them! Maybe we'll enjoy more of that sweet gravy!

We relied on the HSUS and other animal fanatics to help write up these new rules, and they’ve decided that you should be allowed no more than four female dogs on your premises. Any intact bitch "counts against you" as long as she is not too old or too young. But we will be the ones to decide whether she "counts against you" or not! It's good to be queen, no? We don't bother with those pesky little details like whether or not she is ever actually bred.

Furthermore, our good friends, the humaniacs, insist that you must have a face-to-face meeting involving buyer, seller and the pet when the transfer is made. This doesn't need to be at your home, where you could be robbed at gunpoint or targeted by animal rights nuts who enjoy turning breeders in to authorities for any infraction of rules or laws, whether real or imagined.

No problem! You can meet in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Just like all the people who sell sick dogs out of the backs of their trucks that they brought up from Mexico a few days ago. You just go ahead and model your business practices after them. Many of them claim to be "rescues," so we can be sure that they are nobler than the rest of humanity. We like those "rescues" because they don't intentionally breed dogs. At least, we can't prove that they do, so no point in pursuing them. They are exempt from any and all rules.

Even though all dogs shipped currently are examined by a veterinarian, we have no confidence in the ability of a veterinarian to evaluate health. A veterinary health certificate is useless, even though all airlines currently require one to ship a dog. The buyer knows better than a veterinarian whether the pet is healthy or not. Besides, we really don't care about health. It's all about getting snitches into your home in our quest to stop you from breeding.  

We are fully aware that hundreds of thousands of you oppose being brought under wholesale, commercial breeder regulations. We also know of the many concerns you have and exactly WHY you are opposed. We've read all of your comments, petitions and letters; but frankly, WE DON'T CARE. These are the new rules. If you don't like them, then you can just quit breeding dogs. Please.

We are only here today to explain to you, the BREEDERS who sell and ship sick, genetically defective pets to poor, unsuspecting buyers, why you can't do that any more. We will answer your questions if we feel like it. Regarding the questions we don't understand or don't want to be truthful about? Well, we will simply hem, haw and hedge.

Frankly, we don't like the fact that the information superhighway has facilitated sales of pets. Things have just been too easy lately for buyers and sellers. We prefer the days when people had to rely on classified ads in newspapers or the back of magazines to sell pets. That really put a crimp in pet sales, and we appreciated that. We really thought it was terrible that Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold dogs by catalog, but we could never figure out any way to "get" them for doing that.

Until now, that is.

We initially provided estimates on how many more breeders we thought we would be licensing, but we really doubt that will happen. We know that most of you will give up your dog breeding entirely or at least cut it back significantly. If you want to give USDA licensing a whirl, we anticipate that you will need a one-time investment in an amount to effectively double the size of your current mortgage, to convert your home into a commercial kennel. Of course, your local zoning laws will prevent that anyway, so don't worry! It's all good.

OK let's get right to those questions! Who is first?

Susan from the Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders:  My dogs both work in the field and are pets and are show dogs, too. Must I become USDA licensed? What do you consider a "working dog" for purposes of exemption?

Dr. Russian: Let me get this straight, you have a dog that does multiple things?

Susan: Right.

Dr. Russian: Wow that's incredible! Then you must keep separate kennels. Dogs that work must be kept separately from dogs that are pets.

Susan: But it's the same breed. It's the same dogs. All my dogs have multiple uses. They are retrievers, they hunt. I don't keep them in kennels. They are house pets too. Would hunting dogs and retrieving dogs be considered "working dogs" for purposes of exemption?

Dr. Russian: What a conundrum. I really don't understand the concept of dogs having multiple uses and purposes. I suggest you call me and run your "business model" past me. That way I can figure out the best way to harass you, OK? And make sure to tell all the other people in your group to call me, too! Next caller.

Roland from the National Finch and Softbill Society: Are birds exempt? What about birds or dogs bred to a breed standard? How many comments opposed your new rules? Will the USDA contract out their inspections?

Kevin: Birds are exempt. That's why we took your call. Geez, why did you have to ask other questions too? Who the hell is screening these callers?

Well, let me try to tackle the other questions, since this is probably all going on the record. We have no plans to outsource inspections at this time. Why should we when we have HSUS lackeys employed right here at the USDA for that purpose? No comment on how many comments were submitted in opposition to the new rules. We frankly don't care. As to standards, we have our own standards, and they are arbitrary and capricious. That suits us just fine. We don't care about you.

Roland: Again, why are show standards not taken into consideration?

Dr. Russian: The rules are up, read them and get back to me. We've already told you, we don't give a damn about show standards.

Sarah from HSUS and Doris Day Animal League: We are SO EXCITED that OUR new rules are going into effect!!! We only hope that they can do enough damage to really cripple pet breeding here in the US before this gets challenged in court. Our group (DDAL) already tried to push retail hobby breeders into the same regulations as wholesale, commercial breeders, but the courts ruled that we couldn't do that. The nerve of those courts, upholding the constitution! But that won't stop us from continuing on our crusade to ban breeding! My question is, how will you make effective use of your time and limited resources? How soon will you jump on board our bandwagon and start reaching out to bitchslap some breeders?

Kevin: Not to worry, Sarah and other goodie two-shoes. We want to get to the most people as quickly as possible in order to protect animals from being exploited as pampered pets. We will look initially at those breeders we can catch who appear to have high volume, then we will be happy to take complaints from humaniacs such as yourself. So we will be depending on you guys from HSUS, DDAL, CAPS and other groups to help us out here, OK? Please don't let us down!!

Sarah: We are ready, Kevin!! We won't fail in our quest to shut down every dog breeder in the US! Thanks again!

Jennifer from the HTPCB: What is the definition of a "breeding bitch"?

Kevin: It doesn't matter as long as you let people into your home to inspect you. Why are you breeders so hung up on definitions? We make the definitions up as we go along.

Dr. Russian: Breeding FEMALE (oh I just can't bring myself to use that "B" word!). I say, it's a dog that can breed. Ultimately, we decide what does or does not "count against you" for your numbers limit. End of story!

Cathy from Animal Welfare Institute: Hallelujah! Our prayers have been answered! New rules to put more pet breeders out of business. I just want to be sure you cover each and every species of pet. There is too much animal suffering, forcing them to be pets.

Kevin: Yes, don't worry. All species of pets are covered.

Cathy: Whew! Thanks again!

Tracy from the HSUS: We are thrilled that those greedy, evil breeders will now be forced into the USDA system or quit breeding entirely. Thrilled, I tell you! When can we get started?

Kevin: Well, by law, we have to wait 60 days to start enforcing any new rules. However, our motto here at the USDA is "Why wait on legal technicalities?" Let's start right now looking for people to harass by going through breed registries and looking at people advertising on the internet. We hope they will voluntarily just give up breeding on their own, or turn themselves in for enforcement, but if not, don't worry, we'll be on the lookout for them.

Larry, President of North American Falconers Association: Are birds exempt?

Kevin: Another call about birds? Great! Yes, birds are exempt.

Larry: But you just told the lady from Animal Welfare that all species of pets are included?

Kevin: Well if you were looking for honesty, Larry, this is the wrong place to be. Birds are exempt. We haven't figured out how to include them "at this point." Our friends at the HSUS are helping us work on getting standards in place to regulate birds.

Larry: Great!! Birds are exempt! Yay!

Linda, hobby breeder: Currently buyers all come into my house. I don't ship. So I'm a retail store, right?

Kevin: You are covered.

Dr. Russian: People don't need to come to your home for you to be exempt. Don't listen to Kevin, he doesn't know what he’s talking about.

Linda: Wal-Mart parking lot is OK?

Kevin: Sure, why not? But be careful not to get arrested in the states that have laws against sales in public places. Those new laws are awesome!! Hooray for HSUS! We're so glad to see that selling animals is now a crime in many places.

Linda: My daughter and I both have breeding bitches, she has three, I have five. I also am a broker for other people. How does all that work? These new rules are confusing.

Dr. Russian: We see intact dogs on your premises, they are being counted. If you don't ship any dogs you are not covered. But now that we know you are a dog breeder and broker, we are definitely going to have you on our radar screen.

Linda: But I don't ship.

Kevin: We will wait, maybe, for a few months or even years before we start to go after people like you. But rest assured, we WILL be coming after you eventually. What we say now, and how the rules are written, may be two entirely different things.

Linda: I advertise online, sometimes dozens of dogs for sale at a time.

Kevin: Boy, you are one of those upfront, honest people who will be the first to go. SUCKER!!

Since you say you don't ship, we will be leaving you alone. Temporarily. Rules will be tightened up in the future to better protect dogs and persecute breeders.

Deborah from ASPCA: Thank you thank you! How can we make sure that everyone is licensed within 60 days? How will we go after people who don't apply for a license?

Dr. G: We will outreach beginning immediately. We will try to get the more naïve to turn themselves in and we will be on the lookout for those who don't. Rest assured, humaniacs, that your wish is our command.

Carla, breeder of Aussies: There is an exemption for working dogs. What about stock dogs? And, if I have a state license, why do I need a license with the feds?

Kevin: We don't care how many layers of bureaucracy you have to contend with. The more, the better. I don't know what a "stock dog" is so I'll let Dr. Russian address that part.

Dr. Russian: Good God, I don't know what a "stock dog" is either. But if it isn't used for research, teaching, testing, experimentation, exhibition or use as a pet, then we can't sink our meat hooks into it. Darn.

Kara from MPBA: Can we advertise on the internet as long as we don't ship? What about my stock dogs? What if I say I'm selling breeders? Can't you give us a few loopholes to work with?

Dr. Russian: We LOVE people who advertise on the net, that's where we will go a-huntin' for breeders. So advertise away! Your business model is what we are looking at. If you sell dogs, then how you do it is OUR decision!

After all these questions about dogs for stock, I am really wondering now what the heck you are talking about. Stocking the shelves of your stores? Making soup? You breeders are really weird!!

Kevin: We are from the government, and we are here to help! Restraint of trade is what we do best. Who needs free enterprise? Phooey.

We suggest if you are confused about the rules, you call us so we can begin to investigate you immediately. We need to know about your "business model" even though you are a hobby breeder, not a business. We don't take into consideration your profit or loss, only the fact that you dare to sell pets. At the end of the day, that's all that matters. We are here for the animals, and as long as we draw breath and continue to collect our six-figure salaries, we are committed to continuing to dream up new ways to screw over anyone evil enough to breed pets.

I will happily refer those of you with further questions to our knowledgeable enforcement division, Sarah L. Conant, former lawyer for the Humane Society of the US, and animal rights extremist Deborah Dubow Press. They are waiting to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. They'll even do it with a smile!

If we can drive a few breeds extinct, or prevent someone from getting the dog of their dreams, then our efforts will not have been in vain.