Tennessee House Bill 547 and Senate Bill 511 have numerous issues that present serious problems for sporting dog owners and small kennels. Requirements for registration, inspections and undetermined fee schedules pose risk to small kennels breeding high-quality, and well cared for, sporting dogs. Additionally, the legislation allows municipalities to pass more stringent laws, possibly creating inconsistent standards and costs statewide, all of which would contribute to the already expensive process of breeding quality hunting dogs. Both bills have been referred to their respective chambers’ agriculture and natural resources committee.
“The effect of HB 547 and SB 511 will dramatically increase the cost of hunting dogs and drive many conscientious sporting-dog breeders out of existence,” said Bruce Tague, vice president of government affairs for Sportsmen’s Alliance.
Take Action! Tennessee members should contact their state reps and senators and urge them to oppose House Bill 547 and Senate Bill 511. Tennessee members can find their legislators by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center.
Of greatest concern is that the bills would apply to anyone who keeps 10 or more intact females capable of breeding during a 12-month period – whether those animals are bred or not doesn’t matter. The bills cite that the dogs’ primary purpose is for selling those offspring, but doesn’t define the term nor grant any exceptions for sporting-dog breeders who compete in field trials, hunt tests or simply hunt their dogs and choose to breed an exceptional females after proving her ability.
“Even small sporting-dog kennels who conscientiously breed often own many females for years while they campaign them in competitive formats or hunt them in the field to evaluate their worthiness to breed and compatibility with specific males,” said Brian Lynn, vice president of marketing and communications for Sportsmen’s Alliance and well-known sporting-dog writer. “One-size-fits-all legislation is rarely thought completely through, and this is a perfect example of how a well-meaning, but flawed, bill can destroy great breeders, bloodlines and, eventually, exponentially increase the cost of a puppy to the detriment of hunters.”
Additionally, these bills would give the Commissioner of Commerce, and not the Department of Agriculture, which is standard in most states and federally, the ability to establish regulations covering housing, kennels, exercise, veterinary requirements, mandatory inspections, as well as yet-to-be-determined fees and fee schedules for the application and granting of the state license. The bills explicitly allow county and city governments to impose regulations even more stringent and costly than the state, creating an incremental and potentially very expensive bureaucracy for ethical breeders.
“Legislators have not provided justification for giving the Commissioner of Commerce nearly unlimited power to regulate any and all breeders, or for giving local governments even more power than the state to do so,” said Tague. “Legislation concerning animal-cruelty already exists. Lack of enforcement and investigative resources isn’t just reason to increase government power to regulate and tax legitimate sporting-dog kennels out of business.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.