Bill Summary for H 159 (2015-2016)

Summary date: 

Mar 4 2015

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2015-2016 Session
House Bill 159 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 4, 2015
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH STANDARDS OF CARE FOR LARGE COMMERCIAL DOG BREEDING FACILITIES AND TO PROVIDE LAW ENFORCEMENT WITH TOOLS TO ENSURE THAT DOGS AT THOSE FACILITIES ARE TREATED HUMANELY.
Intro. by Saine, McGrady, Catlin, Harrison.

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Bill summary

Transfers the Animal Welfare Section and the Spay/Neuter Program from the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), with all of the elements of a Type I transfer. Makes conforming change to statutes in GS Chapter 19A. 

Amends the purposes of the Animal Welfare Act listed in GS 19A-21 to also include ensuring that animals are provided humane care and treatment by regulating commercial breeding and ensuring that animals confined in commercial breeding operations are provided humane care and treatment. 

Amends GS 19A-23 to make conforming changes and to add definitions for the terms commercial breeder and commercial breeding operations. Defines commercial breeder as any person who owns, has custody of, or maintains 11 or more female dogs over six months of age that are capable of reproduction and are kept primarily for the purposes of breeding and selling the offspring as pets. Excludes a person who keeps or breeds dogs exclusively for the purpose of herding or guarding livestock or farm animals, hunting, tracking, or exhibiting in dog shows, performance events, or field and obedience trials. Defines commercial breeding operation to mean the physical location or facility at which a commercial breeder breeds or maintains 11 or more female dogs over six months of age that are capable of reproduction for the purpose of breeding and selling the offspring. Excludes veterinary facilities and research facilities having custody of female dogs for purposes other than breeding.

Amends GS 19A-24 to give DPS the power to establish standards for commercial breeding operations and requires DPS to adopt rules for the certification of euthanasia technicians. 

Enacts new GS 19A-29.1 to require a certificate of registration in order to operate as a commercial breeder. Specifies nine items that must be included in the registration, including the name and location of the commercial breeding operation, the number of dogs sold or transferred by the commercial breeder in the previous fiscal year, and whether the applicant has been convicted of animal cruelty or neglect. Requires a separate registration for each premises. Requires the operation to be inspected before issuing a certificate of registration. Sets the registration period as the fiscal year and requires a $200 registration fee. Requires that a list of commercial breeding operations be made public, upon request. Makes acting as a commercial breeder without registering a Class 2 misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class 1 misdemeanor for second or subsequent offenses. Also makes commercial breeders failing to register subject to injunction.

Enacts new GS 19A-29.2 requiring commercial breeders to maintain records on the dogs in their custody, and specifies the information that must be included in the records. Records are required to be maintained for two years after the dog is released.

Enacts new GS 19A-29.3 establishing housing requirements for the dogs. Sets out requirements concerning the construction and maintenance of the housing, light fixtures and electrical outlets, power, food and bedding, animal and food waste and debris, running water, temperature, fencing, and maintenance of primary enclosures and walkways. Provides that all areas of a facility are subject to review or inspection during business hours. Sets out standards that must be met for indoor housing facilities. Requires that dogs kept outdoors be provided with one house for each animal, except for a mother and her unweaned offspring; also specifies the requirements for the construction of the house. Requires all primary enclosures to be constructed to provide space allowing each dog to walk; to turn around freely; and to easily stand, sit, and lie in a natural position. Sets out eight requirements for the primary enclosures. Sets out five sanitation requirements.

Enacts new GS 19A-29.4 requiring that all animals held in the commercial breeding operation be provided with: (1) daily access to both human and same species social interaction; (2) access, at least once per day, to outdoor space at least three times the size of the primary enclosure; providing that nursing, unweaned puppies and any other dog for which a duly licensed veterinarian states in writing that such activity would pose a health threat are considered to require such access to outdoor space; (3) a species and size‑appropriate toy, unless it poses a health threat; and (4) grooming sufficient to prevent excessive matting and claw or nail length. Specifies feeding and water requirements concerning timing of feedings; food content; placement, number, and care of food and water receptacles; and access to water.

Enacts new GS 19A-29.5 requiring all dogs to be inoculated as required by state or local law and receive, at minimum, an annual hands‑on examination by a duly licensed veterinarian. Requires prompt treatment by a licensed veterinarian for any illness or injury. Requires each dog to be observed daily by the animal caretaker in charge or by someone under the caretaker's direct supervision. Requires sick or diseased, injured, lame, or blind dogs to be provided with prompt veterinary care or be euthanized, provided that doing so does not affect compliance with any law requiring the holding of dogs suspected of being diseased. Requires full written disclosure of the medical condition of a diseased or deformed dog to the new owner. Requires compliance with the rabies law.

Enacts new GS 19A-29.6 making it a Class 3 misdemeanor for a commercial breeder to fail to adequately house, exercise, feed, water, provide adequate veterinary care, or otherwise meet the standards of care, punishable by a fine of no less than $50 per animal and no more than a total of $1,000, and suspension, revocation, or denial of registration as a commercial breeder.

Amends GS 19A-30 to allow the issuance or renewal of a commercial breeding operation certificate of registration to be refused under specified conditions, including that the commercial breeding operation is not in compliance with the rules under the Article. Requires such refusal, or revocation of the registration, for any person who has been convicted of animal cruelty or neglect.

Amends GS 105-164.13(4b) to specify that the exemption from the sales tax concerning the sale of farm products in their original state by the producer does not apply to products of a commercial breeding operation or products of other operations for the breeding and selling of animals as pets. Amends GS 105-167.13E, providing that the exemption from sales tax for qualifying farmers does not include a commercial breeder or other breeders of animals sold as pets. Effective July 1, 2015.

Unless otherwise indicated, effective December 1, 2015.

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