• Puppy mills
• Gas chambers
• Rescue rights
• Austin No Kill Implementation Plan
• Breed discrimination
• Background and need
• Issues to consider
• Recommended items to include in legislation
• Some sample language
• Large scale, commercial breeders of pets
• Often abusive and neglectful conditions
• Stacked cages
• Little or no exercise, or even time outside
cages; some spend entire lifetime in cage
• Females overbred and tossed away
• Sick or injured animals
• Lack of veterinary care
• Patchwork of federal and (sometimes) state
• Federal Animal Welfare Act (“AWA”) of 1966:
• license/inspection process
• Until recently, wholesale only.
• Until recently, did not regulate breeders who sell
directly to the public (in-person or internet sales)
• New federal rules to regulate internet sales
• Does not preempt local or state regulation
• State and local laws vary, with many states
having no regulation at all.
Types of Puppy Mill Laws
1. Direct, On-Site Regulation
2. Retail / Pet store regulations
3. Consumer remedies
4. General Anti-Cruelty Laws (which
apply within and outside puppy-mill
• Limit number of animals (some laws
begin to regulate at a specified number
• Require licensing and/or fees
• Implement mandatory, unannounced
• Regulate conditions – food/water,
stacking, veterinary care, etc.
On-Site Regulation: Texas Puppy
• Applies to breeding facilities with 11+ breeding females &
• Does not preempt local ordinances
• Loopholes: racing, hunting, herding, competitions.
• Authorizes licensing process and fees
• Mandates inspections once every 18 months and upon
complaint of violation
• Authorizes commission to adopt minimum humane
standards of care, including:
• Very minimal enclosure standards
• One veterinary visit per year for breeding animal
Retail / Pet Store Ordinance
• Generally local ordinances to regulate, limit, or ban the
purchase of puppy-mill animals within municipalities.
• All-out ban:
• Ban sale or other transfer of dogs or cats in pet stores or other
retail outlets within city/county limits
• Require veterinary certificate of health
• Require spay/neuter/vaccination
• Require fee
• ***Exempt animal shelters and rescue groups from
• Internet sales: issue for animal advocates going forward
• Provides remedy for consumers who purchased
sick or ill animals from a breeder or retail outlet
• Usually provides either replacement animal,
refund, or cost of veterinary care up to purchase
price--- thus, obvious limitations.
• Need to change these laws to provide for recovery
of actual value to pet owner: (a) emotional distress
and/or (b) all veterinary costs, without limitation
• Exempt rescues/shelters
• Killing companion animals by carbon monoxide
• Animals placed in metal box fully conscious
• Sometimes multiple animals;
• sometimes multiple species;
• sometimes live animals piled on top of dead bodies from
• High pitch sound as chamber filled with carbon
• Can take 30 minutes to work.
• Some animals panic; some fight.
• Banned or partially banned in 20 states
“Animals gasp for breath, their insides burning.
They claw at the floor and throw themselves
against the walls of the chamber in an attempt to
get out. Sometimes it takes the dog or cat as long
as 30 minutes to die. It's terrifying and
• Among the most cruel ways to legally kill an
• Not just bad for animals; bad for people too:
• Dangerous for shelter staff:
• Gas chambers can and have exploded
• Terrified animals stuffed into box can claw,
scratch, and bite staff.
• More costly to run gas chambers than implement
lethal injection in the long run; thus, gas-chamber
bans are revenue positive for government agencies.
“A person may euthanize a dog or cat in the custody of an animal shelter
only by administering sodium pentobarbital.”
NKAC Model Language:
“All animals impounded by a public or private sheltering agency or
rescue group shall be killed only when necessary and consistent with the
requirements of this Act, by lethal intravenous injection of sodium
pentobarbital, except as follows:
(1) intraperitoneal injections may be used only under the direction of a
licensed veterinarian, and only when intravenous injection is not
(2) Intracardiac injections may be used only when intravenous injection
is not possible for animals who are completely unconscious or
comatose, and then only under the direction of a veterinarian.”
What is a rescue-access law?
It’s a law that guarantees qualified
rescue groups a right to rescue animals
that animal shelters plan to kill.
Why are they needed?
• 6-8 million animals entering US
• 3-4 million killed
• Some shelters refuse to work with
rescue groups willing to save animals
even as they kill all day long.
Why are they needed?
New York survey:
• 71% of rescue groups had a shelter refuse to
transfer an animal to them, then the same
shelter turned around and killed the animal
• 43% of rescue groups had been retaliated
against for speaking out against inhumane
conditions at shelters
• 52% of rescue groups reported witnessing
inhumane conditions at animal shelters and
looking the other way out of fear of retribution
for speaking out.
1. Rescue-access laws save money:
• NKAC estimates passage of law in California
saves at least $1.8 million (killing and disposal
• City/County of San Francisco concluded it alone
saved ~½ million annually.
• Best Friends Animal Society analysis reached
similar conclusion in Texas.
2. Rescue-access laws save lives:
• Passage of law in California increased number of
animals transferred to rescues by 370%
• 12,526 in 1997 to 58,939 in 2010
Provisions in rescue-access law:
1. Rescue right: guaranteed right to rescue
animals scheduled to be killed
2. Notice: notification of “euth” list and time
to place animals on hold.
3. Exclusions: types of animals not protected.
4. Safeguards: types of rescues excluded.
6. Liability waiver: protect shelters from
Rescue right from NKAC Model
“No animal in the care or custody of . . . a
shelter . . . shall be destroyed if, prior to the
killing of that animal, a nonprofit . . .
animal rescue organization . . . requests
possession of the animal.”
• Exclude organizations with officer or
board member convicted of animal-related
crime (or charges/investigation pending).
• Proof of veterinary provider
• May choose to allow inspections but do so
only with cause
• Animal suspected of carrying rabies
• Dog determined dangerous by court of
• Dog with documented history of unprovoked
biting that caused severe injury.
• Animal experiencing irremediable physical
suffering with a poor prognosis for recovery
(as certified by veterinarian)
City/County No Kill Mandate
1. Compare your community’s
programs to the No Kill
2. Identify programmatic gaps
3. Lobby, lobby, lobby.
The No Kill Equation
1. Feral Cat TNR Program
2. High-Volume, Low-Cost Spay/Neuter
3. Rescue Groups
4. Foster Care
5. Comprehensive Adoption Programs
6. Pet Retention
7. Medical and Behavioral Rehabilitation
8. Public Relations/Community Involvement
10. Proactive Redemptions
11. A Compassionate Director
The City of Austin’s
Mandated No Kill Plan
1. Change the mission of
animal services = 90%
2. Off-site adoptions.
3. Large-scale foster
5. Intake counseling.
6. Community cat
spay/neuter & release.
7. Low-cost and free spay-
8. Provide advanced “euth”
list to rescue partners.
9. Public awareness & new
10. Increase return-to-
11. Moratorium on empty-
•Does not make communities safer
•Kills dogs; breaks up families
•Costly and ineffective
•Founded in racism and class
Texas Breed Discrimination Ban:
TEX. HEALTH & SAFETY CODE 822.047. LOCAL
REGULATION OF DANGEROUS DOGS.
“A county or municipality may place additional
requirements or restrictions on dangerous dogs if
the requirements or restrictions: (1) are not specific
to one breed or several breeds of dogs; and (2) are
more stringent than restrictions provided by this
“An animal shelter may not refuse to
adopt or transfer a dog or cat based on
the animal’s age, breed, type, breed
mix, appearance, or size.”
Effective dog-bite prevention:
• Leash/containment laws for dogs only
• Dangerous-dog legislation that focuses
on behavior, not breed.
• Anti-chaining laws