Federal Legislation

Federal: Stop “Pet Theft” for Illegal Trade in Animals Sold for Research

Name: Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2013
Number: HR 2224 and S707

A federal bill to prohibit research facilities from using animals obtained from random source, or “Class B” animal dealers would provide better protection for cats and dogs who are obtained through theft or misrepresentation and are then sold for research. The Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2013, H.R. 2224, would amend the Animal Welfare Act to ensure that all dogs and cats used by research facilities are obtained legally.

Under this bill, research facilities would be required to get their animals from only specified sources that can prove their ownership of the animals:

  • A licensed dealer who has bred and raised the dog or cat;
  • A publicly owned and operated pound or shelter that obtained the dog or cat from its legal owner, other than another pound or shelter; is registered with the Secretary and is in compliance with applicable regulations for dealer;
  • A person that is donating the dog or cat who bred and raised the dog or cat, or owned the dog or cat for not less than 1 year before making the donation;
  • A research facility licensed by the Secretary; and
  • A Federal research facility licensed by the Secretary

Allowing research facilities to obtain animals from other sources, generally Class B or “random source” animal dealers means that animals that are picked up as strays, stolen form someone’s backyard, or even taken as “free to a good home” ads, can be sold to a research facility without the intent or permission of the owner. Class B licensees have a poor track record of accounting for their animals and it is possible for a companion animal to end up in a laboratory because they temporarily escaped from or were stolen from their home.

While this bill includes animal pounds in their accepted list of animals that may be used for research, it also specifically states that no animal shelter or pound would be required to provide animals to a research facility upon demand (pound seizure).

The Pet Safety and Protection Act is a measure that has been introduced during six successive sessions of Congress, yet has failed to pass each year. The National Institutes of Health has now instituted policies discouraging researchers receiving federal funds from using these random source animals and only a handful of licensed Class B dealers remain in business. Now is the time to pass this law to protect animals still at risk.

Call to action:

    1. Please write your state Assemblyperson and ask him/her to support this bill.
    2. Spread the word! Share this page with your social network.

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