Monday, February 14, 2011

Pet Theft Awareness Day

In celebrating Valentine’s Day and showing love for our friends and family, today is also a time to celebrate the love for our four-legged friends and family. And thanks to a California-based animal group, Last Chance for Animals (LCA), today’s love is ensuring our pets are safe and protected. In doing so, LCA started Pet Theft Awareness Day to expose the horrible reality that our beloved pets could become victim of pet theft.

The United States Department of Agriculture licenses animal dealers; anyone selling animals to laboratories (or selling more than 24 dogs or cats per year at the wholesale level) must be licensed. Class "A" dealers maintain their own breeding colonies while Class "B" dealers obtain animals from "random sources." For a $10 fee, anyone can apply for a USDA Class "B" dealer license. The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) inspectors are responsible for making certain that the dealer's records are current and complete, and for ensuring the health and safety of the animals. Unfortunately, the USDA has not made the latter a priority, for there is a shortage of inspectors and enforcement of existing regulations is weak. Consequently, many of the people involved in the sale of stolen animals are licensed by the federal government.

Many of these “random source” animals come from animal shelters who participate in pound seizure, are stray animals, family pets stolen from backyards or are animals obtained from “free to good home” ads. Besides pound seizure, which is legal in some states, the latter methods of obtaining animals are a violation of the Animal Welfare Act. Class B dealers obtain animals any way they can, so they can turn around and make a profit by selling these animals to other Class B Dealers or to research facilities and universities for laboratory experiments; which in most cases, ends in death for the animals. Again, inspections and enforcement to ensure that “random source” animals are not brokered is lacking (to say the least) and family pets continue to end up in the hands of Class B dealers and then into the hands of research facilities.

According to the USDA, there are 1,070 registered Class B dealers in the US, but only a handful hold the title of “random source” B dealers, individuals who sell cats and dogs to research. Investigations have revealed that animals in the care of Class B dealers also violate the Animal Welfare Act. Cats and dogs under the care of Class B dealers have been found suffering from wounds, injuries, diseases, inadequate veterinary care, inadequate food/water/shelter, live animals in cages with dead animals, animals who have been beaten, strangled, shot and open burial pits found on the property.

So please keep your pet safe by remembering a few simple rules:
DON’T leave pets unattended in your yard. It only takes a minute for someone to steal your pet.
allow your pet to be visible from the street.
leave your dog tied up outside restaurants or stores.
leave any animal unattended in your car, even if it is “just for a minute.”
use “free to good home” ads to place companion animals. These ads are often answered by Class “B” dealers. Contact a rescue group for assistance in conducting your own adoption.

DO spay and neuter your companion animals. This reduces your animal’s desire to stray and reduces the risk of your companion animal being stolen for breeding purposes.
DO provide your companion animals with collars, ID tags, and licenses. Speak with your veterinarian about backup forms of identifications, including tattooing and microchipping.
DO keep recent photos and written descriptions of your companion animals on hand at all times.
DO keep dogs and cats indoors, especially when you’re not home.
DO know where your animals are at all times. Treat your companion animals as you would a small child.
DO educate family, friends, and neighbors about pet theft.

Take a few minutes to learn more about Pet Theft Awareness Day.

Learn more about The Pet Safety and Protection Act (aka “Buck’s Bill”).

Learn more about Pound Seizure by clicking here and here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Recent news about class b random source research dealers.