Oklahoma's Animal Breeding Regulations In Limbo Amid Changes - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Oklahoma's Animal Breeding Regulations In Limbo Amid Changes

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Until 2010, there were no state regulations on how dogs and cats were bred in Oklahoma. Now, a law that provides protection for the animals is being altered. Until 2010, there were no state regulations on how dogs and cats were bred in Oklahoma. Now, a law that provides protection for the animals is being altered.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

More changes may soon be coming to the way Oklahoma enforces its animal breeding regulations.

Until 2010, there were no state regulations on how dogs and cats were bred in Oklahoma. Now, a law that provides protection for the animals is being altered.

2/28/2012 Related Story: Enforcement Of Pet Breeder Law Requires Dogged Determination

The law worked toward adequate cage sizes for animals and had the promise of forcing all breeders to have animals checked by a vet before being sold. Animal advocates say new rules and a different agency have watered down the law. However, many breeders argue there is no need for big government regulation.

In Oklahoma, breeding facilities that the state deems are not up to par have been facing more scrutiny. Law enforcement, backed by the Oklahoma Commercial Pet Breeders Act, has been cracking down on inadequate breeding operations. Many animal lovers are hoping the new law will continue to carry the same bite.

"The vast majority of the population cares passionately about this and will be watching very carefully," said Christy Counts with the Central Oklahoma Humane Society.

Recently, the regulation enforcement changed from the Commercial Pet Breeder Board to the Department of Agriculture. Along with that change, emergency rules were enacted that are, for now, stripping the law of cage size restrictions and relaxing other policies.

"The average person isn't going to see these cages because most of these breeders won't let the average person on their property to see these cages," Counts said.

Breeders are saying not so fast. They say breeding is their livelihood, and they love the animals. Oklahoma cat breeder Pat Harbert supports regulation but says the original enforcement was too harsh.

"There were so many [breeders] that were harassed and just hounded until [they] went out of business," Harbert said.

Harbert is hopeful things will be better with the Agriculture Department.

"They are very familiar with animals and have professional staff who are experienced in inspection," Harbert said.

The Agriculture Department will meet Tuesday, June 19 at 9:30 a.m. at the Agriculture Department's headquarters to hear all sides. At that meeting, the state will receive input on new rules. Final rules on the regulation are still months away.

The state has not appropriated any additional money to the agriculture department to enforce the new regulations. The law only affects breeders who have 11 or more breeding females.

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