OK Department Puts Emergency Rules In Place For Pet Breeders
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture is deciding what to do with commercial pet breeders. In a controversial move, the legislature this year moved regulation of the industry from the Pet Breeders Board to the state agency.
The Legislature gave the department more responsibilities but no more funding. Which some argued weakened the current law.
Linda Roach has been breeding small dogs at her South Oklahoma City breeding facility for seven years.
"The good people who have a license, love animals," she said.
Roach is licensed by the state of Oklahoma, the City of Oklahoma City and the American Kennel Club. Tuesday, members of the State Department of Agriculture visited her facility to get a better of idea of the new industry they will be charged with regulating and inspecting.
"(A) crash course," said Teena Gunter, General Counsel with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry.
The department has to have an emergency set of rules in place by July 1st. So Tuesday it held a public hearing with breeders, like Linda, on the proposed rules.
"We want the rules to be fair, to be equitable, to have the fees be reasonable," said Roach.
Linda says the new rules are essentially the same as when the Commercial Pet Breeder Board was regulating them.
The biggest concern, however, from those opposed to the Department of Agriculture taking over is the agency hasn't been given adequate time or money to enforce those rules.
"It will be hard for the department to do their job without adequate funding, but we think they will do their best," said Dale Barlett, with the Humane Society of the United States.
"We're not concerned about that," said Gunter. "We're definitely committing the resources to the program."
The Department of Agriculture board voted Tuesday afternoon to accept the emergency rules. The agency will start working on a more permanent set of regulations on September.