Ban Random Source Animal Dealers

For years, Congress has considered legislation that would eliminate random source Class B dealers. These dealers, which sell animals from pounds, shelters, and individuals to research facilities, have a sordid history of illegal acquisition of animals and improper treatment of dogs and cats housed at their facilities. 

The public has long been concerned about pets being used in laboratories. In fact, the story of Pepper, a Dalmatian who was stolen from her family, sold to a lab, and killed during an experiment, spurred the creation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) in 1966. As part of the AWA’s legal standards of care and treatment for animals acquired and used in research, testing, and education, the Act is meant to protect lost and stolen pets from being sold to research. 

While the number of random source dealers has been dwindling rapidly in recent years, those still in business do so under a cloud of cynicism, and often the USDA seems unable or unwilling to stop them. In 2013, USDA held an administrative hearing to address a complaint against James Woudenberg, owner of R&R Research, for illegally obtaining animals on 5 separate occasions in 2008. The complaint was initially dismissed. When the decision was appealed, the Judicial Officer asked to review the case decided that even though there was evidence that Woudenberg had violated the Animal Welfare Act, that a simple cease and desist order would be a sufficient punishment and deterrent. This is despite the fact that Woudenberg had been cited 4 more times for violations of the same regulation since 2008. Clearly, USDA has not been effective at ensuring compliance with the dealer regulations.

Continuing to spend valuable resources regulating the few remaining random source dealers is a waste of taxpayer money and has not helped to protect the dogs and cats who continue to suffer in their facilities. It is not surprising that the National Institutes of Health recently prohibited the use of dogs and cats purchased from random source dealers from government-funded research protocols.   

It is time to end the licensing and regulation of random source Class B dealers and put them out of business once and for all. When it is reintroduced in the new legislative session, Congress should finally pass the Pet Safety and Protection Act. Passing this legislation would allow USDA to use its limited funds to focus on its many other Animal Care responsibilities and finally put an end to this dirty business.

What You Can Do

Please contact your Representative and ask him/her to support the Pet Safety and Protection Act when it is reintroduced. Tell him/her that the original intent of the Animal Welfare Act is to protect lost and stolen pets from being sold to research and that random source Class B dealers are not adequately regulated.