April 4, 2009
Dear Representative Komp and Jan Franke, Legislative Assistant -
The following is what I hope to be my last words on HB2470. I do acknowledge the CPC Members have worked very hard on this bill and they have attempted to revise it to a satisfactory position, but I must still say I oppose any number caps being put in place at the state level. I ask that you reflect on one of my first correspondences with you where I appealed to the use of common sense regarding legislation that encompasses the whole as legislation generally does. I do believe there is a target group that HB2470 might constructively affect, however, that group is much smaller than the majority, and I guarantee you they will find a way around the law, they always do. In this case the hobbyists who are numbers fold, responsible ethical individuals that will be severely penalized by this are the majority.
I would again like to call your attention to the numbers published by the USDA for Oregon on class A and B dealers/brokers. In Oregon we have a total of 15 breeders that are USDA classified. Perhaps if our existing laws were better enforced we might see improvement. Which I also have to say is very hard for me to write, because simply I do not see that we have a problem. Where are the "puppy mills" the HSUS is trying to save Oregon from? How many animal cruelty cases revolving around dogs in Oregon have we had in say the last 10 years?
On that note here is my letter to the committee.
I will be in attendance as well Monday April 6th for the work session.
April 3, 2009
To The House Consumer Protection Committee Members -
CC: Representative Betty Komp
RE: HB2470 Oppose Before you vote on HB2470 I wanted to take a few minutes of your time and thank you for looking out for Oregon. I appreciate the time and effort you have all put into hearings and work groups in this matter. Through this process I have become aware that Oregon is currently a national leader in animal cruelty laws, but that enforcement has been lacking. Which may be in part why you and I have come to where we have today. But on that I also I would like to voice a special note of thanks and recognition to Representative Weidner for taking the lead against applying caps on numbers of dogs owned by citizens, and his suggestion that this issue be sent to an interm task force. I feel he is basing these suggestions on facts, logic, compassion and new insights.
I believe the entire committee has learned a great deal about Oregon's own dedicated animal advocates through this process, dog and cat enthusiasts, animal professionals - trainers, veterinarians, who all care not only for Oregon as a state that leads, but for it's animals small and large. None of us oppose change or betterment but the bottom line is - Is HB2470 truly the answer? As it is written today I do not believe it targets where there might be problems, I believe the net HB2470 casts is too wide. If this bill passes with numerical caps included it will simply push the disreputable breeding operations further underground. It will hurt responsible ethical breeders, in some cases completely eradicating them. These would be the same ethical responsible breeders that have met with you, written to you and who are dedicated to education and action over reaction.
In the closing of the hearing on March 30th, I don't think it could have been said better when Chairman Holvey said, and this is why we hold public hearings. So with that I will once again say thank you for listening to Oregon's animal welfare advocates. Good luck to us all on Monday!
Sincerely, Virginia Marie Carr Heitz aka Gina Heitz
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