I've heard some of the
whining about Act 90 and the worry about how it was going to affect shelters
and rescues. Frankly, I don't see what the big deal is. I filed our
application, printed off a copy of the rules and walked through our shelter
with a critical eye. We made a few simple corrections, and waited excitedly to
meet our inspector.
On the day
she arrived, she had another inspector in tow who was in the final stages of
her training. Both were courteous and pleasant, and able to answer our
questions. We were found to have one small violation, which was easily
corrected, and not at all a burden on the organization. We already had a vet at
the facility regularly, and that has been increased a bit to keep up with the
Certificates of Veterinary Inspection (CVI's), but
that's certainly not a bad thing, either! We've found our adopters to be happy
a CVI accompanies each adoption. It gives them peace of mind.
I personally think the
greatest thing about this law is that it gives the consumer a way to sort the
good from the bad. That's not to say that all who are not licensed are bad -
but at least consumers can be pretty well-assured that if facilities ARE
licensed, they're good. If there's any doubt in the consumer's mind, all he/she
has to do at a licensed facility is ask to see a copy of the latest inspection
report. Consumers can look that over for violations and decide for themselves.
There are some facilities operating on a conditional license, meaning they're
awaiting their initial inspection, or they've been inspected, but had
violations that needed to be addressed. They may not be "up to par"
by a consumer's standpoint, so it's important to know whether the facility has
had its final clearance or is still in the process of compliance.
As always, it
behooves the consumer to be educated and know what questions to ask. Sure,
there will be small legitimate shelters, rescues and good breeders who don't
require licensing because they don't handle enough animals in a year. There is
a great article on the No Wisconsin Puppymills site,
Twelve Points to
Identifying a Quality Breeder, that outlines what to look for in a quality
breeder. Many of those points also apply to a quality shelter or rescue. While
you're on that website, take a look around at some of the photos and stories -
you will see why it's SO important not to support the puppymill industry!
goodness for Act 90!
This miniature Minature
Pinscher, checking out prospective adopters at a January 2012 adoption event,
was surrendered by a "breeder" to a reputable rescue. If asked, he
would probably also say, "Thank goodness for Act 90!" (By the way,
that is not a typo -- this little guy was billed as a Mini MinPin!)
Editor's Note: a graphic
example of the need for regulation to apply both to rescues/ shelters and to
dogs being brought in from out of state can be found in the 17 January arrest
of two women in Fayette Co., Tennessee. During a routine traffic stop, officers
discovered 140 dogs and one cat, in terrible condition, crammed in carriers and
make-shift cages stacked inside a filthy U-Haul truck, or riding in the minivan
being towed by the truck. The driver was the founder of the California rescue
Hearts For Hounds. Under investigation in California, the rescuers packed up
their animals, intending to relocate to a larger facility in Virginia. For more
details, please click on the links below: