As we approach the holiday season, I wish each and everyone safe travels as we reunite with our loved ones and attend the final shows, trials and training events of 2013 with our dogs. I hope this year has been a successful one for you in your respective endeavors, and that you look forward to the new year with renewed enthusiasm and good health.
As you may know from following the informational postings on our website, www.virginiafederation.org, and from other social media, the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State (ADCNYS) has spearheaded an effort to obtain a legal injunction barring implementation of the new USDA/APHIS rules taking effect this month. In their present form the rules are much too confusing, and APHIS’ attempt to “clarify” the rules via a series of phone conferences and webinars have only succeeded in creating more questions and concerns. On October 24, the American Kennel Club sent a letter to Dr. Gerald Rushin, the Veterinary Medical Officer for Animal Care at APHIS, requesting many points of clarification of the rules that will affect small hobby breeders of purebred dogs, cats, hamsters, etc. To date no response has been posted. The bottom line is, APHIS cannot make it up as they go along: If the intent of each and every rule is not clearly defined in writing, then those charged with implementing these rules will base their enforcement actions on personal interpretations. Also, keep in mind that these regulations were never voted on by your elected federal representatives because they are not laws.
By its action in federal court, ADCNYS hopes to effect an injunction that would temporarily, if not permanently, halt the implementation of these ill-conceived rules. Many clubs from across the country have agreed to support this effort, both as plaintiffs and financially. This includes the Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs & Breeders as well as some of its Member Clubs. Hopefully yours can be counted among them. If you have not already done so, I strongly encourage every Virgina-based purebred dog club to consider joining the suit as a plaintiff. Doing so will not impose any future legal liabilities or expenses.
Please go to the special website set up by ADCNYS, www.keepourdomesticanimals.com. Read every page carefully before deciding if your group can afford NOT to be part of this action. And then, even if you still think you won’t be affected because you’re not a breeder, or don’t sell animals online, think again. If you’ve received AKC’s November issue of “Taking Command”, read the letter the Government Relations Director sent to APHIS more than a month ago. Lots of questions! And finally, ask yourselves if you can afford NOT to support your fellow fanciers. For decades those who would deprive us of our rights have persisted in picking away at every aspect of what we do and how we do it, whether it be breeding, training, selling, vetting, transporting, housing, or rescuing. Make no mistake about who is driving this agenda, and recognize that NOW as never before we need to stand together and support each other against the threat of extinction.
Time is running out for us. Please act NOW, this week. We have nothing to lose by this action, but we may lose everything by our inaction.
Mariane R. Herndon, President