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Pound Seizure

pound seizureMany dogs are taken from pounds and sold to research

Pound seizure is the practice of “seizing” dogs and cats from shelters and pounds to supply the biomedical research industry. Some pounds and shelters must sell (or choose to sell) to Class “B” dealers or research facilities. When dogs and cats are obtained for research, their fate is terminal. Some animals die quickly, while others are used in long-term, agonizing studies.

Pound Seizure is Not Necessary

The practice of pound seizure is not only unnecessary, The World Health Organization advises against it, as well as the Council of Europe. Pound source animals are poor subjects for research experiments because their genetic backgrounds and medical histories are unknown, making it very difficult to acquire accurate results. Furthermore, the myth that banning pound seizure will prohibit advancements in medical research and teaching situations is also incorrect. In 1983, Massachusetts became the first state to officially prohibit pound seizure and has proved that research has not been hindered. For example, Harvard Medical School is one of the finest in the world. Three years after the ban was adopted, medical research remained at the same level as before. More and more scientists and doctors condemn the use of random source animals and are aiding to end the practice of pound seizure.

Shelters and Pounds are not Warehouses for Laboratories

Animal shelters, humane society shelters, and pounds are set up to do three things:
1. Protect animals until their guardian reclaims them.
2. Adopt the animal to a loving, secure home if the animal is not reclaimed.
3. Humane euthanization if there is no other alternative.

Under no circumstances should an animal have to be subjected to torture in a research facility.

States That Have Banned Pound Seizure

Although there is no federal law pertaining to pound seizure, eighteen states prohibit it:
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New York
Pennsylvania (banned for dogs only)
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Washington DC
West Virginia

pound seizure

States vary in their oversight of animal control and transactions involving animals. Most other states have no laws regarding pound seizure and leave it up to the county or town governments to decide. For instance, some states indicate that "owners" must approve of the animal being released to research institutions, and others mandate the release of animals without them first being available for adoption.

Two states in the U.S. -- Oklahoma and Ohio -- still legally require that publicly funded shelters and pounds provide dogs and cats to institutions for experimental or educational purposes.

What You Can Do:

  • To find out how your state stands on pound seizure, go to Click on your state to find out whether or not your state prohibits, mandates, allows or has not dealt with the issue of pound seizure.
  • If you live in one of the states that permit pound seizure, work for state legislation to end it. It’s been done, it’s being done and you can do it in your state. Bills have been presented before and it is not hard to introduce them. You just have to do it. Until there is a law to protect our animals, every animal is at risk.
  • Contact those in charge of local pounds and shelters and find out what they have done or are doing to cease this horrendous practice. Talk with town or state officials on the issue and insist laws are created to end pound seizure. Speak out, organize letter writing campaigns and get petitions signed.


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