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New Law Bans Class B Dealers From Selling "Random Source" Dogs and Cats for Research Purposes

c c baird 003For over three decades, LCA has worked tirelessly to stop USDA licensed Class B animal dealers who obtained dogs and cats from "random sources" like animal shelters/pounds (this is called pound seizure), other B dealers, and "bunchers"only to hand them over to medical research laboratories.

On December 18, 2015, Congress' passing of the 2015 Omnibus Funding Bill effectively cut all funding of USDA Class B licenses for dealers selling "random source" dogs and cats for use in research, experiments, testing, or teaching. This effectively shut down these unscrupulous dealers as they will be unable to renew their licenses in 2016. The victory follows more than 35 years of investigations, prosecutions, and campaigns against Class B dealers by LCA, who has been instrumental in exposing and ending this brutal industry.

What are B Dealers?

b dealers 001 2Class B dealers are licensed by the USDA to purchase and sell "random source" animals to medical research. B dealers obtain animals for resale from other B dealers, shelters, and from people who have bred and raised the animals themselves.

B dealers routinely violate the law by acquiring animals from fraudulent sources, as well as by abusing and neglecting them. These animals are often stolen pets, strays, or animals obtained under false pretenses through "free to good home" ads. Because of this, it is virtually impossible to know the true history of an animal acquired by a Class B dealer. Each time a Class B dealer sells an animal to a research lab, a strong possibility exists that he or she is a lost or stolen family pet.

Class B dealers were shown to regularly and willingly do everything in their power to ensure family pets were sold to be tortured in research laboratories. The monetary incentives associated with selling lost and stolen family pets motivated B dealers to violate countless laws. Records were falsified, such as evidence of ownership, and dog tags were purposefully destroyed; no attempt was made to reunite animals with microchips with their families. Instead, these companion animals were kept in squalid conditions before being sold for use in experimentation.

Bunchers

Bunchers obtain animals through "free to good home" ads, preying on unsuspecting people who can no longer care for their companions. They make promises of a good home and tender care, only to turn around and sell the animalssometimes the very same dayto Class B dealers. In attempts to gather as many animals as possible for sale to research institutions, bunchers also frequently steal companion animals directly from their families.

LCA Investigations into Class B Dealers

HBO posterLCA's Sam Simon Special Investigations Unit has gone undercover to document pet theft and the rampant cruelty and neglect prevalent at numerous Class B dealer facilities. Investigators have risked their lives to document the abuse, which includes starvation, beatings, lack of shelter, and even the slaughter of dogs to be sold as meat.

LCA's work has helped expose and shut down numerous dog dealers, including Barbara Ruggiero, Frederick Spero, and Ralph Jacobsen, leading LCA to become the first animal rights group to procure state and federal prison sentences for Class B dealers in 1991. LCA's groundbreaking investigation into notorious B dealer C.C. Baird was the subject of HBO's Emmy award-winning documentary Dealing Dogs. This documentary brought the truth about B dealers' abhorrent cruelty to prime time and spurred a national movement against the B dealer industry.

Click here to learn more about LCA's investigation into Class B dealers.

Federal Bans on B Dealers

lucky 11 omega 2The demise of Class B dealers has led to a drastic reduction in the number of pet thefts, partly due to the passing of the Congress Omnibus Funding Bill on 12/18/15. The new legislation finally phased out this unscrupulous industry altogether and removed all funds for USDA licensing or re-licensing of Class B animal dealers.

Previously, in 2012, the National Institute of Health (NIH) defunded research on cats obtained from Class B dealers, and in 2014, the NIH adopted a similar ban on dogs. Although this dealt a major blow to Class B dealer operations, the 2016 spending bill was the final nail in the coffin, forcing all B dealers selling dogs and cats to research facilities to shut down their operations.

Prior to 2015's Funding Bill, the only piece of federal legislation standing between family pets and unscrupulous B dealers who sold them to be tortured in research labs was the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Enacted in 1966, the AWA requires the minimum standards of care and treatment be provided for most warm-blooded animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public.

b dealers aphisUnfortunately, the enforcement of the AWA is completely inadequate and millions of family pets have ended up in research facilities as a result. The enforcement of the AWA is the responsibility of the Animal Care division of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which is a part of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Government documents show the laws of the AWA severely lack enforcement and APHIS is unable to ensure animals are well cared for. Additionally, violators who are penalized for their infringements consider monetary penalties an accepted cost of conducting violations of the AWA, including the falsification of recordsthe only current way to ensure the family pets do not enter the research animal tradecontinue undeterred.

 

Click here to read the 1966 article in LIFE Magazine about B Dealers

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