Run For Research Awareness!

Run For Research Awareness!

Registration is now OPEN to anyone, anywhere! Visit the link below to sign-up for the Homes for Animal Heroes Virtual 5K and become a Fundraiser as a Team Captain, join an existing team, or make a donation!

Homes for Animal Heroes Virtual 5k

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Virtually every treatment, cure, vaccine, diagnostic and surgical procedure available today has been made possible through research involving animals. If you have ever taken cold or allergy medicine, used an asthma inhaler, had an x-ray, been treated for cancer, received insulin, taken antibiotics (just to name a few), YOU have directly benefited from research involving animals.

Homes for Animal Heroes (HAH) is a national network that works with the research community to rehome former research dogs into their forever homes, and share the TRUTH about biomedical research! We need your support in order to expand the HAH network and rehome animal heroes in every US state!

Click here to JOIN the RACE to Rehome Animal Heroes & Raise Awareness for Research!

Also: don’t forget to visit the Homes for Animal Heroes website and to like the Homes for Animal Heroes Facebook page!

May 1, 2017 - Animal Law    3 Comments

Major Victory in New Jersey!

It has been an incredibly long and arduous fight, but we are proud to announce that the bill formerly known as New Jersey SB 63 pertaining to dog breeding and sourcing has finally been conditionally vetoed! Kudos and huge thanks to NAIA Board Members Barbara Reichman and Julian Prager for their hard work and incredible commitment to this fight, combined with all of YOU who took the time to make your voices heard. Thanks to Governor Chris Christie and his staff for listening to our concerns and doing the research necessary to understand the complexity of the issues and make the appropriate changes. As of May 1, Governor Christie has returned the bill to the legislature with the changes we and the rest of the stakeholders had requested.

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New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie

The bill has taken a long and winding road with many twists and turns, beginning as legislation to force pet stores to source only from shelters and rescues then dropping that requirement (thanks in large part to our input) and morphing into a bill that would treat hobby breeders as commercial breeders. The bill has gone through several different forms and bill numbers, the last version that was presented to the Governor being S3041. It was a much better version than what we started with but was still damaging and would still treat small hobby breeders as pet dealers and all the unrealistic requirements that would entail.

We at NAIA Trust have been working hard to unravel the confusion and keep you abreast to help you efficiently take action. NAIA Board Members Barbara Reichman and Julian Prager have worked directly with legislators throughout this entire process, right up to the Governor’s office. They have devoted countless hours drafting proposed amendments and positions, developing relationships, and communicating our concerns to protect breeders and owners. Between their work and the flood of calls to the Governor’s desk, we have finally succeeded!

Gov. Christie agreed with us in his conditional veto of the bill; he stated that while he commended the efforts to protect New Jersey pet purchasers, aspects of the bill went too far. “The bill would also have the unintended consequence of restricting consumer access to pets, even from responsible breeders,” stated Gov. Christie in his veto. He is definitely a friend to responsible dog breeders; he GETS it. He also made sure to get rid of all of the awful animal rights propaganda that was included in the recitals and findings to the bill. Some of the important changes he has made include:

  • Both the definition of “breeder” and “pet dealer” were changed to only apply to USDA licensed breeders, so in essence pet shops would be required to purchase from USDA licensed breeders (as they are now), and small at-home breeders are left out of the unrealistic requirements as we wanted.
  • The attempt to regulate out of state pet sellers has been removed.
  • The inclusion of anyone selling more than 10 dogs or cats in the state of New Jersey has been removed from the definition of pet dealers.
  • The bill previously prohibited pet shops from obtaining animals from breeders that had three or more USDA citations; this was replaced with “3 or more separate, final, and conclusive orders for violations.”

So, what happens next?

While this conditional veto represents a major battle won, the war is not over yet. The veto still has to go back to the legislature. The legislature can either accept the veto, do nothing (which means it will die), or they can attempt to override it. An override would require 27 votes in the Senate, and that never happened under 8 years of Gov. Christie.

Because the conditional veto will go back to the legislature, we will still need your support and help to ensure that Gov. Christie’s partial veto is accepted. Simply make sure you are signed up to follow NAIA Trust and will receive our alerts. Following NAIA Trust is easy and will keep you up-to-date on legislative issues like this one that affect you and your animals. If you haven’t signed up for NAIA Trust yet, you are missing out. We have made many improvements to our site to make it easier to understand the issues and taking action is as easy is clicking a button if you make sure to check “remember me” when you sign up for our alerts. Sign up here with NAIA Trust today to be a part of future victories like this momentous one in New Jersey!

 

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Congratulations to USARK!

NAIA  and NAIA Trust are proud to announce a HUGE legal victory by one of our friends in the fight for animal owners’ rights. On April 7, 2017, the US Court of Appeals, DC District, ruled in favor of United States Association of Reptile Keepers (USARK) over the US Fish and Wildlife Service, HSUS, and the Center for Biological Diversity. HSUS intervened in the case filed by USARK, thinking they could crush the little guy and got much more than they bargained for.

USARK advocates for the practice of responsible herpetoculture: the husbandry of reptiles & amphibians for conservation projects, zoos, museums, research facilities, education, and pets. The members practice conservation through captive breeding and work hard to preserve the right to do so.

Interpretation of a Federal law called the Lacey Act was the main dispute in this case. In 2013, USARK challenged a 2012 rule by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that designated 4 species of snakes as injurious under the Lacey Act. Four more species were added by a rule change in 2015, including the reticulated python and the green anaconda, and USARK amended their case. HSUS and Center for Biological Diversity began as only filing amicus briefs, which is basically interjecting an opinion but not actually participating as a party to the case. They later became intervening parties in 2015.

Green Anaconda

Green Anaconda

The Lacey Act is a longstanding Federal law that was enacted in 1900, with the principal “object and purpose” to “regulate the introduction of American or foreign birds or animals into localities where they have not heretofore existed.” The Act created a criminal prohibition against importation into the US of certain species, and the empowerment to declare species injurious and add them to regulation as needed. In 1960, the criminalization section was codified and clarified, but as too often happens in the law, was unintentionally made clear as mud.

The precise wording in the code prohibits “any shipment between the continental United States, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any possession of the United States.” This small sentence and its interpretation was the entire issue here. FWS recently decided to interpret the sentence to bar shipments not only from other countries into the listed locales and between the listed locales, but also between the 49 continental US states. HSUS and CBD supported this interpretation, USARK disagreed.

Injunctive relief was awarded by the D.C. District Court to USARK and its members in May 2015, which FWS, HSUS and CBD then challenged through appeal. The Federal Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court decision.

The Court used a plain language interpretation to come to their decision. The Court found that the use of the word “between” introduced the list with a one-to-one relationship between the listed items. It does not speak to the relationships within any listed objects, but prohibits one-to-one within the list. The court gave the example of there being no games between the NFL teams, MLB teams, and NBA teams. While there will not be football v baseball games or baseball v basketball games, there will be games between football teams themselves and so on.

The same goes for shipment under the Lacey Act—it does not speak to shipment WITHIN one of the listed jurisdictions but BETWEEN only the listed jurisdictions, such as between Hawaii and the continental US states. If there had been intent for the law to mean interstate, there would have been no need to reference Hawaii separate from the continental US. Not only did the court interpret the plain language, but looked to the history of the Lacey Act overall and found that to also be consistent with the plain language interpretation as well. The Lacey Act originally addressed only foreign species but as the country and travel evolved, limited it by land space further: barring shipments from other countries and between islands to the continental US.

Although this ruling has withheld entry of final judgment while the time lapses for the FWS, HSUS, and/or CBD to file an appeal, the likelihood of one being granted to even hear the case much less win on the merits is quite low. There are some side issues to be clarified still under this preliminary injunction, but bottom line is that this was a major victory for USARK. The Court (consisting of a three-judge panel) ruled unanimously in their favor. The years of hard work, perseverance, and let’s be honest, the funding it takes to fight a case of this magnitude for this long, has been well worth it. We congratulate USARK on a very hard earned and momentous victory!

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Hope for Humans and Dogs with Genetic Disorders

X-linked myotubular myopathy is a particularly nasty genetic disorder. It affects boys who seem healthy at birth, only to have their muscles waste away until they can’t support their bodies anymore — or even breathe — over the course of a few years. Humans are not the only animal with the mutation that causes this disorder. Puppies (also male) suffer and ultimately die from it, as well. But from tragedy, scientists are now bringing us hope: if these affected puppies can teach us how to treat x-linked myotubular myopathy, both species will ultimately benefit:

Gene Therapy Saves Puppies From A Fatal Disease—And Maybe Us Next

The dogs who were given a treatment that repaired their defective myotubularin gene avoided the crippling muscle degeneration that killed the placebo-treated dogs by week 17. And by the ninth month of study, the saved puppies’ muscle and neurological function continued to match readings from healthy dogs, particularly for those that got the highest doses.

The findings, building on an earlier proof-of-concept study of dogs and mice by the researchers, signal that a scaled-up treatment could save the lives of boys with the same sort of genetic flaw.

X-Linked Myotubular Myopathy Affects both young

X-linked myotubular myopathy affects young boys, both human and canine. We would love to see a world where neither have to suffer from it.

Animal science working at the genetic level to improve the welfare and lives of multiple species — this is just some fantastic work!

PS. if you were at our annual conference last November and this sounds familiar, you aren’t imagining it — there was an inspiring (and tear-jerking) presentation about the animal-based research that is bringing us closer to a cure for x-linked myotubular myopathy. This would be a good time to remind you to plan for the 2017 NAIA conference, Oct 2-4 in Washington DC!

 

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A Little More on Service Dogs…

On Friday, we mentioned that Wyoming is considering a bill to make misrepresenting a service animal a misdemeanor, a law that is no doubt simple common sense for many. Then, like clockwork, the story of Patsy Hayes and her latex-detection dog, Andromeda popped up the next day. Patsy Hayes is severely allergic to latex, and Andromeda lets her know latex is nearby, in order to steer clear of it. This story is a timely reminder of the value of service dogs, and of the varied, perhaps unexpected services they can perform.

The word “allergy” conjures up images of swollen eyes, dripping noses, maybe a rash — and in most cases, that is the extent of an allergic reaction. But anaphylaxis, Patsy’s reaction to latex, is far more severe: it can be life-threatening and brought on by extremely low levels of exposure.

Living with severe allergies can be extremely life-limiting, but a detection dog can help to open doors:

Years of training dogs to detect explosives and narcotics for the U.S. military and law enforcement agencies led Gavin to branch out in 2009 and focus on teaching dogs to detect an array of compounds — including nuts, milk, wheat, eggs and soy — that create serious allergic reactions in her clients.

Some of the afflicted, she said, rarely left their homes, didn’t go to school or movies, parks or churches — or even visit friends — out of fear of an allergy attack.

“But after getting a dog,” Gavin said, “they would start going places.”

Not the service dog of yesteryear, but a valuable job indeed!

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Service Dog! Canine Companions for Independence

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Feb 17, 2017 - Animal Law    No Comments

Misrepresenting Pets as Service Animals Could Become Misdemeanor in WY

In Cheyenne, Wyoming, misrepresenting a pet as a service animal may become a misdemeanor carrying a fine of up to $750.

For some, issues like this inevitably evoke sarcastic responses: “Government is focusing on fake service animals now? So this must mean we’ve solved unemployment, industrial pollution, and homelessness, right? Har har har.”

But we are glad to see this issue addressed. Pets posing as service animals de-legitimizes real service animals and their work, and that comes with real consequences. Consequences for the public, for businesses, for tenants and landlords, and most importantly, for these wonderful animals and the people who depend on them their well-being and independence.

 

Good chance this dog is a great pet. Almost zero chance this dog is a service animal.

Good chance this dog is a great pet. Near certain chance this dog is not a service animal.

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Jan 14, 2017 - Veterinary Issues    No Comments

AVMA HOD Passes Resolution That Supports Responsible Breeders!

Great news: the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates (AVMA HOD) has passed a resolution amendment that supports responsible breeders!

Amendment 2:

“To maximize the health and welfare of companion animals, the AVMA supports research in genetic and inherited disorders to better educate the profession and breeders on identifying and minimizing inherited disorders in companion animal breeding programs. To assist with this, the AVMA encourages veterinarians to pursue continuing education in the emerging area of genetic disease in companion animals. The AVMA also encourages veterinarians to educate breeders, companion animal owners, and the public on the responsibilities involved with breeding and selecting companion animals.”

This resolution amendment replaces an earlier breeder proposal that, while no doubt well-intentioned, was problematic due to its imprecise language and potential for unintended consequences.

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Education, cooperation, and trust between animal experts will lead to happier, healthier animals, and this resolution amendment expresses that ideal admirably. We thank the AVMA HOD and all people involved who helped — the AKC and various AKC dog clubs, NAIA supporters and board members (with a big hat tip to Drs. Arnold Goldman and Marty Greer, and to Julian Prager), as well as individual letter writers!

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Dec 20, 2016 - Animal Law    No Comments

Judge Refuses to View Pet Dispute as Child Custody Case

While acknowledging that dogs are treated as members of the family, a Saskatoon (Canada) Judge has emphatically refused to view a divorcing couple’s dispute about pet ownership as a child custody case.

The judge said this sort of case should not be chewing up precious court time “in a justice system that is incredibly busy, where delay has virtually become systemic.”

“To consume scarce judicial resources with this matter is wasteful. In my view such applications should be discouraged,” he added.

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Don’t waste my time.

The judge also wisely got in front of the old “Dogs are property under the law, viewed just like an old table or can opener!” canard by pointing out that we are most certainly not legally entitled to treat them (or other pets) in a cruel or neglectful manner.

Of course we all love our pets and consider them part of the family, but from a legal standpoint, we couldn’t agree more with the judge that claims like this are a waste of time, talent, and resources.

 

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