Wichita, Kan -- It's been 25 years since the state legislature passed the Kansas Pet Animal Act. Back in 1988 the act was in response to filthy conditions found at many Kansas breeder operations.
Now the U.S. Humane Society is asking the interim Ag-committee in Topeka to consider updating regulations.
State Director of the U.S. Humane Society, Midge Grinstead says, "We're asking for changes in enforcement, not only in the way the Department of Ag. enforces the Kansas Pet Animal Act, but also for animal welfare standards. When you look at the American Veterinary Medical Association, they make standards for sheltering. So all shelters try to go by those standards. And it makes sense that if veterinarians say this is the way that animals that are group should be housed that we follow those welfare guidelines."
Among other things Grinstead wants breeders to be regularly inspected not just when complaints arise. She says before the Kansas Animal Health Department was rolled into the Department of Agriculture about 1,000 animals were rescued annually in Kansas. But since that merger Grinstead says only about 100 animals a year are rescued.
Grinstead says, "So clearly enforcement is not a high priority for this department."
She'd also like to require animals have water always available and not just on 4 hour or 12 hour breeder inspections of their operations.
The Kansas Federation of Animal Owners is an organization of pet breeders and kennel operations. Steve Hitchcock with the federation says it's the unlicensed breeders that are breaking the law and giving a bad reputation to those trying to abide by the law.
The interim agriculture committee will hear more testimony next month in Topeka.