House Committee Narrowly Rejects Breeder Regulations

(KCPW News) The House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted down proposed regulations to stave off puppy mills in Utah this morning. Democratic Representative Jackie Biskupski’s bill would have required breeders selling at least six dogs or cats at a time to obtain a local business license and land use approval. City auditors would also have been required to report information about the breeders to the tax commission and local animal control. Biskupski says commercial breeders are already required to pay sales tax, but there’s no way to ensure those taxes are collected.

“On the east coast, they’re shutting down all the puppy mills,” Biskupski explains. “They’re running a lot of legislation, so states like ours where we don’t have a way to track breeders because they’re not getting licenses and they’re not paying their sales tax, that makes us ripe for the puppy mills to want to come here.”

The bill was rejected on a 5-to-6 vote, but lawmakers who voted “no” didn’t explain why they opposed it.

“So instead of looking at this as a business related bill and trying to make sure that we maintain good business practices around animal breeding in Utah, they just squashed it. I don’t know,” says Biskupski.

None of the legislators who opposed the bill were available for comment after the hearing. Biskupski says she plans to talk to some of them and bring the bill back. Salt Lake County recently passed commercial breeding regulations of its own.