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Class B Dog and Cat Dealers Are No Friends to the Animals

February 16th, 2006, 09:16 AM
From the Humane Society of the U.S.

By Stephanie Edwards

In the shadowy world of Class B dog and cat dealers, an animal’s life can be harsh and unrelenting. Animals may suffer from crowded and unsanitary conditions, poor food, and insufficient water. Veterinary care may be*nonexistent. They may not*even survive their time in a Class B dealer’s hands.

So who are Class B dog and cat dealers? They're brokers who acquire animals from*a variety of*sources—including "pounds," flea markets, and newspaper ads—and then sell them*to research institutions or veterinary schools.*Class B*dealers are*regulated*under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), which mandates minimum care and handling standards for animals in a variety of environments.*But these dealers, putting profits before pooches, are regularly cited for violating the*AWA and have long been a cause*for concern for many.

Now, Dealing Dogs, a shocking HBO documentary that premieres February 21,exposes the inhumanity that can take place on Class B dealer properties. The documentary*looks*at*Martin Creek Kennels—an Arkansas operation owned by former Class B dealer C.C. Baird—through the eyes of*an undercover investigator who was employed as a kennel worker. The “kennel worker” was actually a member of the animal protection group, Last Chance for Animals (LCA), and in his investigation of Martin Creek, he*videotaped a number of atrocities including the beating, shooting, and malnourishment of dogs.*

The Martin Creek Kennels case proves to be the rule, rather than the exception, for Class B dealers.*The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),*the agency that licenses and regulates Class B dealers, as well as animal protection organizations like LCA, Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), and The HSUS, have documented and investigated similar conditions at Class B facilities for many years. Collectively, the weight of these investigations have left many wondering why this class of dealer still exists.

“Time and again, we hear about inhumane treatment of animals at Class B dealer facilities,"*said Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for Companion Animals at The HSUS.*"While Dealing Dogs focuses on C.C. Baird, admittedly the most notorious of the Class B dealers, we shouldn’t assume that his operation is an isolated case. Class B dealers continue to be a cause for great concern among animal welfare organizations.”*

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