Help Stop Use of Pets for Research

dog sold for researchRep. Michael F. Doyle (D-PA) has introduced the Pet Safety and Protection Act, H.R. 2256. The Pet Safety Protection Act would amend the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. §§2137, 2138 and ban the sale of "random source" dogs and cats by Class B dealers to research laboratories.

Class B dealers are basically those who buy, sell and transport animals. Some have been accused of taking pets which are stolen or obtained from "random sources", keeping them in horrific conditions and then selling them for medical research. For example, unscrupulous Class B dealers often answer ads in the newspaper that offer animals "free to a good home".  They will steal pets off the streets. Laboratories will pay $250-$350 per animal.

The only places research facilities would be able to acquire animals would be from Class A dealers (breeders), other licensed research facilities, a person who has bred the animal or owned it for at least a year, or a registered publicly owned and operated shelter that obtained the animal from its legal owner .  

The Act provides for a $1000 fine for each violation in addition to any other applicable penalty.  

Animal Law Coalition opposes the use of any animals for research, and though this Act does not go far enough, it is at least a start to end that practice. Under this bill animal research labs and facilities would be barred from aiding in the widespread theft of pets or animals intended as pets such as those advertised in newspapers. These animals could no longer be used for research.

One of the most notorious Class B dealers was Chester C. "C.C." Baird. Baird was the largest USDA licensed Class "B" animal dealer. He was also the operator of what was the largest known pet theft ring. Baird kept hundreds of animals in deplorable conditions and reportedly sold them for research.

cat held for researchThanks to an undercover investigation by Last Chance for Animals, Baird pleaded guilty to felony charges of conspiracy to launder money in an operation involving the sale of dogs and cats to research laboratories. (For his horrific crimes, though, Baird received only 3 years probation and 6 months home detention. His wife, Patsy, was sentenced to 2 years probation for misprision of felony mail fraud. Their fines together totaled $10,000.)

An HBO documentary which aired in February, 2006, Dealing Dogs, follows the case of Baird, a Church of Christ minister, who allegedly made millions as a licensed Class B dealer selling animals for research.


The House version, H.R. 2256 has dozens of co-sponsors. Find your U.S. representative here by entering your zipcode at the top right and ask him or her to co-sponsor the bill. If your representative is already a co-sponsor, thank him or her and ask your rep to encourage others to sign on!

H.R. 2256 has been assigned to a subcommittee of the House Committee on Agriculture, the Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry. Find committee members (click on their names for contact info) and urge them to support this important bill.


One thought on “Help Stop Use of Pets for Research”

  1. November 12, 2009

    Dear Mr. Harrison,

    Thank you for contacting me about the Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2009, introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka.  The legislation would amend the Animal Welfare Act, making it illegal for research facilities to purchase dogs and cats from dealers who have not personally bread and raised the animals.  I share your view on this issue and look forward to supporting this legislation in the Senate.

    This act is intended to eliminate to practice of "Class B" dealers collecting dogs and cats from non-licensed sources and subsequently selling them to research lab facilities.  The animals sold by Class B dealers come from various sources, including animal shelters and auctions, and some are even taken as strays off of the street. 

    Today, there are only 15 Class B dealers who sell random source dogs and cats in this country.  This legislation would close the loophole that is exploited by these dealers, who are not regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  In 2007, this bill was passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, but because of the differences in the Farm Bill of both houses, the Pet Safety and Protection Act language was removed. 

    The abuse and neglect that these animals endure in overcrowded, unsanitary and dangerous conditions is unacceptable, and I look forward to ending these practices and supporting this legislation in the Senate. 

    Thank you again for writing to express your concerns, and I hope that you keep in touch with my office regarding future legislation and concerns you may have.  For more information on this and other important issues, please visit my website at and sign up for my e-newsletter.

    Sincerely yours,

    Kirsten Gillibrand
    United States Senator

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