Animal Supply Dwindling for Class B Dealers in Michigan

Gratiot County currently allows shelter animals to be sold to research through random source Class B animal dealers. However, changes to its relationship with one such dealer, R&R Research, indicate that it may be getting out of the business soon. Reports suggest that the current contract with R&R Research will not be renewed. Meanwhile, nearby Mecosta County has already decided to end this practice, effective June 30th.

Class B dealers obtain cats, dogs, and other animals from pounds and shelters through a process called pound seizure, and then sell them to research facilities at an enormous profit. It’s a dirty business, essentially sentencing former pets to a life of confinement and use in experiments. In addition, the majority of random source Class B dealers have been cited for Animal Welfare Act violations.

In a move that pleased local animal advocates, Gratiot’s Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to changes at the county Animal Control office, which is still practicing pound seizure. The changes will greatly reduce and hopefully, in time, end the supply of shelter animals to Class B dealers. Unfortunately, Gratiot County has a contract with R&R Research that does not expire until 2014. In order to fulfill the contract, Animal Control will provide one animal per year to R&R Research, but, says County Administrator Nicole Frost, “[R&R] knows he won’t see another contract.”

As reported in The Morning Sun, the decision to amend the transactions with R&R Research also included a vote to end the use of gas chambers at the Animal Control shelter, which passed with broad support.

This victory is due in large part to work from grassroots groups. Pound seizure is a hot issue in Michigan and advocates across the state are extremely dedicated to ending it. In addition to lobbying for state legislation and local county ordinances, many advocates volunteer at shelters, caring for the animals who are most at risk of becoming victims of pound seizure. The grassroots groups have an extensive network that is diligent in promoting the adoption of these animals before they are relinquished to random source Class B dealers or euthanized.

Michigan advocates have done so much work to protect dogs and cats in their state. But we can all help in a national effort, as well. Read more about random source Class B dealers and take action on a bill that would prohibit them from selling animals to research.
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