SCKBA meets with County D-5 Field Director - December 4, 2009
On Friday, December 4, 2009, members of the Southern California Kennel and Breeders Association (SCKBA) met with Mr. Norm Hickling, District 5 Regional Director for Supervisor Mike Antonovich. Mr. Hickling presented some of the history that led to the poorly conceived Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning (DRP) proposed zoning amendments that would have banned kennels and catteries from breeding dogs and/or cats. The L.A. Planning Commission on October 28, 09 soundly rejected that proposal, with one Commissioner criticising that the whole issue did not fall within the purview of DRP. Mr. Hickling was adamant that the banning of breeding at kennels was not the intention of L.A.County Supervisor Antonovich’ motion, rather that the Supervisor’s objective was to close gaps and inconsistencies in language between Zoning, Public Safety and L.A. County Department of Animal Control (DACC). Clearly contradicting that hypothesis was the name of the motion, which was the "Puppy Mill” motion, and which proposed reviewing all “licensed” kennels. There was instant rejection by SCKBA of the term “puppy mill,” and Mr. Hickling was asked to come back with a definition of what was meant by that phrase. The most passionate discussion arose over the L.A. County’s Board of Supervisors’ passage of the DACC’s recently proposed amendments, which replaced the word “kennel” with the vague term “facility.” SCKBA members have proudly used the word “kennel” in their advertising and on their websites for years. Those in attendance unanimously agreed that using the word “facilities” to define “kennels” was incorrect and should be repealed. Discussion ranged from the SCKBA members’ disagreement regarding the supposed existence of numerous large, substandard dog kennels in LA County, to subsequent comments that DACC appeared to be targeting the licensed kennels without a genuine need for more laws. Mr. Hickling commented that there were often discrepancies between what one inspector considered acceptable versus the opinion of the next inspector who might not. Members pointed out that those were internal DACC or DRP problems, and not a kennel owner’s. Mr. Hickling suggested that SCKBA members enter into dialogues with those who are perceived as being “on the other side.” SCKBA members retorted that those most affected by proposed ordinances and laws are often not invited to be part of preliminary decisions or discussions, while groups not affected are solicited to be part of the drafting process. In reality, often those most affected learn about ordinances or amendments after the fact. Subsequent meetings are planned with various L.A. County Departments; the first is with DACC as soon as possible, probably in early 2010, before they submit their next proposal to the BOS.