Governor Tom Vilsack Friday vetoed language in a bill that would have allowed dog breeders and pet shops to classify dogs as farm products. The language would give breeders the same tax breaks they already get on food and other products used to raise the animals. Governor Vilsack says the language would have exempted the dog breeders from local zoning laws.
The executive director of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Tom Colvin, says he’s happy because the bill would’ve expanded the dog-breeding industry. He says they’re also concerned that looking at dogs as livestock would not give them the same attention they get now in cruelty cases.
Colvin says the change could’ve led to a big expansion of dog breeding. Colvin says there are already too many unwanted animals in the state and this would only add to the problem. Colvin led a campaign against the bill, and believes it had an impact. He says they had an organized effort to let people know about the ramifications of the issue, and Colvin says that led to a flood of calls to the governor from individuals and organizations.
Colvin says it comes down to one thing. Colvin says, “We don’t want dogs raised as hogs, or thought of as raising dogs as hogs in the State of Iowa.” But Amana dog breeder Joe Gerst says the Governor’s veto may actually lead to more animal cruelty. Gerst says the tax break may’ve enticed unlicensed and unregulated breeders to become licensed to qualify for the tax savings. Gerst says now the bad breeders have no incentive to clean up their act.