Federal Issue Brief

 H.R. 2256, Pet Safety and Protection Act of 2011

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AVMA Position:



Introduced by Congressman Mike Doyle (PA-14th), H.R. 2256 would amend the Animal Welfare Act to: 
  • List permissible sources of dogs and cats used by research facilities to include dogs and cats obtained: (1) from a licensed dealer, (2) from a publicly owned and operated pound or shelter that meets specific requirements, (3) by donation from a person who bred and raised the dog or cat and owned it for not less than one year, or (4) from a research facility licensed by the Secretary of Agriculture.
  • Prohibit dealers from selling or otherwise providing any research facility with random source dogs or cats unless specified requirements are met.


  • This bill's goal is to end the availability of Class B, or random-source, dealers as a source of dogs and cats for research facilities.
  • Class B dealers obtain multiple types of random-source animals (dogs, cats, birds, also other species, both alive and dead) from multiple places.
  • Of the approximately 1000 Class B licensees, fewer than a dozen sell dogs and cats for research. The rest deal primarily with the pet trade.


  • H.R. 2256 is not consistent with AVMA policy on Use of Random Source Dogs and Cats for Research, Testing, and Education 
  • USDA-APHIS/Animal Care has worked hard and successfully during the past 10 to 15 years to increase compliance by Class B dealers. The current situation is substantively different from what it was in the mid-1990s when initial versions of similar bills were first proposed.
  • The NAS study, which proponents are using as a basis for their recommendations, only specifically addressed Class B dealers supplying live dogs and cats for NIH-funded research. This is a narrower focus than the existing AVMA policy on random-source animals.
  • Access to sufficient numbers of cadavers for veterinary anatomy courses is currently a concern at some (not all) institutions.
  • The proposal will increase reliance on securing random-source animals directly from shelters, non-licensed breeders, Class A dealers, and private owners. Increased use of these sources could present unintended consequences, including loss of regulatory oversight, less genetically diversity in available animals, etc.

Current Status:

  • House Committee on the Agriculture, Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry.

AVMA Contact:

Dr. Whitney L. Miller, Assistant Director, AVMA Governmental Relations Division, 202-289-3211.