General Care Standards Workshop Agenda
February 16, 2012, 3:30 – 5 PM
Scope of Workshop:
The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the general animal care standards for all animals and to address any domestic pets other than dogs or birds. These would include animals such as rabbits, ferrets, pockets pets (gerbils, mice, albino rats, etc.), amphibians or reptiles. The first draft of the standards does not contain specific rules about other pet species. The goal of this meeting is to answer questions and hear public comments on the general care standards and in particular how they might apply to pets other than dogs and birds. A draft of the general care section is at the end of this agenda. Red font indicates explanatory comments the DEC has for participants.
Agenda (allotted times are approximate):
1. Introductions, ground rules, and scope of workshop. 5 min
2. We will go through each section of the general care standards and answer questions or take comments on their application to pets. 45 min
3. Open forum: Comments on all species of pets (other than dogs and birds) 30 min.
4. Closing questions and remarks by DEC. 10 min
- Stay on topic.
- The moderator will select participants to have the floor to speak. Please do not interrupt a person speaking.
- State your comments as concisely as possible. There is a time limit of 3 minutes per speaker, although the moderator may allow longer comments when deemed necessary. After you have spoken, DEC representatives may ask questions that can be answered immediately or may request further information be sent to them later.
- Be respectful of other participants’ opinions. It is permissible to voice support for something that another speaker has said; however, in general, the moderator will ask that people giving public comment try not to repeat what may have already been stated by other participants, particularly when stating reasoning behind a position on an issue.
- Silence cell phones. Take all phone conversations outside.
Excerpts from current draft of general standards (applies to all animals):
18 AAC 36.560. General care standards.
(a) All animals must have daily access to water in sufficient quantity and quality to satisfy the animal’s physiologic needs as evidenced by the animal’s hydration status.
(b) Animals with body conditions lower than accepted standards for the species may be permitted for a reasonable period of time if stage or level of production, physiologic conditions, or other factors result in such an appearance, during which time the animal’s management is being altered to improve the condition. For purposes of assessing body condition, “a reasonable period of time” means the amount of time it would be expected to take to restore an animal to an acceptable condition, using diligent efforts to do so.
(c) All animals must have adequate feed to maintain a healthy body condition as determined by a veterinarian licensed under AS 08.98 or peace officer in consultation with such a veterinarian. No animals should be deprived of feed or water for over 24 consecutive hours, except:
(1) Animals being transported may not be deprived of feed/water for over 28 consecutive hours.
(2) Animals on a restrictive diet while under a veterinarian’s care.
(d) Sick or injured animals shall be promptly treated utilizing available medical care or humanely euthanized.
(e) When necessary, euthanasia must be administered in a humane manner that conforms to the American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines. A copy of these guidelines may be obtained from the OSV or online.
In cases where gunshot is the only practical euthanasia method to prevent possible human exposure to rabies, and it is necessary to preserve the brain for laboratory testing, the gunshot may be to the heart area rather than the head.
DEC Note: To allow for full exploration of this topic, we plan to address humane euthanasia as a separate agenda item at a future meeting. During this meeting we can allot 10 minutes maximum, unless there is time at the end of the meeting for more comments or questions.
(f) Animals must be transported or housed in an area with adequate drainage and sanitation to prevent excessive build up of feces, urine, or water. “Excessive” is defined as adequate to cause visible skin or hoof disease.
DEC Note: This clause has been discussed at both previous dog meetings. There are several possible approaches to sanitation, with the endpoint of skin disease being one possibility. Such endpoint measured limits may not act as a preventive and, of course, require that the animal be adversely affected before anything can be done to improve its health and safety. Identification of skin disease can be difficult for the layperson or anybody from a distance due to hair coats. Other possible approaches to sanitation include statements about the percentage of useable clean space that the animal has or simply requiring that it be able to escape its own excrement within its living space. Living space minimums have also been discussed and they are necessarily linked to sanitation. Other states approach this problem in many ways, with living space minimums, daily cleaning requirements for caged dogs, or general statements. Without any further definition by these standards, Alaska Law leaves the determination of healthy environment completely up to the veterinarian who is consulted. This would normally be the animal control veterinarian or the Office of the State Veterinarian.
(g) Nothing in these rules shall prohibit owners from providing medical care and treatment to their own animals provided it is performed in a sanitary manner, in such a way as to minimize pain, and in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws.
A formal public comment period will be held for the entire regulation package later in 2012. If you have questions regarding these workshops, please contact:
Jay Fuller, DVM
Assistant State Veterinarian
Robert Gerlach, VMD