Wednesday, June 17, 2009

California officials harassing dog fanciers through AKC website

The California State Board of Equalization has been visiting the AKC website and searching out breed clubs. Any person who has his or her name and address listed there or at the breed club's website is subject to harassment by the California State Board of Equalization. The Board uses this information to send out letters advising people they need a seller's permit to sell dogs or puppies and demanding they respond within 30 days. A copy of one of these letters is depicted at the end of this blog entry.

CHAKO called Jenny Chau with the Board and asked her about these letters. She confirmed these letters have gone out, and her supervisor (Bermudez) instructed her to send them. We asked Ms. Chau, since the government has the burden of proof and citizens have a constitutional right not to incriminate themselves, what would happen if someone did not respond to the letter.

Ms. Chau confirmed there is no penalty for not responding to the letter, but people who fail to respond would get a second notice and the matter might be referred to the Board's district office for further review and possible investigation. She stated several times the letters were sent out as part of an "outreach" program. (Yeah, a Big Brother outreach!) If you are required to hold a seller's permit because you meet the criteria, but you do not have a permit, then CHAKO recommends that you seek an attorney to assist you with the board. If you sell no more than two pets or other non-food animals during a twelve month period, you are not required to hold such a seller's permit. You do not have to prove YOUR innocence. The government has to prove its case. Therefore, you are not obligated to respond to the letter.

CHAKO has contacted various media organizations and legislators with this information and recommends that anyone who has received such a letter do so as well. You can find your legislator by visiting the following link

Author D. Capp holds an M.S. in medical science (biochemistry and genetics), a bachelor's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, and a law degree.