PRATT, Kan. (KSNW) – If you ask anyone who takes care of animals, they’ll probably tell you that the animal’s well-being should be top priority. Lawmakers are now faced with the question of just how to do that.
“They can be compliant, take care of their animals,” said Justin Brokar, from the Pet Animal Coalition of Kansas. “We know that their animals are going to be in healthy conditions and comfortable conditions.”
The bill being debated in Topeka is meant to make sure animal facilities are being held to similar standards.
Currently, animal shelter inspections can happen at any time — unannounced. However, inspectors can choose to notify a breeder before an inspection.
Shelters believe the bill would even out the playing field, making all inspections unannounced.
“If you know the inspector is coming, you can make your place look spick and span, and everything’s perfect and make sure you have everything down,” said April Hemphill, manager at the Pratt Area Humane Society.
Not everyone agrees with this regulation, especially breeders with other jobs.
“I just can’t leave my job on the spur of the moment like this,” said Sandy Sandy, a dog breeder in Great Bend. “And come home and let you inspect my kennels.”
The bill also establishes fees for facility inspections. Right now, Kansas animal rescues and dog breeders are not required to pay a fine for failing an inspection or not showing up at an inspection.
If the bill passes and a facility fails an inspection, there’s a $100 fee for re-inspection and a $150 fee for a second re-inspection. If the facility fails three times, it loses its license.
Sandy said the fees could hit small-time breeders hard.
“I won’t be able to afford to do it,” she said.
Some who run shelters believe this could keep facilities on their toes, so they don’t have to pay those fees.
If the bill passes, those inspection fees will go back to the Department of Agriculture. Officials at the agency said it spent almost $16,000 dollars last year, just for no-contact inspections.