News Index > July 2006 News
Dogs Dealt to Science

July 2, 2006
WASHINGTON - He calls it the "blood belt."

Chris DeRose uses that phrase to describe 15 sites, stretching from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania, where dogs and cats gathered from random sources are sold for research. DeRose, president of the nonprofit animal welfare group Last Chance for Animals, says dealers at these sites even steal pets from ordinary homes.

His organization has conducted undercover investigations of USDA-certified Class B animal dealers who are legally permitted to collect animals from flea markets and pounds, among other places, and sell them to research facilities. The LCA and like-minded groups say the animals are mistreated. But their most incendiary charge is that Class B dealers regularly steal pets from homes and sell them to research facilities for hundreds of dollars.

"Anyone whose animal is missing shouldn't have to stay up at night wondering if their animal ended up in a lab," said Cathy Liss, legislative director for the Society for Animal Protective Legislation.

According to those in the research community, the idea that pets are being stolen from backyards is ludicrous and the allegations of animal welfare activists represent another attempt to turn the public against animal research.

But activists have been heard on Capitol Hill, where the Pet Safety and Protection Act is again pending in both houses of Congress. The act would prohibit Class B dealers from selling random-source dogs and cats to laboratories.

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