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What are Class B Dealers?

b dealers 001 2Class B dealers can be licensed by the USDA to purchase and sell "random-source" dogs and cats to research laboratories for scientific research. The random sources that Class B dealers obtain dogs and cats from include other Class B dealers, animal shelters, breeders, flea markets and dog auctions, infamous "bunchers", free to good home ads, and pet theft. 

Investigations by LCA have uncovered Class B dealers routinely violating the law by acquiring random-source animals from fraudulent sources, as well as by abusing and neglecting animals once they are in their care. Animals obtained by Class B dealers are often stolen pets, strays, or animals obtained under false pretenses through "free to good home" ads. Because of this, it is virtually impossible to know the true history of an animal acquired by a Class B dealer. Each time a Class B dealer sells an animal to a research laboratory, a strong possibility exists that he or she is a lost or stolen family pet.

Class B dealers have been shown to regularly and willingly do everything in their power to ensure family pets are sold to be tortured in research laboratories. The monetary incentives associated with selling lost and stolen family pets motivate Class B dealers to violate countless laws. Records are often falsified, such as evidence of ownership, and dog tags are purposefully destroyed; no attempt is made to reunite animals with microchips to their families. Instead, these companion animals are kept in squalid conditions on the Class B dealers' property before being sold to laboratories for scientific research.

What are Bunchers?

"Bunchers" are people who obtain and sell random-sourced cats and dogs to Class B dealers. The Class B dealer will then resell the cats and dogs they buy from Bunchers to laboratories for scientific research. Bunchers are not regulated by the USDA. Numerous investigations by LCA have exposed Bunchers obtaining animals through unscrupulous and dishonest methods, including:

Free to Good Home Ads - Bunchers will often answer "Free to Good Home" ads, posing as a caring home but will turn and resell the animal to a Class B dealer, who in turn resells the animal to a laboratory for scientific research. This elaborate system was documented by LCA in the investigation of Class B dealer Barbara Ruggiero, who worked extensively with a network of Bunchers.

Pet Theft - Bunchers are also known to steal family pets and resell them to Class B dealers, who in turn resell the animals to laboratories for scientific research. LCA documented this extensively in the investigation of Class B dealer C.C. Baird.

A Troubling History: Class B Dealers Selling Stolen Pets to Research Facilities Dates Back at Least 50 Years

The troubling history of Class B dealers selling stolen dogs and cats to laboratories for scientific research was documented in 1966, when Life magazine ran an article entitled, "Concentration Camps for Lost and Stolen Pets: Your Dog Is In Cruel Danger." The article profiled Class B dealers who sold lost and stolen, random-sourced animals to laboratories for scientific research. The animals were housed in filthy, squalid conditions where they sometimes succumbed to neglect or weather extremes. The animals who survived this horror were sold to laboratories to be experimented on. Unfortunately, when LCA started investigating Class B dealers over 20 years later in 1988, almost the same conditions were exposed.

Click here to read the 1966 article in LIFE Magazine about Class B Dealers

LCA Investigations into Class B Dealers

HBO posterLCA has been investigating Class B dealers since 1988. Investigations have uncovered Class B dealers and Bunchers obtaining animals through pet theft and free to good home ads, and rampant cruelty and neglect at Class B dealers' facilities. Investigators have risked their lives to document the abuse animals endure at the hands of Class B dealers, which includes starvation, beatings, lack of shelter, and even the slaughter of dogs to be sold as meat.

LCA's work has helped expose and shut down numerous dog dealers, including Barbara Ruggiero, Frederick Spero, and Ralph Jacobsen, leading LCA to become the first animal rights group to procure state and federal prison sentences for Class B dealers in 1991. LCA's groundbreaking investigation into notorious B dealer C.C. Baird was the subject of HBO's Genesis award-winning documentary Dealing Dogs. This documentary brought the truth about B dealers' abhorrent cruelty to prime time and spurred a national movement against the B dealer industry.

Click here to learn more about LCA's investigation into Class B dealers.

The Current Status of Class B dealers

lucky 11 omega 2In 2009, a research paper by the National Institute of Health (NIH) concluded that random-sourced dogs and cats supplied by Class B dealers were not necessary for scientific research. In 2012, the NIH defunded research on cats obtained from Class B dealers, and in 2014, the NIH adopted a similar ban on dogs. However, this does not stop Class B dealers from selling random-sourced cats and dogs to laboratories that are not NIH funded.

For the past 10 years, langugage has been included annually in the Agriculture Appropriations bill defunding the renewal of Class B dealers who sell random-sourced animals for scientific research, thus halting their operations, with no opposition. The language in the yearly Appropriations bill states that any Class B dealers who supply random-sourced animals to research facilities cannot renew their Class B license after expiry.

Although both of these dealt a major blow to Class B dealer operations, the problem of Class B dealers selling random-sourced cats and dogs to other research facilities that are not NIH-funded could still be a problem.

Do Your Part to End this Horror: Support the Pet Safety and Protection Act

 Fortunately, there is a permanent solution to ending this horror: passing the Pet Safety and Protection Act (PSPA) will permanently defund Class B dealers from selling random-sourced cats and dogs to laboratories for scientific research. While Class B dealers would still be able to "donate" random-sourced animals, removing the financial incentive will address the problem of Class B dealers obtaining animals from unscrupulous sources, such as buying animals from bunchers, stealing animals, and obtaining animals under false pretenses from unsuspecting pet owners. Learn more about the Pet Safety and Protection Act here.


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