Pound seizure is the practice of animal shelters selling or giving cats and dogs for experimentation or research. The cats and dogs are obtained from the shelter by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) random-source Class B dealers (animal brokers) or directly by research facilities or educational training institutions (such as medical or veterinary training schools). There are currently 10 random-source Class B dealers in the country, many of whom are under investigation by the USDA.
Pound seizure is a blight on any shelter that allows the practice. It is a betrayal of public trust in the purpose of sheltering homeless, unwanted, abused or neglected animals. Seventeen states plus the District of Columbia have passed laws banning pound seizure. Yet the remaining states allow the practice, and three mandate it (Minnesota, Oklahoma and Utah). Pound seizure is also detrimental to shelters because once citizens find out that a shelter practices pound seizure, they become resistant to donating money to that shelter, and hesitant to surrender stray animals to the shelter or call in complaints of abuse or neglect for fear of what might happen to the animals.
American Humane Association opposes the surrender of animals by animal shelters and animal control agencies to labs, pharmaceutical and educational institutions, or any scientific or research facility. All animals that are in the possession of a shelter or animal control agency should be returned to their rightful owners, placed in suitable homes or humanely euthanized. In a situation in which there is a law mandating the release of animals from shelters for purposes of biomedical research, the local animal care or control agency and the humane community should work to repeal such a law, and American Humane is available to help do so.
In late 2009, the federal Pet Safety and Protection Act was refiled by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (S 1834) and Rep. Mike Doyle (HR 3907) to prohibit any research facility from obtaining random-source animals from USDA Class B dealers. The bills were refiled in the wake of a 2009 congressional study that determined that Class B dealers are no longer required to supply random-source animals to research facilities that still use those animals.