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Friday July 23, 2021

CPSC Bites Dog? There's a Precedent

A rarely discussed 1974 CPSC opinion on salmonella transmission from commercially produced pet turtles is the precedent cited in a dog-related petition before the commission. The panel is slated to vote by July 27 on whether to docket the request from the Humane Society of the United States.


The group want CPSC to consider mandating warnings about Campylobacter transmission from commercially bred dogs. Campylobacteriosis mostly affects the digestive system and is accompanied by fever.


Pointing to CPSC's 1974 writing, the petition ( argues:

"Pet turtles, the opinion noted, fit within the definition of consumer product: 'Such turtles are more frequently raised in ponds on turtle farms rather than caught in the wild or they are imported. Thus, they are customarily produced or distributed for sale, or for personal use or enjoyment.' The same is true for puppies bred in commercial breeding facilities."
"The opinion further noted that Congress did not include pet animals in the list of specific articles that may not be called consumer products, such as tobacco and pesticides. The Commission opinion further concluded that the Commission also has jurisdiction over pet turtles, who can transmit salmonellosis, based on section 2(b) of the Act, which states that 'one of the Act’s purposes is to promote research and investigation into the causes and prevention of product-related illnesses…as well as product-related deaths and injuries.' This rationale applies equally here, given that the Campylobacter-infected pet store puppies are diseased, and Petitioners are asking the agency to issue regulations to combat the spread of this disease from puppies, as the 'product,' to the consumer."

The petition further addressed CPSC's 1990 rejection of such thinking related to wolf-dog hybrids, noting that the latter decision involved a different level of a processing and commercialization. The new petition asserts:

"Commercially bred dogs are indeed processed and manufactured through an essentially factory-like process…and are treated as products in commerce, and thus come within the Commission’s jurisdiction based on the reasoning in this opinion."

Keep in mind that the current question is whether to docket the petition – in other words, simply whether to seek public feedback. There would be many other steps before any warnings become mandatory if ever. The related draft Federal Register notice is at