The AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2012 Legislative Tracking page and click on "US Fed" on the map to get the latest updates on federal bills currently being monitored by the AKC. Highlights of issues we are currently addressing on the federal level include:
U.S. Congress – H.R. 835 / S. 707 , known as the "Puppy Uniform Protection & Safety Act" (PUPS), would require anyone who owns or co-owns female dogs that produce 50 or more puppies that are sold in a 12-month period to be regulated under USDA dog dealer regulations. Anyone meeting that criteria would be required to obtain an annual USDA license, maintain standards of care designed for commercial breeding facilities, and undergo regular inspections at least biennially. AKC GR has expressed a number of concerns with other provisions in the measure, including the definition of "breeding female" as an intact female of four months or older. The bills have been assigned to their chamber's agriculture committees. Neither bill has been scheduled for a hearing. Informational updates are available online, along with links to AKC's letters to Congress and other information. AKC GR, along with the AKC's federal representatives are monitoring activity relating to this measure and actively pushing back against attempts to move the bill forward as written. Read AKC's latest information update.
2012 Farm Bill – H.R. 6083/S. 3240. The Senate version (S. 3240) of the 2012 Agricultural Authorization bill, also known as the "farm bill,” has passed the Senate. The House version (H.R. 6083) has been assigned to the House Agriculture Committee. Past versions of this quinquennial (every five years), must-pass legislation have included significant changes to portions of the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) pertaining to dog breeder/dealer regulations. AKC GR and AKC's federal advocates are monitoring possible attempts to attach PUPS legislation or similar amendments to the Farm Bill as it moves through Congress.
Proposed Change to Federal Animal Welfare Act Regulations (AWA) – The Animal Care division of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released for public comment proposed revisions to the federal Animal Welfare Act. As currently written, the proposed rule rescinds the exempt "retail pet store" status of anyone selling pets at retail to buyers who do not physically enter the breeder's facilities in order to personally observe the animals available for sale. The proposed change would require everyone who keeps more than four "breeding females" (this term is not defined) and sells one or more puppies sight unseen to obtain a USDA commercial breeder license and be subject to federal regulations and inspections as a USDA commercial breeding kennel.
The AKC has numerous concerns about this overly broad and restrictive proposal, and encourages all concerned dog owners and breeders to join the AKC in expressing their concerns by signing AKC’s petition to protect responsible small breeders and to take action by submitting constructive comments directly to USDA.
In early July, APHIS released a revised fact sheet and extended the deadline for comment to August 15. The new factsheet creates some confusion regarding how “sight unseen” would be interpreted and enforced by APHIS. In instances where the fact sheet and the proposed rule provide conflicting information, it is important to remember that the proposed rule remains the official statement of proposed changes. Nevertheless, comment on all concerns and interpretations will be valuable for APHIS.
The AKC is preparing official comments on the proposed rule and has made available a wide range of alerts, tools, educational materials and resources – including an USDA/APHIS regulations resource page – to encourage dog owners to express their own concerns about the proposed regulations. To date, more than 67,000 people have signed AKC's petition to protect responsible small breeders. Many also submitted their own comments directly to APHIS.