Federal Issues: From Our Nation's Capitol

The AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2017 Legislation 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 – The Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS - H.R. 909/S. 322)  would add federal protections for the pets of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. It would include pets in protection orders for human victims and would provide that a person who commits an interstate violation of a protection order would be subject to fines and/or imprisonment and could be required to pay restitution for veterinary care of a victim’s pet that was harmed as the result of an offense. It creates an Emergency and Transitional Pet Shelter and Housing Assistance Grant Program to award grants to eligible entities to carry out programs to aid victims of crimes related to stalking and domestic violence. The AKC supports this measure and has been working with members of Congress to advance it.

U.S Congress –The Help Extract Animals from Red Tape Act (H.R. 398) was first introduced in the 2016. The measure would have allowed the federal government to charge individuals whose animals were seized under alleged violations of federal law for the cost of boarding and care of their animals pending adjudication of the case.  Owners would have been liable for costs and forfeiture of their animals, even if they were ultimately found not guilty of those violations.  AKC worked with the primary sponsor to change the measure into a reasonable measure to provide that only those ultimately found guilty of violations would be subject to forfeiture and reimbursing the costs of care for the animals. The measure has been referred to House Judiciary Committee.

U.S Congress – The Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members (PAWS) Act of 2017 establishes a pilot program to provide grants to eligible organizations to provide specially-trained service dogs for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).  Companion bills H.R. 2327 and S. 1014 have been assigned to their respective Veteran’s Affairs Committees. AKC supports this measure, which also recognizes the value of AKC CGC programs in preliminary training for service dogs.

U.S Congress – AKC GR is working with members of Congress to secure more information about the cause and possible solutions for the shortage of domestically-bred explosives detection and other working dogs for national security purposes. In conjunction with Congress, AKC has provided recommendations and language in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810) to support using and developing sources for appropriate domestically-bred working dogs. It also requires the Department of Defense to provide reports on specific aspects of current military working dog procurement and breeding programs including comparative costs of foreign versus domestically-bred dogs, availability of domestically-bred dogs, and non-classified requirements for green dogs. HR 2810 has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate.

USDA/APHIS The United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) released an updated version of its Animal Welfare Act and Animal Welfare Act Regulations booklet. The new version contains regulatory changes implemented since November 2013, including the “Retail Pet Store Rule” and “Importation of Live Dogs Rule.” Click here to read further.