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 2018 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 – H.R. 4577 establishes a working group to develop a domestic canine breeding network to produce high quality explosives detection canines. AKC provided language and assistance with drafting this measure and is working with members of Congress to advance it. The measure has passed the House, and has been assigned to the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

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 require that a person who commits an interstate violation of a protection order would be subject to fines and/or imprisonment and be required to pay restitution for veterinary care of a victim’s pet that was harmed as the result of an offense. It would also create a program to award grants to eligible entities to aid victims of crimes related to stalking and domestic violence. The AKC supports this measure and is 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 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 proposal into a reasonable measure that provides 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 – HR 2327, 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).  AKC supports these measures, which also recognize the value of AKC CGC programs in preliminary training for service dogs.

U.S. Congress  HR 4693 – The Puppy Protection Act of 2017 would expand a variety of specific requirements, including new kennel engineering standards, for the housing and maintenance of animals by pet breeders subject to USDA licensing. New requirements include: new flooring standards, enclosure sizes, constant access to water and exercise yards and a variety of other requirements. While some proposed changes reflect good animal husbandry practices, others are arbitrary, unnecessary or potentially harmful to some animals. The bill has been assigned to the Agriculture committee.