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 – House Con Res. 46 and Senate Resolution 144 support the designation of May 1 as National Purebred Dog Day. The resolution, written by the American Kennel Club, recognizes the many ways purebred dogs enhance and enrich our lives, including service, search and rescue, military, livestock guardians, and many other services. AKC hosted a reception for members of Congress and staff at the U.S. Capitol on May 1 to commemorate the day.

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 provide assistance to 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. The House version has been referred to the House Judiciary committee; the Senate version has been referred to the Senate Agriculture committee.

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.

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.   

 USDA/APHIS — In February, the U.S Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which oversees implementation of federal Animal Welfare Act regulations and pet breeder/dealer licensing announced it was removing certain documents, including inspection reports from its online databases for review pending litigation and to ensure full compliance with privacy requirements. Removal of records is temporary, and batches of documents that have been reviewed are being returned to the database weekly. Click here to read further.