Montana: Committee to Consider Dog Breeder Bill on 2/21/13

On February 21, 2013, the Montana House Agriculture Committee will consider House Bill 439, which...

On February 21, 2013, the Montana House Agriculture Committee will consider House Bill 439, which would require registration, inspections, and fees for “commercial dog breeding” facilities. 


Under this bill, any person or entity that possesses 11 or more intact female dogs for the purpose of breeding would be defined as a “commercial dog breeder.”  An initial inspection and inspections every two years would be required.  Fees would range from $200 to $650 per year based on the number of intact female dogs maintained.  Voluntary registration of facilities with fewer than 11 intact female dogs would also be available for a fee of $125 per year.


The Department of Livestock would adopt rules governing inspection, recordkeeping, registration, licensing, and standards of care.  Among other requirements, these rules would include standards for animal housing facilities, temperature control, construction materials, drainage, etc., and would establish undefined “standards for the breeding of dogs.”  


The American Kennel Club’s concerns with HB 439 include, but are not limited to:

  • Vague definition of “commercial dog breeder” – HB 439 would define a “commercial dog breeder” as any person or entity who “possesses 11 or more intact female dogs over the age of nine months for the purpose of breeding or dealing in breeding dogs for direct or indirect sale or for exchange in return for consideration.”

    • The bill does not indicate how “for the purpose of breeding” would be determined.

    • Under this vague definition, a person who possesses 11 intact adult female dogs and who sells a single puppy could be subject to the provisions of HB 439. 

    • Because there is no time frame indicated, anyone who has owned or co-owned a total of 11 or more intact females over 9 months of age at any time, even if they are not currently breeding their animals, could be subject to registration.

  • Inspections would be required for all buildings, property, and confinement areas in a single location used to conduct the “commercial dog breeding business.”

    • This could include private residences where dogs are kept.

    • Home-based hobby breeders registered and licensed as a commercial dog breeding business could find themselves out of compliance with local zoning codes.


What You Can Do:

Attend the House Agriculture Committee hearing and express any concerns you have with HB 439:

Date:  Thursday, February 21, 2013
Time:  3:00 p.m.
Location:  Room 472, State Capitol, 1301 East 6th Avenue, Helena, MT 59601


Contact members of the House Agriculture Committee to express your concerns.  To send a message to every member of the House Agriculture Committee via an online messaging form, click here.  Enter your information, select “Committee,” select “House Agriculture” from the “Choose a Committee” drop-down box, enter “HB 439” under “Bill Number,” and indicate your position under “Vote.”  You may also type in a message to the committee members.



Issue Analysis: The Value of Responsible Dog Breeders
Sample Letter to Lawmakers – Breeder Regulations – Word | PDF | Text


For questions or more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at or (919) 816-3720.