Texas Informational Update: Texas Breeder Regulations Finalized

Texas Informational Update: Texas Breeder Regulations Finalized


The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) has released the finalized regulations for licensed breeders in a new, easier to read format. They can be found on their website here along with the Department’s response to some of the specific comments provided during the public comment period.

The regulations themselves begin about halfway down the page. There are no substantive changes to the regulations from the document provided on March 30th although some sections have been re-worded or re-numbered.

In response to numerous comments regarding exemptions for individuals dogs that are bred for a special purpose such as competitive events, the Commission has clarified that the exemption for such dogs will be self-executing, meaning that a breeder does not need to make a formal application to invoke the exemptions for those particular animals. However, the burden of proof resides with the owner of the dog and that “persons may provide whatever proof is available to them based on the unique circumstances under which they may find themselves”.  For this reason, specific limited examples of some exemptions have been deleted from the finalized regulations to avoid confusion.   The committee reserves the right to make determinations on a case-by-case basis.  For more details see the General  Public Comments preceding the finalized regulations.

Breeders with specific questions about how these regulations may impact them are encouraged to contact TDLR directly as the AKC is prohibited from providing legal advice regarding these issues. AKC GR staff is pleased to provide general guidance about this legislation and will continue to update responsible dog owners and breeders as these issues develop.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has released a chart comparing the Licensed Breeder's Advisory Committee's recommendations with the final regulations as adopted by the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation. A copy of this document is available here. The final regulations are in the column entitled "Proposed Action."

Additionally, small breeders should note that these regulations clarify that a person may not represent themselves as a licensed breeder under this section if they are not required to obtain a breeder's license under this section. Some small breeders who do not meet the thresholds in the law were concerned that they would be prohibited from calling themselves a breeder. This clarifies that the prohibition applies only to those who meet the threshold of a licensed breeder.

[Thursday, March 29, 2012]

On Tuesday, March 27, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation capped a three-month long effort by adopting rules for dog and cat breeders required to be licensed by HB 1451, which was enacted by the Texas legislature in 2011.

Major developments include:

  • Amending the definition of “wire or wire mesh” to clarify that only wire mesh floors (not walls or ceilings) are required to feature an appropriate protective coating.

  • Clarifying that the dog exemptions provided in Section 91.30 are automatic.

  • Affirming the removal of third-party inspectors.

  • Separating out-of-cycle inspections to two tiers. Tier 1 will apply to serious or repeated violations relating to sanitation or failing to timely remedy violations documented during periodic inspections, investigations, or commission orders; and will require two inspections per year. Tier 2 will apply to repeated or serious violations related to shelter, food, water, and medical treatment or examinations; and will require four inspections per year. Out-of-cycle inspection fees have been set at $150.

  • Changing the record retention requirement from five to two years.

  • Reducing original and renewal license fees – For licensees with 11-25 intact females, $300; for licensees with 26 or more intact females, $500. These fees include pre-license and regular inspections.

  • With the exception of certain additional standards required by HB 1451, setting operational standards to correlate with federal standards.

  • Clarifying that annual veterinary examinations of breeding dogs must be conducted in accordance with practices established under the Veterinarian Practices Act.

  • Reaffirming that surgical births and adult dog euthanizations must be performed by a veterinarian.

The Commission also discussed several items that should be further discussed by its Licensed Breeders Advisory Committee in the future. They include enclosure flooring, stacking of enclosures, enclosure sizes, and husbandry procedures that may or may not have to be performed by a veterinarian. No timeframe was established for those discussions.

The American Kennel Club appreciates the time and consideration spent by the Commission and the Licensed Breeders Advisory Committee in developing the regulations. AKC also strongly commends the many concerned responsible dog owners and breeders who participated in the rulemaking process and helped ensure that the initial rules did not become unnecessarily onerous.

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or email doglaw@akc.org.