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Federal PUPS Legislation Information Update

(Thursday, April 14, 2011)

The American Kennel Club and our Washington, D.C.-based advocacy team continue to closely monitor the federal Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) legislation.

Recently, Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois introduced a Senate version of this measure, S.707, which contains the same language as the 2010 version of the bill and current House legislation (H.R. 835). Each of the bills has been assigned to the Agriculture committees of their respective chambers. To date, no hearings have been scheduled.

The measure would require anyone who owns or co-owns dogs that produce 50 or more puppies sold in a 12-month period to be regulated under existing USDA dog “dealer” regulations. These regulations are designed for high-volume commercial kennels that produce puppies for wholesale, and require a USDA commercial license, maintenance of specified standards and regular inspections.

The AKC does not oppose the concept of reasonable regulations for high volume breeder/retailers. We also believe that the 2010/2011 version of this legislation is a significant improvement over previous versions in that it moves away from defining a commercial breeder based on the number of dogs a person owns, and instead establishes a threshold for regulation based on the number of puppies bred and sold by a breeder.

However, the AKC also has a number of serious concerns with the bill as introduced and does not support this measure. Some of these concerns include:

  • Definition of “breeding female” as an intact female dog aged 4 months or older. This definition is misleading because female dogs are not sufficiently mature at 4 months of age to be bred. Additionally, such a definition should not be necessary if a “high volume retail breeder” designation is to be based on puppy sales, rather than the number of dogs owned.
  • Definition of “high volume retail breeder” as someone with “an ownership interest in or custody of one or more breeding female dogs.” This definition is overly broad and does not take into account the tradition of co- and joint ownerships common among dog show participants, sporting dog trainers, hunting club members, and other hobbyists. Additionally, a reference to the number of dogs owned by a breeder is unnecessary and potentially misleading.
  • Current exercise language that is overly vague and should be clarified to ensure that the daily exercise requirements do not preclude training or other types of physical activity.
  • An exponential expansion of the number of breeders regulated and inspected by the Animal Care division of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS). However, a May 2010 audit of this program found that the existing inspections program is already insufficient to carry out current responsibilities. The AKC believes these issues and full funding for the current program should be addressed before attempting to dramatically expand the program’s responsibilities and workload.

The AKC does not expect a hearing to be scheduled in the near future. However, we encourage all responsible dog breeders and owners to stay active in your community as a role model for responsible dog ownership and breeding and to share concerns with your federal legislators.

We will continue to monitor this legislation vigilantly, to outline our concerns regarding PUPS legislation in our communications and meetings with members of Congress and their staff, and to keep you up to date on any changes in the status of this legislation. 

How to Contact Your Representative and Senator:

Click here for information on contacting your Member of Congress

Click here for information on contacting your U.S. Senator

View AKC’s handout “Make Your Contact Count”

Talking Points:

View AKC letter to members of Congress

View AKC Policy on Responsible Breeding Practices

View AKC issue brief on responsible breeding practices

View AKC issue analysis: The Value of Responsible Dog Breeders

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