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Federal Informational Update: USDA/APHIS Rule Impacting Small/Hobby Breeders Advances For Executive Review

(Friday, May 03, 2013)

The AKC has learned that United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has completed a full review of all public comments on proposed changes to federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations affecting “Retail Pet Stores and Licensing Exemptions”. A final version of the rule has now advanced to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for further review and possible changes ahead of publication as a final rule by USDA. Typically, it takes 30-90 days for the OMB to review a final rule before it is returned to the USDA. Once a rule is published, there is generally a period of months before any changes to existing law are implemented.

No information about the contents of the final rule is available at this time. The AKC continues to express strong concerns to members of Congress and the USDA about the May 2012 proposed rule change. AKC will continue to provide updated information on the status of this rule and possible action to be taken as additional information becomes available.

Background

The AKC remains extremely concerned about the May 2012 proposed change to AWA regulations that would require all who own more than four “breeding females” and sell even one animal “sight unseen” to be regulated as a commercial breeder and subject to federal commercial breeder licensing, regulation and inspections requirements. The term “breeding female” is not defined in this rule, so it is unclear how USDA or even breeders themselves would determine who falls under these regulations. The term also includes multiple species (including cats, dogs, and other small mammals).

The AKC believes that the USDA’s “one size fits all” regulations are not in the best interest of all dogs, responsible breeders, or puppy buyers. It is unreasonable and virtually impossible for many small hobby breeders to comply with the strict kennel engineering standards that were designed for large commercial operations.

For more information on this proposal, including AKC’s formal comments on the proposed rule, links to the AKC petition in opposition to the rule, fact sheets and frequently asked questions, visit AKC’s USDA/APHIS Regulations Resource Page.

Next Steps

The public comment period regarding the proposed rule closed in August 2012. Once again, AKC thanks the over 70,000 individuals who signed AKC’s petition in support of small hobby breeders, and the many individuals, clubs and organizations who also commented on the many problems with the proposed rule. No information about the contents of the final rule is available at this time. However, AKC will continue to provide updated information and possible action to be taken when additional information on the contents of the final rule become available.