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Federal Issues April 2019

Federal Issues April 2019

News from our Nation’s Capitol

The AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2019 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Congress – The WOOF Act, H.R. 1002, seeks to prohibit a relative of a dealer, exhibitor, or licensee whose license has been revoked by the USDA from obtaining a license for the same facility and assuming operation of that enterprise. It also requires that licensees demonstrate compliance with the AWA through inspections before licenses are renewed. The AKC supports these concepts and has recommended an amendment to address several technical aspects of the measure that protect responsible breeders who are compliant with USDA requirements.

USDA APHIS – On March 21, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published a request for public comments on proposed updated to the federal Animal Welfare Act dog breeder/dealer licensing requirements, including eliminating automatic license renewals, streamlining the licensing process, reducing licensing fees, and requiring licensees to maintain a written veterinary care program.  AKC GR has completed a preliminary analysis of the proposal and believes the proposed changes are acceptable.  AKC GR will provide full analysis and comment upon completion of an in-depth analysis. 

CDC Dog Import Regulations – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention has revised the interpretation of “rabies free” that it uses when determining whether a dog can be imported into the U.S. without a valid rabies vaccination certificate.  Previously, all dogs admitted into the U.S. were required to be accompanied by a valid rabies vaccination unless the dog had only been in a rabies-free country for the six months preceding arrival in the U.S. Now, CDC is interpreting “rabies-free” to mean “canine rabies virus variant (CRVV)-free”. Hence, dog owners and those who import a dog from a “CRVV-free” or “low-risk” country will not need a rabies vaccination certificate to enter the U.S. The CDC estimates 1 million dogs are imported into the US annually. The revised focus is designed to shift inspection resources to dogs entering the U.S. from high-risk countries.

U.S. Congress – H.R. 4577/302, which passed in 2018, directs the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) to establish a working group to develop a domestic canine breeding network to produce high-quality explosives detection canines and to modernize behavioral, technical and medical standards for these canines. The measure required that representatives be drawn from a variety of stakeholder groups. AKC aided with drafting this measure and is working with members of Congress to advance it. The TSA has selected Dr. Carmen Battaglia to represent AKC on this working group.  See link to blog for more information.