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AKC Government Relations continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners.

Visit our 2022 Legislation Tracking map and click on “Federal Bills” 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 – H.R. 2840/S. 1385, also known as the “Puppy Protection Act,” would establish a number of new arbitrary, one-size-fits-all requirements for USDA-licensed dog breeders (Generally, dog breeders who maintain more than 4 intact females and transfer one or more pets sight unseen).  New arbitrary requirements would include completely solid flooring; mandated primary enclosure height such that a dog can stand on its hind legs and not touch the enclosure roof; mandated feeding twice daily; unrestricted access from primary enclosure to outdoor exercise yards large enough to achieve full stride; specific mental stimulation and socialization; prohibitions on the number of litters bred; and prohibitions on breeding age. Although the measure has not advanced, proponents have secured a large number of sponsorships on the measure.  AKC is actively working to educate about the unintended consequences associated with the arbitrary requirements in this measure.  AKC has issued multiple alerts urging breeders and club members to share their concerns with their U.S. Senators and Member of CongressRead more.

U.S. Congress  H.R. 4239/S. 2597, the Healthy Dog Importation Act would require owners/importers of all dogs imported into the United States to submit a valid health certificate from a veterinary agency recognized by the USDA. Certificates would demonstrate that dogs being imported are microchipped and fully vaccinated or protected against contagious diseases and pathogens of concern to the USDA, including rabies. Dogs and records would also be subject to inspection/verification upon entry. Unlike the current CDC temporary rule, this measure focuses specifically on individual health status rather than country of origin. AKC is actively advocating for passage of this measure, which has 26 House sponsors and 10 Senate sponsors.   Read more.

U.S. Congress HR 8294  (FY 23 Agricultural Appropriations).  The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Rural Development, Energy and Water Development, Financial Services and General Government, Interior, Environment, Military Construction, and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2023. This measure contains appropriations for 6 of the regular 12 FY23 appropriations bills, including appropriation for the US Department of Agriculture, which oversees the federal Animal Welfare Act and federal dog breeder licensing requirements. The measure has passed the House and is pending negotiations and concurrence with the Senate on a final bill.

Language in several sections of the FY 23 Agricultural Appropriations portion of this massive bill, currently awaiting Senate action, could impact dog owners. The House version contains language to increase funding for USDA’s Animal Care Division of APHIS to improve enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act.  AKC strongly supports improved enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act.  We also support language that would require a portion of new enforcement funds be used to improve education and outreach for licensees, in keeping with the division’s mission to assure animal welfare. However, other language in the House (but not Senate) version contains a troublesome provision that would prohibit use of “teachable moments” and similar assistance to improve licensees’ operations; instead requiring that outreach by the agency to licensees be strictly limited to enforcement actions. AKC GR has issued alerts, a coalition letter of opposition and authored articles and op eds to educate about the value of supporting USDA collaborative and educational outreach to licensees.

U.S. Congress – HR 7900. The National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2023 authorizes appropriations for the Department of Defense and certain other activities within other federal departments and agencies.  AKC GR is active on several items within this massive bill, particularly as it relates to detection dogs and military housing.

  • The measure contains funding for a program initially approved – but not funded in 2022—that would partner with academia and a canine registry to improve military working and detection dog health and excellence by improving outreach and communications to U.S. breeders, facilitate consideration of a minimum of 200 domestically bred dogs for assessment annually; and collect data on U.S. bred dogs for academic research.
  • Additionally, text of S. 5828 has prohibiting breed-based bans in public and military housing has been added to this measure.
  • A third important amendment to this measure would provide $20 million for needed upgrade to military working dog facilities.

U.S. Congress – H.R. 5828, known as the “Pets Belong With Families Act” would prohibit public housing agencies from imposing breed restrictions on household pets owned by residents of dwelling units within public housing. AKC is a strong proponent of banning breed restrictions. AKC supports this measure and is working with sponsors to help advance it. This measure has been added to an amendment to HR 7900, the FY 23 National Defense Authorization Act.

U.S. CongressHR 7787, the “HENRY” Act, provides exemptions from current veterinary health requirements for any person employed with a U.S. Government or military permanent or temporary assignment overseas, or their dependents, to import up to three dogs/cats into the U.S. immediately.  The proposed loophole would also allow for written waivers to allow such persons to import an unspecified number of dogs into the US in contravention of current health protocols required for import.  The animals imported need not be personally owned by the importer or travelling as part of official duties or a transfer. AKC has expressed grave concerns with this measure and with providing exemptions for health and safety-based import requirements for certain classes of individuals.

U.S. Congress  H.R. 5261, also known as the “Paws Off” act, would require that food products containing xylitol carry a warning label that specifies the toxic effects of xylitol for dogs if ingested. Xylitol, also known as birch sugar, is a commonly-used ingredient in sugar-free products such as mints, chewing gum, and toothpaste. AKC strongly supports this measure and is working with the sponsor to raise awareness and support for it. Read more.

U.S. Congress – H.R. 3277  would make numerous changes to USDA breeder licensing requirements in the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Several troublesome provisions undermine updated licensing and enforcement requirements that were finalized less than 18 months ago. Provisions include but are not limited to: Requiring breeders to re-apply for new licenses on an annual basis and reducing the number of allowable re-inspections for new applicants. Of even greater concern, HR 3277 would also allow for “citizen suits” (third party cause of action) to enjoin any other person, government, or government agency relative to the act. This measure has been assigned to the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.

U.S. Congress – H.R. 1016 would establish an Animal Cruelty Crimes Section within the Department of Justice to enforce federal animal cruelty laws. This measure has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.

U.S. Congress – H.R. 6100, would amend the Animal Welfare Act by requiring the USDA to document any violation of the act observed during an inspection, promulgate rules to require inspectors to confiscate or humanely euthanize an animal “found to be suffering physical or psychological harm as a result of failure to comply with any provision of (the AWA)”, and establish mandatory annual inspections for licensees, among other requirements.