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Taking Command Newsletter

Federal Issues February 2021

From Our Nation’s Capitol

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

To date, Congress has been busy focusing on organizing with new leadership, the impeachment, COVID, and budgetary issues. Both houses will return from a mid-month recess the week of February 21. We anticipate a significant additional amount of new canine legislation, both positive and problematic, will be introduced in Congress over the next several months.

Visit our 2021 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:

USDA Animal Welfare Act Enforcement Guidance Update: On February 12, USDA announced that it is rescinding December 2017 (updated in May 2018) guidance that described an incentive program that recognized licensees and registrants who took appropriate and timely action to address noncompliant items.  Previously, APHIS would not cite certain AWA noncompliance items that were identified by licensees and registrants outside of inspections and for which a licensee/registrant took appropriate action to correct the issue.  This announcement represents a shift in APHIS’ enforcement processes. Click here to read APHIS’ announcement.

COVID-19 – The AKC Government Relations team has been active in COVID -19 policy issues impacting AKC and dog owners throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This ranges from advocacy to ensure that dog owners continue to be able to access pet supplies and essential services, to providing information on how AKC can stay open during the pandemic, liability information, information for dog related businesses on how to seek essential business status or qualify for federal relief;  and advocacy for federal relief assistance for non-political non-profit organizations, including clubs suffering financial setbacks due to COVID. The AKC Legislative Action Center’s COVID-19 resources page is updated regularly with the latest information on state regulations impacting dog owners and businesses. The resources page also includes timely blogs on the latest information and tips on what club members and dog owners can do from home to continue being effective advocates. 

COVID-19 Liability – GR is continuing to advocate for federal and state laws to limit liability for clubs and events related to COVID-19 transmission when events are held in compliance with CDC and other jurisdictional health and safety recommendations.  Information about these efforts, the status of various proposals, a sample letter for lawmakers, and other information on how clubs/individuals can get involved is available on the AKC Legislative Action Center COVID-19 Liability key issue page at