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Congress – The WOOF Act, H.R. 1002, seeks to prohibit a relative of a dealer, exhibitor, or licensee whose license has been revoked by the USDA from obtaining a license for the same facility and assuming operation of that enterprise.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.
U.S. Congress – H.R. 2442 (the “Puppy Protection Act”) ”) seeks to amend the Federal Animal Welfare Act by establishing extensive new requirements for pet breeders who maintain more than 4 breeding animals (intact cats, dogs or other small mammals) and sell at least one animal sight unseen. Requirements include but are not limited to: completely solid flooring, mandated primary enclosure height that a dog can stand on its hinds legs and not touch the enclosure roof; new space requirements; a prohibition on stacked enclosures; mandated feeding twice daily; continuous access to water; unrestricted access from primary enclosure to outdoor exercise yards large enough to achieve full stride during daylight hours; specific mental stimulation and socialization; annual dental exams; arbitrary prohibitions on number of litters bred; arbitrary prohibitions on breeding age. AKC GR has expressed concerns with the proposal.
USDA APHIS – In March, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published a request for public comments on proposed updates 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 full analysis of the proposal, and believes the proposed changes are acceptable. AKC provided comments on the proposed changes on May 21. USDA APHIS subsequently extended the comment period to June 5. At the time of this writing, USDA APHIS has received over 30,000 comments, which will be reviewed prior to publication of a final rule.
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 have proof of 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. 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.
CDC Dog Import Regulations – As of May 10, the CDC has established a temporary ban on the import of dogs from Egypt into the U.S. This comes on the heels of three incidences of rabid dogs from Egypt being imported into the U.S. in the last four years.
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.