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Taking Command Newsletter

Federal Issues – June 2021

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

Visit our 2021 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:

US CongressHealthy Dog Importation Act of 2021. AKC is working with  the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the National Animal Interest Alliance (NAIA), among other  groups, to reintroduce the Healthy Dog Importation Act (HDIA). HDIA was introduced in the House in 2020. Advocates are seeking introduction in both the US House and US Senate within the next several weeks and are working with key members of Congress who will serve as primary sponsors. HDIA represents a more nuanced, longer-term approach to addressing the issue of unhealthy dogs being imported into the U.S. Unlike the current CDC temporary rule, HDIA limits entry by health status rather than by country of origin. HDIA would require owners/importers of all dogs imported into the United States to submit a valid health certificate from a veterinary agency accredited by the USDA. Certificates would demonstrate that dogs being imported are microchipped and fully vaccinated/protected against diseases (and parasites) of concern, including rabies. Dogs and records would also be subject to inspection/verification upon entry. Read more.

Federal Regulations – On June 14, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a temporary suspension of the importation of dogs from countries classified as high risk for canine rabies. This suspension will also apply to dogs arriving from countries not considered a high risk if the dogs have been in a high-risk country during the previous six months. The new suspension applies to all dogs, including puppies, emotional support dogs, and dogs that traveled out of the United States and are returning from a high-risk country. The suspension commences July 14. Read more.

US CongressHR 2840/S 1385, also known as the “Puppy Protection Act,” is the re-introduction of a bill from last congress that 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 (cats, dogs or other small pet mammals) and transfer one or more pets sight unseen are subject to USDA licensing.] New requirements would include, but are not limited to: completely solid flooring; mandated primary enclosure height such that a dog can stand on its hind legs and not touch the enclosure roof; new space requirements; mandated feeding twice daily; unrestricted access from primary enclosure to outdoor exercise yards large enough to achieve full stride; specific mental stimulation and socialization; annual dental exams; arbitrary prohibitions on the number of litters bred; and arbitrary prohibitions on breeding age.

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

US Congress HR 1022/S 951 would establish a Veterans Administration program to establish grants to provide service dogs to certain qualified disabled veterans suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury. Grants would be provided for dogs from not-for-profit service dog trainers who meet credentials published by the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans, including passage of multiple levels of AKC CGC tests. The program would also develop appropriate means to measure and report on psychosocial function, therapeutic compliance, and change in reliance on prescription narcotics and psychotropic medications of program participants.

US Congress – Companion measures HR 1448/S 613 would direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program on dog training therapy and to amend Title 38, United States Code, to provide service dogs to veterans with mental illnesses who do not have mobility impairments. AKC has recommended amendments to assure behavioral, health and training standards for the dogs. HR 1448 was passed by the House in May.