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Federal Issues March 2019

Federal Issues March 2019

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 –(update): The WOOF Act, H.R. 1002, seeks to prohibit a relative of a dealer, exhibitor, or licensee whose license has been revoked by the USDA from obtaining a license for the same facility and assuming operation of that enterprise.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 Animal Welfare Act Regulations  – On March 22, USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service published a request for public comments on proposed updates to the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA) licensing requirements.  Highlights of the proposal include: Amending licensing requirements to eliminate automatic renewals and instead require licensees to re-apply for a new license and affirmatively demonstrate compliance with the AWA every three years; reducing fees and processing requirements; requiring annual hands-on veterinary exams and a written veterinary care program; and requiring that dogs have continual access to potable water unless restricted by an attending veterinarian. Public comments are being accepted until May 14, 2019.

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 (if older than 6 months of age) had only been in a rabies-free country for the six months preceding arrival in the U.S. Now, for the purpose of dog importation, CDC is interpreting “rabies-free” to mean “canine rabies virus variant (CRVV)-free”.    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 noted more than an estimated 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.