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Federal Issues March 2021

Federal Issues March 2021

From Our Nation’s Capitol

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

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: In February, 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.

US Congress S 613/HR 1448 –These companion measures 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 authorize the Secretary 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. Both measures have been referred to their respective Veterans Affairs committees. HR 1448 has been moved to the consent calendar and could be considered as soon as mid-April.  

US Congress HR 1016 – This measure 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 – establishes 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.