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Federal Issues November 2020

Federal Issues November 2020

AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2020 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: 

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, to information for dog related businesses on how to seek essential business status, or qualify for federal relief.  The AKC Legislative Action Center’s COVID-19 resources page is updated daily 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 protections – AKC GR is advocating 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 and how clubs/individuals can get involved is available on the COVID-19 Liability key issue page at

U.S. Congress – H.R. 2442/ S.4757 (the “Puppy Protection Act”) seeks to amend the AWA by establishing extensive new requirements for licensed pet breeders. This includes but is 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 during daylight hours; specific mental stimulation and socialization; annual dental exams; and arbitrary prohibitions on a number of litters bred; arbitrary prohibitions on breeding age.  AKC GR has alerted all clubs and asked them to contact their members of Congress.  Neither bill is currently scheduled for a hearing.  AKC GR has alerted all clubs and asked them to contact their members of Congress to express  concerns about these arbitrary, one-size fits all federal mandates 

U.S. Congress –  H.R. 7617.  Fiscal 2021 Defense of Department (DoD) Appropriations. This must-pass appropriations bill bill be heading to conference shortly. Both the House bill and the senate draft contain language to require the Veterinary Service of the DoD to establish a standardized, non-breed specific policy to regulate dangerous dogs in military communities, which AKC supports. Implementing regulations would emphasize: non-breed specific dangerous dog behavior and chronically irresponsible owners; enforcement of animal control regulations such as leash laws/stray animal control policies; promotion and communication of resources for spay/neuter and investment in community educational initiatives.    

U.S. Congress – H.R. 6921 The Healthy Dog Importation Act, strongly supported by AKC, provides the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with additional tools to monitor and safeguard the health of dogs being imported into the U.S.  The measure is designed to ensure that dogs entering the country are healthy and not at risk to spread dangerous diseases that could adversely impact public health.  Specifically, it requires that every dog entering the U.S. must provide the USDA with a health certificate issued by a veterinarian accredited by a USDA-recognized veterinary authority.  The certificate will demonstrate that the dog has received required vaccinations and demonstrated negative test results for health issues. It also requires dogs be permanently identified and provides fees to offset costs for increased monitoring and oversight. For more information, visit AKC GR’s key issues page:  Pet Imports: Protecting Pet and Public Health.

U.S. Congress – H.R. 5715 would expand federal regulation of pet sellers under jurisdiction of both the USDA (AWA) and the Federal Trade Commission to include anyone who is subject to USDA licensing as a pet dealer or who maintains more than 4 female cats and dogs and sells more than 25 pets in a year. It expands information that must be collected about the breeder/seller, including, among other things, personally identifiable information, contact information, and the number of animals sold in previous years.  It would require that all such information be published online in a machine-readable format. It provides reasonable prohibitions and limitations on reissuing licenses to individuals or family of individuals whose licenses are under suspension or have been revoked. Additionally, it establishes unfair or deceptive practices with respect to the sale of pets but exempts public pet shelters or other pet sellers registered as 501c3 charitable organizations.

U.S. Congress – H.R. 4211 would make numerous changes to USDA pet breeder/dealer licensing requirements. Provisions include: Requiring breeders to apply for new licenses on an annual basis and a new annual pre-licensing inspection. It does not provide a grace period for license extensions if the USDA is unable to inspect in a timely manner. It requires USDA to inventory all animals on a breeders’ premises and to publish all breeder inventory, inspection and violation information without redaction. It would also allow for “citizen suits” (third party cause of action) to enjoin any other person or government. It has been assigned to the House Agriculture Livestock Subcommittee.

U.S. Congress – HR 3103/S. 2949 (“Puppies Assisting Wounded Service Members” – PAWS) 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 to dogs from not-for-profit service dog trainers who meet the ASDAC credentials published by the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans. It 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.