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Taking Command Newsletter

Federal Issues October 2018


The AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2018 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 – H.R. 4577 establishes a working group to develop a domestic canine breeding network to produce high-quality explosives detection canines. AKC provided assistance with drafting this measure and is working with members of Congress to advance it. The measure has passed the House and has been assigned to the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. AKC worked with stakeholders to place this measure into the 2018 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Bill. The measure has passed Congress and was signed into law in early October.  See the Op-Ed published in this issue for more information.  View our Government Relations blog for additional background.

U.S. Congress  H.R. 2 (the 2018 Farm Bill) authorizes federal funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees implementation of the federal Animal Welfare Act and other federal animal-related regulations programs.  AKC, together with NAIA, advocated requiring the government to track the number of dogs and sourcing of animals being imported into the U.S. for resale as pet.  Similar requirements have been adopted in both versions of the bill.  In addition, AKC supports the Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS – H.R. 909/S. 322), text also added to the Senate version.  PAWS adds federal protections for the pets of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence and creates a program to award grants to eligible entities to aid victims of crimes related to stalking and domestic violence.  House and Senate versions have passed their respective chambers and differences will be addressed in conference committee.

U.S. Congress –The Help Extract Animals from Red Tape Act (H.R. 398) was first introduced in 2016. The measure would have allowed the federal government to charge individuals whose animals were seized under alleged violations of federal law for the cost of boarding and care of their animals pending adjudication of the case.  Owners would have been liable for costs and forfeiture of their animals, even if they were ultimately found not guilty of those violations. AKC worked with the primary sponsor to change the proposal into a reasonable measure that provides that only those ultimately found guilty of violations would be subject to forfeiture and reimbursing the costs of care for the animals. The measure has been referred to House Judiciary Committee.

U.S. Congress – HR 2327, Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members (PAWS) Act 2017 establishes a pilot program to provide grants to eligible organizations providing specially-trained service dogs for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).  AKC supports this program, which also incorporates advanced AKC CGC programs in preliminary training for service dogs. This measure has been added to H.R. 2; the “Farm Bill.”

U.S. Congress  S. 2738 would amend federal law to require air passengers with service animals to adhere to a standard of service animal behavior training.

U.S. Congress  HR 4693 would expand a variety of specific requirements, including new kennel engineering standards, for pet breeders subject to USDA licensing. New requirements include: new flooring standards, enclosure sizes, constant access to water and exercise yards and a variety of other requirements. While some proposed changes reflect good animal husbandry practices, others are arbitrary, unnecessary, or potentially harmful to some animals. The bill has been assigned to the Agriculture Committee.