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The following are highlights of the numerous bills in Congress that could impact dog owners and the wellbeing of dogs.

Visit our 2023 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:

U.S. Congress – HR 1624, known as the Puppy Protection Act, is similar to previous versions, which include numerous arbitrary requirements for dog breeders subject to USDA licensing.  Specific requirements include: prohibitions on breeding a female unless pre-screened by a vet and arbitrary breeding restrictions based on an animal’s size or age. It also requires unfettered access from a primary enclosure to a run in which the dog can reach a running stride, yearly dental examinations and arbitrary kennel temperature requirements. While many of these requirements may sound reasonable on their face, one-size fits all mandates can be impractical and have harmful, often unintended, impacts on the health and wellbeing of individual dogs. Proponents of this problematic bill are seeking to add it to the must-pass FY 2023 Agricultural Authorization Act known as the Farm Bill.

U.S. Congress – The Healthy Dog Importation Act (HR 1184 / S 502), which AKC strongly supports, would require owners/importers of all dogs imported into the United States to submit a valid health certificate from a veterinary agency recognized by the USDA. Certificates would demonstrate that dogs being imported are microchipped and fully vaccinated or protected against contagious diseases and pathogens of concern to the USDA, including rabies. Dogs and records would also be subject to inspection/verification upon entry. Unlike the current CDC temporary rule, this measure focuses specifically on individual health status rather than country of origin. AKC is actively advocating for this important measure.

U.S. Congress – “Goldie’s Act” (HR 1788) would amend the federal Animal Welfare Act to redefine AWA violations and undermine priority for the care and wellbeing of animals by removing a distinction between care and welfare (direct) violations and paperwork/ non-welfare related (indirect) violations. While zero violations of any rules or laws should be the goal, AKC believes the care and wellbeing of animals must always be a priority. It also would require inspectors to destroy or remove an animal if they believe it is suffering psychological harm. The bill does not determine how psychological harm would be determined or by whom.  Proponents of this problematic bill are seeking to add it to the must-pass FY 2023 Agricultural Authorization Act known as the Farm Bill.

U.S. Congress – The Better CARE for Animals Act (HR 5041/S 2555) is a troublesome measure to significantly expand federal courts’ jurisdiction to unilaterally prosecute violations of AWA regulations. Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has jurisdiction over breeder licensing. Provisions include allowing for the Attorney General to bring a civil action in federal district courts, including restraining orders, injunctions, including seizure of animals, and significant civil penalties against breeders deemed to be in violation of the USDA breeder licensing rules and regulations. It also would allow for cost of care penalties to be assessed to breeders for any animals seized.

U.S. Congress – The Pets Belong with Families Act (HR 3989) introduced in June 2023 prohibits public housing agencies from imposing breed restrictions on household pets owned by residents. AKC supports this measure and is working with a broad range of stakeholders to advance the measure.

U.S. Congress – The Beagle Brigade Act of 2023 (HR 1480/ S 759) provides permanent Congressional authorization for the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Detector Dog Training Center, which administers all aspects of the USDA’s program using detection dogs to detect pests and diseases harmful to American agriculture imported into the United States. HR 1480 passed the House in May 2023. AKC GR is actively advocating to advance it in the Senate.