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Taking Command Newsletter

Federal Issues September 2019

From Our Nation’s Capitol

Although neither chamber is in session this week, 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Congress – The WOOF Act, H.R. 1002, seeks to prohibit a relative of a dealer, exhibitor, or licensee whose license has been revoked by the USDA from obtaining a license for the same facility and assuming operation of that enterprise.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.

U.S. Congress – H.R. 2442 (the “Puppy Protection Act”) seeks to amend the Federal Animal Welfare Act by establishing extensive new requirements for pet breeders who maintain more than 4 breeding animals (intact cats, dogs or other small mammals) and sell at least one animal sight unseen.  Requirements include but are not limited to: completely solid flooring, mandated  primary enclosure height that a dog can stand on its hinds legs and not touch the enclosure roof; new space requirements; a prohibition on stacked enclosures; mandated feeding twice daily; continuous access to water; 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; arbitrary prohibitions on number of litters bred; arbitrary prohibitions on breeding age. AKC GR has expressed concerns with the proposal.

U.S. Congress – H.R. 4211 would make numerous changes to the federal animal welfare act (AWA) with respect to USDA pet breeder/dealer licensing requirements. Troublesome provisions include but are not limited to: Requiring breeders to apply for new licenses on an annual basis and rendering licensees subject to a new annual pre-licensing inspection. The measure does not provide a grace period for license extensions if the USDA is unable to inspect the premise in a timely manner. The measure would further require USDA to inventory all animals on a breeder/dealers’ premises and to publish to the public all breeder inventory, inspection and violation information without redaction.  Additionally, the measure would also allow for “citizen suits” (third party cause of action) to enjoin any other person or government or government instrumentality that is alleged to be in violation of the AWA (as amended) or any regulation under that authority. The measure has been assigned to the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.