AKC Government Relations continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners.
Visit our 2022 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 6353 authorizes the establishment of a monument on federal land in Washington DC or its environs to commemorate the heroic deeds and sacrifices of service animals (including government working dogs) and their handlers in service of the United States. As of publication time, this positive measure is currently on the suspension calendar and expected to pass shortly.
U.S. Congress – S 4205 directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to establish a working group relating to best practices and federal guidance for animals in emergencies and disasters. The group would (1) encourage and foster collaborative efforts among individuals and entities working to address the needs of household pets, service and assistance animals, and captive animals in emergency and disaster preparedness, response, and recovery; and (2) review best practices and federal guidance on sheltering and evacuation planning relating to the needs of such pets and animals. As of publication time, this positive measure is currently on the suspension calendar and expected to pass shortly.
U.S. Congress – FY 2023 Agricultural Appropriations (No bill number available yet). There is language in several sections of this massive bill, currently awaiting Senate action, that could impact dog owners.
The House version contains language to increase funding for USDA’s Animal Care Division of APHIS to improve enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. AKC strongly supports improved enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. We support language that would require a portion of new enforcement funds be used to improve education and outreach for licensees, in keeping with the division’s mission to assure animal welfare. A competing provision, which AKC opposes, would prohibit use of “teachable moments” and similar assistance to improve licensees’ operations and instead require that outreach by the agency to licensees be strictly limited to enforcement actions.
U.S. Congress – H.R. 4239/S. 2597, the Healthy Dog Importation Act 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. Read more.
U.S. Congress – HR 7787, the “HENRY” Act, provides exemptions from current veterinary health requirements for any person employed with a U.S. Government or military permanent or temporary assignment overseas, or their dependents, to import up to three dogs/cats into the U.S. immediately. The proposed loophole would also allow for written waivers to allow such persons to import an unspecified number of dogs into the US in contravention of current health protocols required for import. The animals imported need not be personally owned by the importer or travelling as part of official duties or a transfer. AKC has expressed grave concerns with this measure and with providing exemptions for health and safety-based import requirements for certain classes of individuals.
U.S. Congress – H.R. 5261, also known as the “Paws Off” act, would require that food products containing xylitol carry a warning label that specifies the toxic effects of xylitol for dogs if ingested. Xylitol, also known as birch sugar, is a commonly-used ingredient in sugar-free products such as mints, chewing gum, and toothpaste. AKC strongly supports this measure and is working with the sponsor to raise awareness and support for it. Read more.
U.S. Congress – H.R. 2840/S. 1385, also known as the “Puppy Protection Act,” would establish a number of new arbitrary, one-size-fits-all requirements for USDA-licensed dog breeders (Generally, dog breeders who maintain more than 4 intact females and transfer one or more pets sight unseen). New arbitrary requirements would include completely solid flooring; mandated primary enclosure height such that a dog can stand on its hind legs and not touch the enclosure roof; mandated feeding twice daily; unrestricted access from primary enclosure to outdoor exercise yards large enough to achieve full stride; specific mental stimulation and socialization; prohibitions on the number of litters bred; and prohibitions on breeding age. Although the measure has not advanced, proponents have secured a large number of sponsorships on the measure. AKC is actively working to educate about the unintended consequences associated with the arbitrary requirements in this measure. AKC has issued multiple alerts urging breeders and club members to share their concerns with their U.S. Senators and Member of Congress. Read more.
U.S. Congress – H.R. 5828, known as the “Pets Belong With Families Act” would prohibit public housing agencies from imposing breed restrictions on household pets owned by residents of dwelling units within public housing. AKC is a strong proponent of banning breed restrictions. AKC supports this measure and is working with sponsors to help advance it.
U.S. Congress – H.R. 3277 would make numerous changes to USDA breeder licensing requirements in the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). Several troublesome provisions undermine updated licensing and enforcement requirements that were finalized less than 18 months ago. Provisions include but are not limited to: Requiring breeders to re-apply for new licenses on an annual basis and reducing the number of allowable re-inspections for new applicants. Of even greater concern, HR 3277 would also allow for “citizen suits” (third party cause of action) to enjoin any other person, government, or government agency relative to the act. This measure has been assigned to the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.
U.S. Congress – H.R. 1016 would establish an Animal Cruelty Crimes Section within the Department of Justice to enforce federal animal cruelty laws. This measure has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.
U.S. Congress – H.R. 6100, would amend the Animal Welfare Act by requiring the USDA to document any violation of the act observed during an inspection, promulgate rules to require inspectors to confiscate or humanely euthanize an animal “found to be suffering physical or psychological harm as a result of failure to comply with any provision of (the AWA)”, and establish mandatory annual inspections for licensees, among other requirements.