USDA APHIS/ Regulatory – AKC submitted comments to the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) regarding a draft five-year strategic plan for the agency. Comments will assist APHIS in finalizing the plan, of which a final version is expected in the fall. AKC’s comment highlights three main needs: (1) increased appropriations to help ensure strong enforcement, (2) greater collaboration between APHIS and other government agencies to address the public health issues presented by the importation of unhealthy dogs, and (3) a clear definition of “breeding female” in Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations. Read more and view AKC’s comment to USDA APHIS.
USDA APHIS /Regulatory – Effective August 1, 2022, USDA APHIS discontinued the use of “teachable moments” as part of its enforcement of the AWA. Since 2016, USDA APHIS documented teachable moments for minor, isolated noncompliances discovered during facility inspections that did not have an impact on the welfare or care of animals. Teachable moments were not used to address noncompliances that directly impacted animal welfare or care, or when dealing with licensees that had multiple noncompliances. AKC believes that teachable moments provided an opportunity for breeders and other regulated entities to receive APHIS guidance to improve their operations, which benefitted the overall care of animals. However, due to a congressional directive, all noncompliances, including minor issues not impacting animal welfare or care, will be cited on inspection reports. Language to prohibit or limit teachable moments and similar educational outreach by USDA for regulated entities has also been added to the FY 23 House Agriculture Appropriations bill. Read more.
Massachusetts – The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is proposing regulatory amendments to the rules for Retriever or Bird Dog Trials. The proposal would (1) allow field trials to occur on any wildlife management area (WMA) with prior authorization from MassWildlife’s Director or their agent (current regulations restrict which WMAs field trials may occur on); (2) allow field trials to be conducted on the Herman J. Covey WMA and High Ridge WMA with the Director’s permission (currently, outdated language in the regulations prohibit field trials on both); (3) allow overnight camping at Herman Covey WMA; and (4) clarify language regarding field trial license fees. Learn more.
Texas – The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) has proposed new general rules about the inspections it conducts, including for dog breeders licensed by the state. The proposed rules, which are in addition to the specific requirements provided in the Licensed Breeder Program rules, would (1) allow TDLR to perform inspections with or without advance notice or as a result of a complaint; (2) require inspections to be performed during the regular operator hours of the location being inspected; (3) upon completion, require that TDLR provide the license holder/applicant/representative with written results of the inspection; (4) allow TDLR to use alternative inspection methods, including use of videoconferencing technology, instead of in-person inspections; and (5) require license holders, applicants, and others to cooperate while inspections are conducted. Read more.