Here are some highlights of the regulatory issues AKC GR has recently addressed. Visit AKC’s Regulatory Resource Center for more information on these and other significant regulatory issues addressed by AKC Government Relations.
FEDERAL – Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced the adoption of updates to the regulations it uses to enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The changes were made in an effort to promote compliance, reduce license fees, and strengthen safeguards to prevent individuals and businesses with a history of noncompliance from obtaining a license or working with regulated animals. To better align the regulations with the humane care and treatment standards set by the AWA, the final rule also includes changes to the veterinary care and watering standards for regulated dogs. These changes will take effect on Monday, November 9, 2020. Click here for more information.
CONNECTICUT – The Connecticut Department of Agriculture has proposed new regulations that, among other provisions, seek to provide operational standards and facility requirements for animal shelters, including requirements for: (1) Buildings and premises; (2) ventilation and temperature; and (3) animal care requirements, to include staffing requirements, enclosure size and design standards, rules for feeding and access to clean water, cleaning requirements, and facility access standards. The regulations also contain a section which prohibits breeding of animals housed in animal shelters. Updates to the regulations for commercial kennels (limited to boarding kennels, grooming facilities, and veterinary kennels that provide boarding and grooming for nonmedical purposes), pet shops, training facilities, and animal importers are also included. Click here for more information. Click here to read AKC’s comment to the Connecticut Department of Agriculture.
MASSACHUSETTS – On June 5, the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources announced that new regulations have been finalized for the operation of animal shelters and animal rescue organizations, together with clarifying amendments to the Commonwealth’s regulations applying to pet shops. The new regulations provide definitions and standards relating to the importation, handling, and care of animals in the custody of non-profit organizations whose primary activity is the placement of abandoned, displaced, unwanted, neglected, or abused animals that do not obtain dogs or cats from a breeder or broker for payment or compensation. Because of the public health concerns that are increasingly presented by interstate dog trafficking that supplies retail animal welfare organizations, AKC supports policies, such as these final regulations, that provide reasonable oversight. Click here to read AKC’s review of the finalized regulations.
NEBRASKA – Last November, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services considered proposed rule changes to the state’s Rabies Control Program. The changes update the rules for rabies vaccinations of domestic animals, including requiring young domestic animals to be initially vaccinated against rabies at three months of age (and considered immunized within 28 days thereafter) and be given a booster vaccination one year later. Subsequent booster vaccinations may be given at intervals consistent with vaccine labeling. The updates also include provisions related to the seizure, confinement, testing, and disposition of domestic animals that expose humans to rabies; and post-exposure management of domestic animals and livestock. The Department of Health and Human Services has submitted the regulations to the attorney general and the governor for policy review and final approval. Upon successful completion of their review, the regulations will be forwarded to the secretary of state and become effective five days following receipt.
NORTH CAROLINA – On June 2, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission conducted a virtual public hearing on pending rule changes regarding 15A NCAC 10B.0114, regarding Dog Training and Field Trials. NC Wildlife staff reported that (1) the changes are mostly administrative, and are the result of a change in statute that allowed for the charging of a $10 fee for a field trial permit; and (2) previously, an applicant had to apply no less than 30 days before the event and get it from an officer. Now, individual event permits are available online and the 30-day requirement has been eliminated. In sum, the process for applying will be changed, but nothing else. Click here to read AKC GR’s April 2 post on this issue.
RHODE ISLAND – Earlier this month, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) adopted changes to the state’s animal health regulations for dogs temporarily imported into the state for shows. The changes clarify animal description requirements and allow veterinarians to be on call instead of on the show premises. The AKC supports these changes. Click here for more information.
TEXAS – The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission’s June 2020 Staff Report has recommended that the state’s Licensed Breeders Program, along with fourteen other occupational licensing programs currently under the auspices of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, is not necessary to protect the public and should be abolished. In its findings, the Commission implies that the underlying law that created the Licensed Breeder Program is fundamentally flawed, as it provides significant statutory exemptions and unenforceable requirements that undermine both the program’s goals and the agency’s efforts. Moreover, program revenues have been found to not cover administration of the Licensed Breeder Program; and despite these disproportionately high administrative costs, the Commission found that Texans still primarily rely on protections that predate the program. The Texas Legislature is next scheduled to convene in January 2021.
Click here for more information.