In addition to tracking and responding to legislative proposals, AKC Government Relations addresses dog-related regulatory proposals from the U.S. federal government, all 50 states, and the District of Columbia. AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) is currently tracking approximately 750 regulatory proposals, most which concern land use/hunting regulations and those governing the practice of veterinary medicine. Click the link below to read highlights from this past month.
AKC GR’s Regulatory Resource Center provides updates on our federal and state regulatory work that may impact dog owners. Check it out at www.cqrcengage.com/akc.org/regcenter.
Here are some highlights of state-level 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.
- Montana — The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) has proposed new rules and amendments to the state’s field trial and bird dog training regulations. They include requiring: (1) applications to conduct a field trial on public lands to include the number and species of captive-reared birds to be used for the trial and the written consent from the controlling land managing agency; (2) mandatory sourcing for all captive-reared game birds used for dog training; and (3) a person using captive-reared game birds provide certain details about the purchase.
- Texas – The Sunset Advisory Commission staff has recommended that the Texas Licensed Breeders Program be eliminated. Commission findings cite unenforceable requirements and administrative costs that exceed program revenues. The Commission was formally presented the recommendation on December 8, with a decision likely following on January 13. AKC GR anticipates major legislative advocacy efforts by animal rights and rescue groups to oppose eliminating the program and instead to tighten licensing requirements. Their preliminary proposals include lowering the ownership threshold from 11 intact females to 5 and eliminating an annual sales requirement. If enacted, this would vastly expand the number of breeders subject to state regulation. GR is working with the Texas federation in preparation for the 2021 legislative session. Click here to read AKC’s comments to the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission.
- Texas – Last year, Governor Abbott signed SB 1531 into law, which added pleas of “no contest” to animal cruelty charges as a ground for denying or refusing to renew a breeder license under Texas’ Dog or Cat Breeders Act. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) recently proposed amendments to the state’s Dog or Cat Breeders Act regulations to implement SB 1531. The proposal also combines two rule subsections that are virtually identical and makes technical changes. AKC GR is monitoring this issue for developments.
- Washington – The state of Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has proposed new rules to create a nonlethal enforcement program for the purpose of training dogs to assist in locating offending bear, cougar, and bobcat. The proposed rules are based on House Bill 1516, which was enacted in 2019 to allow the training of hound handlers and their dogs for appropriate conflict response. The proposed rule outlines the requirements an applicant must meet in order to qualify to join this program and procedures for participation. 50 individuals will be selected and approved through an extensive application process, including background checks. The program will be administered and monitored through WDFW’s Enforcement Program. For more information about the proposal, visit http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/law/wsr/2020/21/20-21-065.htm.
- Wisconsin – In a procedural move, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (Department) is proposing a rule that would allow it to evaluate whether to increase fee amounts, including license and reinspection fees, for dog sellers and dog facility operators.
Currently, animal shelters and animal control facilities pay an annual $125 license fee to operate in the state. License fees for in-state dog sellers range from $250-$1,000. Additional fees may also apply. As of license year 2020, there are 471 licensed dog sellers in the state, including 113 that sell 25-49 dogs per year, 87 that sell 50-99 per year, 64 that sell 100-249 per year, 25 that sell at least 250 per year, and 182 who operate animal shelters or animal control facilities.
The Department reports that the dog seller program’s fiscal year 2019 revenues ($181,200) failed to meet its costs ($338,600), therefore costing the state $157,400. After evaluation, the Department has determined that it is not able to reduce its program expenditures to its current revenues without failing to meet program requirements that have been set by the state legislature.
As required by statute, the Department would form an advisory group to assist in writing a new proposed fee schedule, with a goal of establishing fees to ensure recovery of program costs through program revenues and to eliminate the program’s current negative cash balance.
The advisory group is to include representatives of each of the following groups:
- Persons selling dogs at retail,
- Dog breeders that sell large dogs and that sell fewer than 50 dogs per year,
- Dog breeders that sell small dogs and that sell fewer than 50 dogs per year,
- Dog breeders that sell large dogs and that sell 50 or more dogs per year,
- Dog breeders that sell small dogs and that sell 50 or more dogs per year,
- Sporting associations whose primary activities involve dogs,
- Humane societies providing shelter to fewer than 500 dogs per year,
- Humane societies providing shelter to 500 or more dogs per year,
- Animal control facilities, and
- Breed rescue groups.
Click here to read the Department’s Statement of Scope filing. Those with questions for the Department are encouraged to contact Angela Fisher, Program Policy Analyst, at (608) 224-4890 or Angela.Fisher1@wisconsin.gov. Read AKC’s legislative alert for more information.