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.
- North Carolina – The Wildlife Resources Commission has finalized updates to the rule for Dog Training and Field Trials (15A NCAC 10B.0114). Originally proposed in April, the rule has been updated to reflect permit application process changes. For more information, go to https://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/License/Documents/RAPS%20Applications/Field%20Trial%20Permit%20Instruction_03_16_2020.pdf.
- Texas – The Sunset Advisory Commission has recommended that the Texas Licensed Breeders Program be eliminated. Commission findings cite unenforceable requirements and administrative costs that exceed program revenues. 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.