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Taking Command Newsletter

Regulatory Highlights December 2021

Here are some highlights of state and federal regulatory issues AKC GR recently addressed.  Visit AKC’s Regulatory Resource Center for more information on these and other significant regulatory issues addressed by AKC Government Relations.

Federal – CDC Temporary Ban on Dog Imports: In June, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a temporary suspension of the importation of dogs from countries classified as high risk for canine rabies. This suspension will also apply to dogs arriving from countries not considered a high risk if the dogs have been in a high-risk country during the previous six months. The new suspension applies to all dogs, including puppies, emotional support dogs, and dogs that traveled out of the United States and are returning from a high-risk country. The suspension commenced July 14. Read more.

Note: On October 12, the CDC updated the requirements and eligibility guidelines for people applying for a CDC Dog Import Permit to bring their dog into the United States from a country at high-risk for canine rabies (dog rabies).  Animals will be permitted to enter the country at 18 designated U.S. airports until January 7, 2022.  Starting January 7, 2022, people with a CDC Dog Import Permit will need to enter the U.S. at an approved port of entry.  Individuals who meet the eligibility requirements must apply for a CDC Dog Import Permit at least 6 weeks in advance. Read more about these updates.  

Note:  On November 19, CDC announced an update to its current emergency rule that generally prohibits the importation of dogs into the U.S. from countries that are considered high-risk for rabies.  Effective December 1, 2021, eligible travelers, U.S. citizens, or lawful U.S. residents with a valid U.S.-issued rabies vaccination certificate traveling with their personal pet dog(s) from a country at high risk for rabies will no longer be required to apply for a CDC Dog Import permit, and will be able to travel with their dogs during the remainder of the suspension. To re-enter the U.S., dogs with a valid U.S.-issued rabies vaccination certificate must (1) appear healthy on arrival, (2) be at least six months old, (3) have a microchip for identification listed on their rabies vaccination certificate, and (4) provide proof of a valid U.S.-issued rabies vaccination certificate upon arrival. According to the CDC, permits will not be issued for foreign-vaccinated dogs if the dogs are (1) traveling temporarily to the U.S. with their owners (such as for vacation or to visit friends and family); (2) being imported for rescue, resale, or transfer of ownership; (3) participating in conformation dog shows; (4) participating in obedience trials or dog sport shows; or (5) participating in other types of exhibition not meeting the definition in 42 CFR 71.50 (i.e., zoos or trained animal acts).  Read more about this update.  

Federal – USDA APHIS has issued a new federal order that imposes restrictions on the importation of live dogs for resale from regions where African swine fever (ASF) exists or is reasonably believed to exist.  ASF is not a threat to human health, but is a highly-contagious disease of wild and domestic swine that can spread rapidly in swine populations with extremely high rates of morbidity and mortality. If ASF were introduced into the U.S., the impact for the domestic pork industry, which has a gross output of $23.4 billion annually, could be catastrophic. As part of the efforts to prevent introduction of ASF into the U.S., APHIS monitors possible pathways of introduction of ASF into the United States.  APHIS has determined that dogs imported from ASF-affected countries for resale purposes, along with their bedding, represent such a possible pathway for the introduction of disease. Dogs for resale include any transfer of ownership or control of an imported dog for more than de minimis consideration.  Importers of dogs into the United States for resale from a region in which ASF exists or is reasonably believed to exist, must submit written documentation verifying completion of certain requirements.  Read more.

Federal – On December 2, USDA APHIS announced the final adoption of a rule, effective January 3, 2022, that requires licensees under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA)—including breeder/dealers, research facilities, intermediate handlers, and carriers—to establish emergency/contingency plans in the event of a natural or manmade disaster or other business interruption.  AKC strongly supported adoption of the rule as an important and appropriate next step in helping protect both the dogs kept, and staff employed by, regulated facilities.  Emergency contingency planning can prevent loss of animal life, reduce disaster recovery timeframes, better ensure continuity of regulated businesses, and reassure the public that facilities have measures in place to safeguard animal welfare during emergencies. Click here to read AKC’s formal comment to USDA APHIS encouraging adoption of the final rule.

Colorado – The Colorado Department of Agriculture recently adopted new education requirements under the states Pet Animal Care and Facilities Act (PACFA) requiring all licensed animal care facilities to update their licenses with a new qualifying and continuing education program from the Department. This will include all new PACFA licensees which will be required to take continuing education once every two years. Courses will be free for PACFA licensees and staff. This will be implemented during the 2023-2024 renewal period.

Maine – The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry proposed amendments to the regulation of state licensed animal facilities.  After review of the proposal with the Maine Federation of Dog Clubs, AKC GR submitted a letter expressing general support for the proposed changes with two recommendations consistent with AKC’s Care and Conditions of Dogs Policy to further strengthen the proposal.  One, strike the subjective definition proposed by the department regarding a “capacity to care” and insert an evaluation of whether facility operations meet the stated standards of care.  Two, provide violators a period to correct deficiencies identified by the department that do not rise to the level of cruelty prior to taking enforcement action. 

Massachusetts – On October 1, 2021, the newly established Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission jointly announced regulations at 555 CMR 6.0 implementing restrictions on the use of force by law enforcement.  Deployment of a police K-9 qualifies as a use of force that requires the reporting of any injury from their use.  The regulations distinguish the appropriate use of police K-9s during peaceful mass gatherings and restrictions for their use during protests for crowd management. 

Virginia – The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) has proposed amendments to the Commonwealth’s regulations governing hunting, trapping, and terrestrial wildlife specifically as they relate to Coyote and Furbearer Hunting Contests. As written, the proposed amendment is unclear and could be interpreted to prohibit field trials, training, and canine performance events.  AKC GR submitted a comment to DWR requesting a clarifying amendment.  The formal comment period has closed and AKC GR continues to monitor the status of the issuance of any new regulations. Read more.