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Taking Command Newsletter

Regulatory Highlights January 2022

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 – 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.

North Carolina — The Animal Welfare Division of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Sciences (NCAGR) is proposing updates to the rules used to carry out the state’s Animal Welfare Act.  The proposed revisions reflect changes in guidelines and best practices for licensees as well as changes in regulated industries.  The rules apply to facilities licensed or registered as animal shelters, boarding kennels, pet shops, dealers, public auctions, and euthanasia technicians under the act.  The proposal updates: (1) Recordkeeping requirements for animal shelters and boarding kennels; (2)  Applicable definitions, and adds a new definition of “surgical procedure” that may limit artificial insemination procedures on licensed dealers’ breeding stock to those performed by North Carolina-licensed veterinarians; (3) Facilities and operating standards, including standards for food storage; fencing; indoor heating/cooling, ventilation, and drainage requirements; outdoor building standards; primary enclosure standards; feeding/watering standards; and sanitation standards; (4) Program of veterinary care requirements, including disease control practices; (5) Transportation standards; and (6)

Euthanasia standards. Read more.

Texas – The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), which implements the state’s Dog or Cat Breeders Act (Act), has announced that there are four vacancies on its Licensed Breeders Advisory Committee.  Vacancies exist for two members of the public and two veterinarians.  The volunteer, nine-member Committee provides advice and recommendations to the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation and TDLR on matters regarding standards and fees that are established under the Act.  GR distributed application information to Texas residents.  

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.