Federal Regulatory Update – The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in late January that it is extending current requirements for the import of live dogs from countries at high risk for rabies. These requirements had been due to expire January 31, 2023. Under current requirements established in June 2022 all categories of importers are eligible to import dogs from high-risk counties. Commercially imported dogs are required to enter the U.S. at a port of entry with a live animal care facility. CDC’s list of approved ports of entry include 18 airports with a CDC quarantine station for imported dogs with a valid U.S.-issued rabies vaccination certificate or a CDC Dog Import Permit. Importers with dogs that are at least six months old, are microchipped, and have a valid U.S.-issued rabies vaccination certificate may enter the U.S. without a CDC Dog Import Permit at one of the 18 approved airports provided the dog appears healthy upon arrival. For more information visit www.cdc.gov.
USDA APHIS/Regulatory – The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) has announced future proposed changes to the federal Animal Welfare Act’s (AWA) rules and standards, including adding regulatory requirements to address species-specific environmental enrichment for all regulated animals, including dogs. Currently, AWA rules only contain environmental enrichment requirements for non-human primates and marine mammals. APHIS is considering expanding those requirements to better address the needs of species known to exist in social groups; species-specific feeding, foraging, and food acquisition behaviors; and enclosure space, lighting, and design that allow for species-specific behaviors. In its announcement, APHIS notes that because licensees would be able to use their own expertise to determine the specific enrichment measures to implement, the future regulations could be implemented on an individual basis. Under this “performance standard” approach, licensees would be required to develop and implement a written plan specifying measures they would take to provide for environmental enrichment, which would have to be approved by an attending veterinarian. Licensees would be required to monitor the plan on an ongoing basis to ensure compliance and to make adjustments if needed. AKC will provide comment on this Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking prior to the conclusion of the public comment period on March 10, 2023. Learn more.
USDA APHIS/Regulatory — The United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) announced that its Animal Welfare Inspection Guide was amended in late December 2022 to ensure consistency across guiding regulatory documents and to align with the congressional directive to discontinue the use of “teachable moments” during inspections. Click here for more information.
Florida – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has proposed changes to the General Regulations Relating to Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and to Wildlife and Environmental Areas (WEAs). The effect of the proposed changes will (1) allow dogs to be used for hunting non-protected birds during any period when at least one species of small game is legal to take with dogs, and (2) extend the shooting hours for mourning and white-winged doves from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset during Phase I of the statewide mourning and white-singed dove season, unless otherwise provided by area-specific regulations. Learn more.
Massachusetts – The Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) is proposing regulatory amendments to the rules for Retriever or Bird Dog Trials. The proposal would (1) allow field trials to occur on any wildlife management area (WMA) with prior authorization from MassWildlife’s Director or their agent (current regulations restrict which WMAs field trials may occur on); (2) allow field trials to be conducted on the Herman J. Covey WMA and High Ridge WMA with the Director’s permission (currently, outdated language in the regulations prohibit field trials on both); (3) allow overnight camping at Herman Covey WMA; and (4) clarify language regarding field trial license fees. Learn more.
Ohio – The Ohio Department of Agriculture has finalized rules regarding high volume dog breeders, dog brokers, and pet stores. Changes impacting high volume dog breeders include Definitions and General Considerations, Housing, Socialization and Exercise, Food and Water, Transportation, Recordkeeping and Identification, Licensing, Inspections, and Civil Penalties. Learn more.
Oklahoma – The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry is proposing new rules regarding the seizure and impoundment of animals kept by commercial pet breeders and animal shelters in cases where the animals’ health, safety, or welfare is endangered or believed to be in imminent danger. AKC has submitted comments expressing concerns that the proposal would allow medically-unnecessary spay/neuter and other procedures to be performed on seized animals. Learn more.
Texas – On January 6, 2023, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) finalized new general rules about the inspections it conducts, including for dog breeders licensed by the state. The rules, which are in addition to the specific requirements provided in the Licensed Breeder Program rules, (1) allow TDLR to perform inspections with or without advance notice or as a result of a complaint; (2) require inspections to be performed during the regular operator hours of the location being inspected; (3) upon completion, require that TDLR provide the license holder/applicant/representative with written results of the inspection; (4) allow TDLR to use alternative inspection methods, including use of videoconferencing technology, instead of in-person inspections; and (5) require license holders, applicants, and others to cooperate while inspections are conducted. Read more.