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Taking Command November 2017

Federal Issues November 2017

The AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2017 Legislation Tracking page and click on “US Fed” on the map to get the latest updates on federal bills currently being monitored by the AKC. Highlights of issues we are currently addressing on the federal level include:

U.S Congress – AKC GR is working with members of Congress to secure more information about the cause and possible solutions for the shortage of domestically-bred explosives detection and other working dogs for national security purposes. In conjunction with several members of Congress, AKC has provided recommendations and language in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 2810) to support using and developing additional sources for appropriate domestically-bred working dogs. It also requires the Department of Defense to provide reports on specific aspects of current military working dog procurement and breeding programs including comparative costs of foreign versus domestically-bred dogs, availability of domestically-bred dogs, and non-classified requirements for green (minimally trained) dogs. HR 2810 has been approved by the House-Senate conference, and awaits final approval in Congress. On October 3, Sheila Goffe was a witness on this topic at a joint hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs; and the Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on transportation and Protective Security.

USDA APHIS Request for Public Comment – USDA APHIS requested public comment on current federal licensing for pet breeder/dealers. This request for comment, which closed in early November, provided an excellent opportunity for all interested parties to offer constructive, thoughtful and data-driven commentary and advice on current Animal Welfare Act licensing requirements, and how APHIS can implement, improve or clarify current rules. The AKC submitted extensive comments and encouraged breeders to comment as well. Click here to view AKC’s comments.

U.S. Congress – The Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS – H.R. 909/S. 322)  would add federal protections for the pets of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. It would include pets in protection orders for human victims and require that a person who commits an interstate violation of a protection order would be subject to fines and/or imprisonment and be required to pay restitution for veterinary care of a victim’s pet that was harmed as the result of an offense. It would also create a program to award grants to eligible entities to aid victims of crimes related to stalking and domestic violence. The AKC supports this measure and is working with members of Congress to advance it.

U.S. Congress –The Help Extract Animals from Red Tape Act (H.R. 398) was first introduced in 2016. The measure would have allowed the federal government to charge individuals whose animals were seized under alleged violations of federal law for the cost of boarding and care of their animals pending adjudication of the case.  Owners would have been liable for costs and forfeiture of their animals, even if they were ultimately found not guilty of those violations.  AKC worked with the primary sponsor to change the measure into a reasonable measure to provide that only those ultimately found guilty of violations would be subject to forfeiture and reimbursing the costs of care for the animals. The measure has been referred to House Judiciary Committee.

U.S. Congress – The Puppies Assisting Wounded Service members (PAWS) Act of 2017 establishes a pilot program to provide grants to eligible organizations to provide specially-trained service dogs for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).  AKC supports these measures, which also recognize the value of AKC CGC programs in preliminary training for service dogs.