What’s New from AKC Government Relations
May has been a busy month for the AKC Government Relations Team. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to alter legislative calendars and processes nationwide. A patchwork of state requirements impact dog owners, club activities/ events, and pet-related enterprises. In addition to GR’s standard legislative tracking, the team continues to provide daily updates on COVID-19 related legislation, executive orders and other requirements at the federal and state level.
Major milestones have also been achieved at the federal level. The introduction of HR 6921,The Healthy Dog Importation Act of 2020, provides the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with additional tools to monitor and safeguard the health of dogs being imported into the U.S. The measure builds on the work of multiple organizations including AKC, the National Animal Interest Alliance and others to raise awareness about the possible health threats to pets, livestock and the public from large-scale imports of dogs, particularly from random/unregulated sources, without appropriate health checks.
An increase in the demand for pet dogs, combined with legislation and policies that discourage or restrict U.S. dog breeding, have resulted in exponential growth in the import of dogs over the last decade. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one million dogs are imported annually into the U.S. This has resulted in recent incidents of dogs with non-native parasites and zoonotic diseases such as rabies, certain viral infections, brucellosis and other diseases being imported and passed into the general public.
To learn more, visit AKC GR’s new key issues page on “Pet Imports: Protecting Pets and Public Health”. Like other key issues pages in the AKC Legislative Action Center, this page provides a wealth of topical information including issue analyses, position statements, action items, alerts and references/resource materials. Other key issues pages focus on COVID-19 resources, Limit Laws, Breed-Specific Legislation/Dangerous Dog Laws, Breeding Regulations, Mandatory Spay and Neuter, and more. Plus, new key issues pages will be introduced in coming months, so stay tuned!
In other federal news, the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) finalized new Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulations pertaining to breeder licensing requirements. These updates conclude a multi-year process of proposals, analysis, recommendations and public comments by AKC and many others on USDA’s efforts to streamline the licensing process and address troublesome loopholes in licensing requirements. AKC is generally pleased with the updates. Take a moment to see an overview of the changes and tips on whether you may be subject to USDA licensing.
Finally, the Government Relations Department is pleased to announce the release of the first in a new series of public policy briefs. Why Breed-Specific Legislation Doesn’t Work: An Analysis of Dangerous Dog Policy is a comprehensive product that provides lawmakers, advocates, and the public with in-depth analysis, case studies, and model language in support of breed-neutral dangerous dog policies. AKC GR is scheduled to release two more comprehensive policy briefs in 2020.