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The Michigan Senate Agriculture Committee has approved a positive bill that seeks to regulate rescues and foster homes in the state.

Senate Bill 419, which includes several amendments requested by the AKC and the Michigan Association for Pure-Bred Dogs, seeks to regulate “animal rescues”, defined as a person that acquires an animal for the purpose of finding that animal a new home and maintains the animal in a foster home (both requirements must be met to be considered an animal rescue under this bill).

The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration.  Those who reside or participate in rescue activities in Michigan are encouraged to review the bill and ask their State Senator to support the bill. (Scroll down for contact information)

Highlights of the bill include the following:

  • New rules for rescues and foster homes, including:
    • Ensuring the dog is vaccinated against distemper, parvovirus, and canine adenovirus-2. The bill also adds that if the dog is 12 weeks of age or older, rabies and leptospirosis vaccines are also required.
    • All dogs imported by rescue must be accompanied by an interstate health certificate or certificate of veterinary inspection completed and signed by an accredited veterinarian licensed in the dog’s state of origin.
    • The rescue may not breed rescued The original bill banned all rescues from breeding.  This amendment, recommended by the AKC and its state federation, ensures the bill will not unintentionally impact those who participate in rescue activities and have their own, separate breeding programs. 
    • As with animal shelters, no rescue may permit a person to adopt an animal that has not been sterilized. Exceptions include a dog being transferred to a law enforcement agency or an organization that trains service dogs.
    • Compliance with new standards and regulations to be developed for housing and care of animals in rescues and fosters (this is a clarification from the original bill, which required rescues to comply with the same requirements as commercial kennels).
  • Registration and inspection – All animal rescues operating in Michigan must be registered by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). Before registration, the bill states that MDARD may inspect some or all foster homes utilized by the animal rescue to ensure compliance with appropriate laws and rules.  A foster home must grant permission before an inspector enters the home.  If access is denied and there is belief that the foster home is not in compliance, the rescue must ensure compliance (or remove the foster home from its official/approved list) or be in danger of losing its registration.

What You Can Do:

Ask the Michigan State Senate to support Senate Bill 419.  Visit the AKC Legislative Action Center ( and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find the name and contact information for your State Senator.

AKC Government Relations and the Michigan Association for Pure-Bred Dogs (MAPBD) continue to closely monitor this legislation and will provide more information as it becomes available.  For questions, contact MAPBD at or AKC GR at