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March 5, 2019

A bill slated to move quickly in the Iowa House of Representatives would make significant changes to the state’s breeder laws. While some changes are a positive advancement, there are many concerning provisions that could unnecessarily harm dogs and responsible dog owners and breeders.

A subcommittee discussed House Study Bill 227 today, and it is probable that this bill will be scheduled for further consideration any day.  Iowa residents are strongly encouraged to contact both the House Committee on State Government and their State Representative TODAY and express concerns with HSB 227 as introduced.  Scroll down for committee contact information.


As introduced, House Study Bill 227 would make numerous changes to the state’s commercial breeder laws, including but not limited to the following highlights:

  • Creates a new definition of commercial breeder – Iowa has long had one of the most stringent breeder definitions in the United States, defining a “commercial breeder” as anyone who has more than three breeding dogs (male or female) and sells or exchanges even one dog in exchange for any consideration.
  • HSB 227 would define a commercial breeder as one who keeps 5 or more cats or dogs at any time during 12 consecutive months, breeds those dogs or cats AND does one of the following
    1) Sells 5 or more dogs or cats to a commercial breeder, dealer,                       or pet store,
    2) Sells 40 or more dogs under 12 months of age within a year, or
    3) Keeps more than 40 puppies (under 6 months of age) during the 12 consecutive months that were at the commercial establishment since the time of birth
    A person must keep 5 or more dogs or cats, breed them, AND meet one of the three criteria in order to be considered a commercial breeder.  Numerous new regulations and a new license fee schedule would be required for those who meet this definition.
    The AKC appreciates that this gets closer to a definition of a true “commercial” operation, but recommends that the language relating to the number of intact dogs be removed in its entirety.  It is very difficult to enforce, and the ownership of intact dogs does not indicate true commercial activity.
  • Establishes new licenses for other entities, including a “commercial rescue”; however these rescues do not have to comply with the standards of care required of commercial breeders – A “commercial rescue” is defined as someone who is the custodian of 10 or more dogs or cats at any time in a consecutive 12-month period who does ALL of the following:
    1) Accepts dogs or cats from 5 or more people (not family), or has taken custody of at least 5 abandoned animals
    2) Is prepared to maintain the dogs or cats on a permanent basis, and
    3) Relinquishes or offers to relinquish custody by adoption to members of the public or offers to permanently care for the animals suffering from a terminal illness.
    AKC appreciates that these entities are being regulated; however, if the purpose of the bill is truly to improve the welfare of dogs in the state, the standards of care should apply to all licensees, including those kept by “commercial rescues”.
  • Allows for seizure of all animals for even one violation of the standards of care – The AKC strongly agrees that all dogs deserve humane care and their basic needs should always be met. However, the AKC believes a warning should be issued and an opportunity for correction should be given for a first-time, non-critical violation before all animals are seized.

These are just a few highlights of this comprehensive bill.  Iowa breeders are encouraged to review the proposal to see how it would impact your breeding program.

What You Can Do:

AKC Government Relations will continue to monitor these bills and provide more information as it becomes available.  For more information, contact