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Yesterday, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship published the final updates to the state’s animal welfare regulations.

Visit the IDALS website to view the regulations in their entirety.  AKC thanks all those who took the time to submit comments to the department.


The purpose of these updates in part is to address kennels, rescues, and shelters, as well as care for animals in facilities licensed in Iowa and regulated in Iowa Code.  The regulations will impact many hobbyists, as current Iowa law defines 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 (Please note: This definition could not be changed in these regulations, as it is part of Iowa Code).

Highlights of the regulations include:

  • Maintains definition of “In-home facility” as an individual required to be licensed as a boarding kennel, commercial breeder, commercial kennel, or dealer who maintains or harbors animals within the individual’s residence. Like previous regulations, such individuals are limited to having six adult animals in an individual’s residence.  Many fancier and enthusiast breeders who qualify under the statutory definition of commercial breeder maintain in-home facilities and will be subject to this limitation.
  • Amends the definition of “breeding male or female” to clarify that it is any sexually intact adult dog or cat over six months of age. This change, requested by the AKC, makes the definition mirror state law.
  • Clarifies that titers will not be accepted as a form of vaccination verification.
  • Requires dealers, including resident and nonresident rescues and in-state foster care homes, to be licensed; comply with state importation rules; and adhere to significant oversight requirements, including inspections by rescue managers.

Public health and safety concerns are increasingly presented by interstate dog trafficking that supplies retail shelters and rescues.  Diseases recently identified in imported dogs include canine brucellosis, a highly contagious bacterial infection that develops in the reproductive system, or as a sexually transmitted disease.

The American Kennel Club supports policies that seek to provide reasonable oversight of animal shelters and rescues.

AKC Government Relations will continue to monitor legislative and regulatory activity in Iowa.  For further information, contact AKC GR at