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On Thursday, October 31, the Michigan Senate Agriculture Committee will be taking testimony on a bill regulating rescues and foster homes operating in Michigan.

Senate Bill 419 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).

Highlights of the bill include the following:

  • Requires rescues to comply with many of the same regulations as large-scale dog breeding kennels licensed by the state and allows the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) to establish minimum standards for rescues.
  • Requires animal rescues to meet the same requirements as large-scale breeders and shelters for importing dogs in Michigan, 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.
  • All animal rescues operating in Michigan must be registered by MDARD. Before registration, the bill states the department may inspect some or all foster homes utilized by the animal rescue to ensure compliance with appropriate laws and rules.
  • 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.
  • Regulations for rescues and foster homes, including:
    • The rescue may not breed animals. AKC is asking for an amendment/clarification to ensure this will not  impact those who participate in rescue activities and have their own, separate breeding programs. 
    • The rescue must maintain a list of foster homes, including names, contact information, and a physical description, age, and gender of each animal at the foster home.
    • Upon request, the foster home must provide MDARD access to any part of the home in which animals are kept on behalf of a rescue.
    • Rescues must keep verifiable records for at least 2 years, including contact information for where the dog was acquired, a description of the animal (including color, gender, sterilization status, and approximate weight and age), and the date and method of the disposition of the animal – including a verified name and address of where the dog was transferred or sold.

What You Can Do:

Those who wish to comment on Senate Bill 419 may do the following:

  • Testify at Thursday’s hearing. The hearing information is as follows:
    Senate Committee on Agriculture hearing
    Thursday, October 31, 2019
    8:30 am
    Binsfield Office Building, Room 1200
    201 Townsend Street
    Lansing, MichiganYou are encouraged to bring copies of your testimony for the committee members and staff. Please note that a photo ID is required to enter the building, and you will be required to sign in before the hearing (cards are provided in the meeting room) if you wish to speak.


  • Provide comments to the committee. Committee contact information is as follows:Committee clerk (It is recommended you submit your comments to the clerk as well as the committee members to ensure it is part of the record):  OfcSCC@senate.michigan.govPut “Attention: Senate Agriculture Committee” in the subject line. 

Senator Kevin Daley, Chair –

Senator Roger Victory, Majority Vice Chair –

Senator Jim Ananich, Minority Vice Chair –

Senator Dan Lauwers –

Senator Dayna Polehanki –

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 AKC GR at