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AKC Government Relations learned this afternoon that two bills that would require licensure and regulation of dog breeders are on the agenda for the Tennessee House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee tomorrow, February 21, 2018, at 10:30 a.m.  Dog and cat breeders are encouraged to immediately contact committee members to express their concerns.  Send emails and leave polite voice mail messages this evening, 2/20/18, and early in the morning on 2/21/18. Please scroll down for contact information.

House Bill 1713 would require licensing, fees, regulation, and inspections for all persons who sell 25 or more dogs or cats in a year.  For owners of breeds that produce large litters, the sale of puppies from just two litters in any year could require licensing as a “dog and cat dealer”.  Please note that all sales of dogs and cats in a single year would be counted, including animals bred by the seller; adult dogs and cats; and a show or working prospect that was later placed as a pet.  For breeders who also participate in rescue, dogs for which a rehoming fee was received could potentially be counted.

Under current law, the existing definition of “dealer” applies only to persons who sell dogs and cats at flea markets, who buy and sell dogs and cats for purposes of resale, or who sell animals for research purposes.  HB 1713 would greatly expand that definition to include all persons who sell 25 or more dogs or cats a year directly to individuals.

The existing Tennessee state rules for “dog and cat dealers” could be problematic for small-scale and hobby breeders who do not maintain their animals in commercial facilities. Under Tennessee Department of Agriculture rules, a “dealer” must allow inspections by the state, submit records annually, and comply with federal USDA/APHIS commercial dog breeder regulations.  Further, designation as a “dealer” and a “business” could result in zoning compliance issues for home-based breeders.

House Bill 265 seeks to require regulation, inspections, and payment of unspecified fees for owners of 10 or more intact female dogs six months or older that are kept “for the purpose of breeding and selling their offspring as household pets”. Under this bill, a person who owns 10 intact females and who sells a single puppy could be regulated as a commercial dog breeder.

To register as a commercial dog breeder, a person would be required to either provide their federal Class A or Class B animal dealer’s license number issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or a letter of determination from that department stating that the applicant is not required to hold a license.  However, it should be noted that USDA does not issue such letters of determination. The registrant would also be required to comply with all rules that were promulgated by the Tennessee Commissioner of Commerce and Insurance



Immediately contact members of the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee and politely ask them to VOTE NO on House Bill 265 and House Bill 1713.


Members of the Tennessee House Agriculture and Natural Resources Subcommittee:

Rep. Ron Lollar, Chair, (615) 741-7084,

Rep. Curtis Halford, (615) 741-7478,

Rep. Andy Holt, (615) 741-7847,

Rep. Bo Mitchell, (615) 741-4317,

Rep. Jay Reedy, (615) 741-7098,

Rep. Johnny Shaw, (615) 741-4538,

Rep. Rick Tillis, (615) 741-4170,


Click here for additional subcommittee contact information, or go to

For more information, please contact AKC Government Relations at or 919-816-3645.