Today, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission accepted the modification of State Senator Lucio to “sever” the Commission Staff’s recommendation that the Licensed Breeders Program be eliminated. The modification was then adopted as part of the entire package of changes to programs administered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. In effect, the Licensed Breeder Program remains.
Meanwhile, new legislation has also been filed that seeks to expand the scope of the Licensed Breeder Program. SB 323 seeks to amend the definition of “Dog or cat breeder” under the state’s Dog or Cat Breeders Act by:
- Reducing the threshold that qualifies a breeder to be regulated. Currently, a breeder must possess 11 or more adult intact female dogs or cats (in addition to other qualifications) to be subject to state regulation. SB 323 seeks to reduce that threshold to five or more adult intact females. The American Kennel Club (AKC) believes that this would make many more of AKC’s hobby breeders subject to state regulation.
- Eliminating the sales requirement that qualifies a breeder to be regulated. In addition to the current possession requirement mentioned above, a breeder must also sell 20 dogs or cats in a calendar year to be regulated. SB 323 would eliminate the sales requirement. The AKC believes that commercial breeder regulation should always be based, in part, on a commercial activity requirement; and the elimination of this commercial activity requirement would create a policy whereby many more home-based hobbyists’ mere ownership of dogs would require them be regulated as commercial entities.
SB 323 would also allow breeders who would have to be newly-regulated under the lowered numerical threshold until January 1, 2022, to become licensed. It also requires the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation to review the fee amounts it currently sets for licensees and increase the amounts to cover the costs of administering the Licensed Breeders Program.
Should SB 323 gain any traction in the legislature, it will be vitally important that AKC-affiliated clubs, hobby breeders, and fanciers express and urge strong opposition to the bill.
AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) continues to work with our Texas federation, the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance, and key stakeholders in addressing these developments. AKC GR will continue to host webinars to keep AKC-affiliated club officers and members and other allied organizations up-to-date on developments and to coordinate advocacy efforts. The next webinar will be held in the coming weeks, and invitations will be distributed soon.
For more information or to be included in the invitation list, contact AKC Government Relations at email@example.com.