A Texas Senate Committee has scheduled a public hearing on Tuesday, March 28 on Senate Bill 876 which will require anyone who owns 5 or more intact female dogs over 6 months of age to become a state licensed dog breeder – even if they never breed a litter or sell a single dog. This is an identical bill to HB 2238 that was heard just this past week. Please share this alert with all clubs in Texas and with all concerned dog owners.
The bill has been scheduled for a hearing for tomorrow Tuesday, March 28.
Proponents of this bill have indicated their belief that this will bring Texas in line with federal USDA regulations. However, this bill drastically expands state law and goes significantly beyond federal regulations, which apply to those with more than 4 breeding females and are selling dogs sight unseen. This bill will not improve the welfare of dogs and creates significant burdens on hobbyists who raise dogs in their homes. It will regulate many hobbyists as commercial entities simply for owning intact female dogs – regardless of whether they sell even one puppy. Scroll down for additional information on the bill and talking points.
How to Help:
- Testify in person at the hearing. The Senate Committee on Criminal Justice will meet on Tuesday at 8:30am in room E1.016 of the State Capitol. To testify, simply register to speak when you arrive for the hearing. It is vitally important hobbyists attend the committee in person to testify. If you are interested in testifying, contact AKC Central States Analyst Jacob Hupp at Jacob.Hupp@akc.org in advance with your name and the name of your club so testimony and talking points can be coordinated. You do not have to speak but in order to appear on the committee record in opposition but you will need to submit a written witness card to the clerk. Witness cards can be found upon entering the committee hearing and they will need to be handed to the committee clerk located near the front of the room.
- Contact the committee TODAY via phone and email. Texas residents should also contact the Committee and the bill sponsors throughout this week to express opposition to the bill as the committee will not be voting in Tuesday’s hearing. Let them know you are Texas resident that is opposed to Senate Bill 876. Be sure to share your experience and expertise with dogs and express how this legislation will negatively impact you and your dogs. If you are a constituent, be sure to mention that when contacting them:
Senate Criminal Justice Committee Chair and Bill Sponsor:
State Senator John Whitmire
Senate Criminal Justice Committee Vice Chair and Bill Sponsor:
State Senator Pete Flores
Senate Criminal Justice Committee additional members contact information:
State Senator Paul Bettencourt
State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa
State Senator Joan Huffman
State Senator Phil King
State Senator Borris L. Miles
Currently, a dog breeder in Texas is required to obtain a state license if they own 11 or more intact females and sell 20 or more dogs in a license year. Senate Bill 876 , House Bill 2238, and House Bill 274, are identical bills that will lower the licensing threshold in Texas to 5 intact females over 6 months of age, and will remove the requirement that a breeder must sell 20 dogs before a license is required.
Existing law presumes that intact adult females are kept for breeding, and it would be incumbent on the dog owner to prove that the dogs are not being kept for breeding purposes.
The AKC believes that commercial breeder regulation should be based on a commercial activity requirement; and the elimination of this commercial activity requirement would create a policy whereby many home-based hobbyists’ mere ownership of dogs would require them to be regulated as commercial entities.
It is also important to note that in June 2020, staff of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission recommended that the Dog and Cat Breeder Act should be eliminated due to fundamental flaws with the law that created it, the program’s ineffectiveness, and significant operational costs. Ultimately, the Dog and Cat Breeder Act did not sunset because former State Senator Eddie Lucio moved to “sever” the Commission Staff’s recommendation.
The staff’s findings indicated that the Dog and Cat Breeders Act provides significant statutory exemptions and unenforceable requirements that undermine both the program’s goals and Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation efforts. Moreover, program revenues have been found to fall far short of funding the administration of the licensed breeder program; yet despite these disproportionately high administrative costs, the Commission found that Texans still primarily rely on other laws that predate the program.
AKC Government Relations will provide more information on these bills as it is available. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.