On Friday, December 1, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission) adopted the first round of rules to implement the 2023 changes to the state’s Dog or Cat Breeders Act. These changes were needed to quickly implement rules for additional breeders who are required to comply with the law by January 1, 2024.
SUMMARY OF 2023 CHANGES
In May, SB 876 was signed into law. The changes require anyone that both owns five or more intact females and is engaged in the business of breeding those dogs for sale to secure a state license. The new law also exempts those that breed primarily for conformation purposes.
In September, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) proposed new regulations for breeders that must be licensed, including:
- Adding a new $150 license fee for breeders newly subject to the licensing requirements because they possess five to 10 intact adult female animals and are in the business of breeding them for sale or exchange in return for consideration.
- Noting that breeders who possess five or more but fewer than 11 adult female animals are not required to hold a license before January 1, 2024.
- Permitting an applicant whose facility is found to not meet requirements during a prelicense inspection to, instead of reinspection, provide evidence in a manner prescribed by the department that deficiencies have been corrected and that the facility meets requirements.
- Allowing a licensee who has been provided recommendations by TDLR with a list corrective actions to implement alternative corrective actions to achieve compliance.
- Creating formal rules for the establishment and operation of the Licensed Breeders Advisory Committee.
- Allowing licensees to maintain a single record for all dogs kept in a group.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) expressed general support for these implementing rules in a comment submitted to TDLR in October. AKC also expressed concerns that the new definition of “Dog or cat breeder” may be interpreted to regulate anyone who owns five intact female dogs, breeds one dog, and sells as few as one puppy, in their lifetime; and requested that expected future rulemakings clarify who the Act will apply to.
The Licensed Breeder Advisory Committee, which makes rules recommendations to the Commission, is currently working to develop additional rule changes. Future proposed changes will be subject to a public comment period. AKC Government Relations (GR) will provide updates on the Licensed Breeder Advisory Committee’s work as developments warrant. For more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org.