This week, animal rights/ “protection” groups are actively lobbying Congress to restrict and limit the activities of dog breeders. They are making unsupported claims that there are “tens of thousands of puppy mills” in the United States, and asking members of Congress to advance arbitrary, one-size-fits-all mandates that could require small hobby breeders to place their dogs in industrial, commercial-style kennels and undermine quality breed-based care. Though labeled as commercial breeding regulations, the one-size-fits-all requirements also apply to some small hobby breeders.
Your action is urgently needed to stop the animal-rights supported Puppy Protection Act (H.R. 1624) and Goldies Act (H.R. 1788).
Scroll down for talking points and more information on how to contact your lawmakers.
The Puppy Protection Act (H.R. 1624) Establishes Government Mandates That:
Prohibit the breeding of a female dog:
- Unless pre-screened by a veterinarian. No specific details are provided on what the screening would involve or who would make these decisions.
- Based arbitrarily on the age and size of the dog.
- If it would produce more than two litters in an 18-month period.
Additional arbitrary requirements include but are not limited to:
- Mandates “unfettered access” from dogs’ primary enclosures to an outdoor exercise area large enough that it “allows dogs to extend to full stride”. This would create a potentially dangerous environment for multiple dogs that do not get along, accidental breedings, other poor animal management practices, etc.
- Mandated annual dental exams.
- Mandated indoor space sufficient to allow the tallest dog in an enclosure to stand on his or her hind legs without touching the roof of the enclosure. For family dogs that live in their owner’s homes, a primary enclosure may be considered the dog’s sleeping crate.
- Prohibition on the keeping of dogs in enclosures above 85 degrees or below 45 degrees F, regardless of breed or acclimation needs for dogs that hunt, sled, detect explosives, or do other work and thrive in cooler temperatures, or that must be acclimated to cooler or warmer temperatures for their safety.
- Completely solid flooring, despite scientific recognition that multiple types of high-quality flooring, including engineered slatted flooring, is beneficial in certain types of kennels and with certain breeds.
Why This is a Problem
While some portions of the measures include reasonable generalized guidelines for canine care, arbitrary requirements that ignore best practices for individual outcomes are not appropriate for federal mandates. One-size-fits-all requirements do not take into account the broad range of breeds and types of dogs, or best health and breeding practices. They also do not allow for creative approaches that permit expert breeders and owners to provide optimal care for their individual dogs and advance the art and science of responsible dog breeding. Arbitrary restrictions can be expensive and undermine small hobby breeding programs because of an overly-broad definition of “breeding female” that impacts who is subject to federal requirements.
To learn more, see and share:
Proposal Would Undermine Animal Welfare, DC Journal, April 20, 2023
Goldie’s Act (HR 1788) Establishes Government Mandates that:
- Redefine AWA violations and undermine priority for the care and wellbeing of animals by removing a distinction between care and welfare (direct) violations and paperwork/ non-welfare related (indirect) violations. While zero violations of any rules or laws should be the goal, the care and wellbeing of animals must always be a priority. Reporting paperwork errors in the same manner as care violations also creates a misleading perception about breeder licensees and creates a new target for animal extremists who use those public databases to identify breeders.
- Require inspectors to destroy or remove an animal if they believe it is in “psychological harm”. The bill does not determine how “psychological harm would be determined or by whom. This creates an environment for abuse and unnecessary euthanasia of animals.
- State the intent to expand enforcement of federal breeder licensing requirements, but in fact throw out recent enforcement enhancements currently in the middle of a 3-year implementation process. Instead of improving enforcement of the AWA, it creates confusing and onerous new mandates, and undermines recently established enforcement efforts. Constantly changing arbitrary rules create a confusing, expensive, and potentially harmful environment for animal care in which neither licensees nor regulators may be certain of requirements.
Who This Applies To
Anyone subject to USDA breeder/dealer licensing. Breeders are subject to USDA licensing if they maintain more than 4 “breeding females” (a term that is undefined but is generally considered to mean an intact female) and transfer even one of the offspring “sight unseen”. “Breeding females” include any combination of cats, dogs, or other small pet mammals such as hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. (Learn more).
PLEASE ACT TODAY!
Your member of Congress needs to hear from you. Please call, email, or write to your member of Congress today. Visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find out who represents you and get their contact information.
- Ask them to oppose the Puppy Protection Act (H.R. 1624) and Goldies Act (H.R. 1788) because their one-size-fits-all mandates undermine animal wellbeing and enforcement of the Animal Welfare Act. These bills are “feel good” proposals developed without the experience and scientific expertise of breeder experts. The one-size-fits-all requirements fail to recognize the diversity of licensees and the types or breeds of dogs impacted and could harm to some dogs.
- Explain you are a constituent. Respectfully share your experience and concerns as a dog owner/breeder/expert and based on the talking points above. Breeders: Relying on your experience, explain in practical terms how the new mandates could adversely impact your breeding program.
- Ask them to not support advancing the Puppy Protection Act or Goldie’s Act out committee or in the Farm Bill. Tell them, despite claims being made by AR groups, these bills do impact responsible small breeders.
- Ask them to instead support additional financial resources for USDA so they can appropriately enforce the requirements they already have.
- If you can, let the AKC GR team (email@example.com) know you contacted your lawmakers and if you received any response.
Thank you for your action to protect the future of our breeds and the integrity of responsible, expert breeders. Your voice does make a difference!