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Today, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) issued its 2020 Impact Report.

While acknowledging the challenges provided by COVID-19 on agency operations, APHIS Administrator Kevin Shea described 2020 as the agency’s most productive year.  Accordingly, APHIS contacted 100 percent of the facilities regulated under the Animal Welfare Act, including facilities maintained by regulated breeders, to review records, monitor compliance, and offer remote support.  This involved over 18,000 phone calls and emails between the months of March and August alone.  Additionally, the agency distributed more than 1.1 million oral vaccine baits in Texas to prevent canine rabies from reemerging along the U.S./ Mexican border.

Other 2020 highlights cited by APHIS include:

  • Issued a final rule to amend AWA licensing requirements for all regulated animals, and to strengthen veterinary care and watering standards for dogs.  Additionally, APHIS also launched a new website with tech notes, training videos, and other resources to help those engaged in AWA-regulated activities understand and carry out the new licensing requirements and standards.
  • Conducted 5,620 AWA site inspections.
  • Found 97% of AWA licensees and registrants in substantial compliance; and launched 30 new cases for alleged AWA violations that resulted in the assessment of over $624,000 in penalties from four settlements and 24 administrative orders.
  • Issued 2,667 permits covering 9,941 dogs entering the United States.

The full APHIS 2020 Impact Report is available at

The American Kennel Club AKC supports enforcement of the federal Animal Welfare Act.

AKC federal legislative priorities for 2021 include increased funding for AWA enforcement and inspections to help protect and assure the wellbeing of dogs in licensed facilities and to improve confidence in regulated, professional breeders and kennels that can help meet the demand for high-quality U.S.-sourced pets.

Did you know?  AKC’s Regulatory Resource Center provides information and updates on federal and state regulations impacting dogs.  Go to to learn more.