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June 2012
USDA Proposed Rule To Redefine "Retail Pet Stores" Would Create Harsh Consequences for Small Breeders: Act Today
In response to a number of recent complaints about substandard and/or unscrupulous Internet pet sellers, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which administers the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA), has proposed a regulatory change (or "rule") to redefine the term "retail pet store."

Under current law, the AWA exempts from federal oversight "retail pet stores" which sell puppies directly to a final customer for use as pets. It is this rule which exempts most non-commercial, small, or hobby breeders from being licensed and regulated by the USDA. In this context, the term "retail pet store" includes hobby breeders who raise pets in home settings and occasionally sell a pet to a carefully screened new owner.

The proposed rule would rescind the exempt "retail pet store" status of anyone who sells a pet to a buyer who does not physically enter a place of business or residence in order to personally observe the animals available for sale. It would further require that any dog owner/breeder who maintains more than four "breeding females" (the term is not defined in the regulations or the AWA) and sells even one puppy sight unseen to be licensed, inspected and regulated according to USDA commercial breeder/dealer standards.

Read more.
It's a Government Plott! AKC Hosts Canines at the Capitol
A world champion Plott (the state dog of North Carolina), nine other dogs, and AKC staff met with legislators and state employees at Canines at the Capitol on May 31 at the North Carolina Legislative Complex in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Freddie (CH CWSG CSG County Line Krueger), a black brindle Plott and breeder/owner Christina Officer of Kentucky posed for photos while the other dogs provided "dog therapy" to state workers and visitors.

The Canines at the Capitol event was hosted by the AKC Government Relations team to educate lawmakers and the public about the AKC's availability as a local resource for dog expertise and to promote the value of responsible AKC dog owners and breeders.

Read more.

AKC Announces Second Quarter Community Achievement Award Honorees
The American Kennel Club announced recently that Rosemary Redditt of the Aztec Doberman Pinscher Club of San Diego (California) and Bob Eisele of the Suffolk County Kennel Club (New York) have been honored with AKC Community Achievement Awards for the second quarter of 2012.

The AKC Community Achievement Awards support and recognize outstanding public education and legislation efforts of AKC-affiliated clubs, AKC-recognized federations and their members. The AKC selects award recipients who promote purebred dogs and responsible dog ownership within their communities or who have successfully introduced, monitored and responded to legislative issues affecting dog ownership.

Read more.
AKC-CAR Awards $258,000 in Grants to K-9 Search and Rescue Teams
The AKC Companion Animal Recovery (AKC CAR) Canine Support and Relief Fund recently awarded more than 100 grants in 40 states to assist K-9 Search and Rescue (SAR) teams. Created in 2002, the fund supports volunteer SAR organizations and provides disaster relief resources for pets during hurricanes, tornados, floods and wildfires. The fund has donated more than $3 million to SAR teams and to organizations supporting companion animal relief during natural disasters.

Read more.
In the GR Toolbox:
New Flyers and Sample Letters

AKC GR is pleased to announce that two new educational flyers are available in the online AKC Government Relations Toolbox:

AKC’s Care and Conditions of Dogs Policy
Safe Housing for Dogs (two pages)

These flyers feature the AKC’s guidelines for dog care and the commitment to ensuring that all dogs are cared for in a humane way.

Numerical dog ownership limits for breeders continue to be a prominent issue in canine legislation. To assist you in communicating on this issue, AKC GR has created sample letters that you can personalize. For your convenience, these letters are available in Word, PDF, and text formats.

Be sure to visit the AKC GR Toolbox often for the latest materials you can download and print for legislative battles, community and dog-related events, and club meetings to help educate others about the importance of preserving and protecting the rights of dog owners and breeders.
Legislative Successes
The AKC Government Relations Department is pleased to partner with state federations, dog clubs and concerned owners to protect the rights of dog owners. The tireless response of responsible breeders, owners and fanciers across the country truly makes a difference!  Visit the 2012 Legislative Successes page to view some recent results of their good work.
From our Nation's Capitol
The AKC Government Relations team continues to monitor Congress for issues of interest to dog owners. Visit our 2012 Legislative Tracking page and click on “US Fed” on the map to get the latest updates on federal bills currently being monitored by the AKC.

Here are some highlights of measures we are currently tracking on the federal level.
News from the State Capitols
Ten state legislatures and the District of Columbia are in regular session. AKC GR is currently tracking more than 1,400 state bills. For the latest information on state and federal bills being tracked by AKC GR, visit the 2012 Legislation Tracking page. This page, updated each weekday, provides the latest bill text, status, and legislative alerts posted by the AKC.

For more information on any of the measures mentioned, contact us at (919) 816-3720 or

Here are some highlights of the state bills AKC GR is currently tracking.
Local Issues
The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) assists dog owners with canine legislation issues in their local communities, but we can’t help unless we are aware of the proposal! If you hear of an issue in your city or county, please contact us at (919) 816-3720 or We will be happy to provide you with the resources, tools and support you need to help support and defend responsible dog ownership in your community.

Here are some examples of the local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR.
The last few weeks have been extraordinarily busy. Summer holidays are around the corner and many legislators are eager to finish up legislative work so they can return to their districts to campaign for the fall elections. Already, 40 state legislatures have adjourned for the year, meaning that we can celebrate a number of of legislative successes.

Activity has picked up significantly at the federal level. The federal agricultural authorization bill (the “farm bill”) which reauthorizes funding for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and agricultural programs – including the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) – has passed the Senate. A House version has not yet been introduced.

Historically, significant changes to AWA dog policy have been legislated as part of the farm bill. The last two farm bills contained such changes, and there could be an attempt to attach PUPS legislation as an amendment to this year’s bill.

In a non-legislative vein, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the USDA has proposed a regulatory change to the AWA. The proposed rule would require any person who maintains more than four “breeding females” (not defined in the regulation) to ensure that every pet buyer will enter their facilities to personally observe the animal prior to or at the time of sale. If even one dog is sold without having been viewed by the purchaser at the seller’s premises, the seller would be subject to licensing, inspection and regulation as a USDA commercial breeding kennel.

The AKC is extremely concerned that the unintended consequences of this proposed rule would create unreasonable hardships on small breeders. If implemented, it would threaten the future of a vast number of small responsible dog breeders, as well as the very existence of some rare breeds in the United States.

The AKC is responding with a multi-pronged approach. The AKC will submit comments regarding its many concerns. We are also providing informational alerts and analysis on our Government Relations online USDA/APHIS regulations resource page and are strongly urging all concerned dog owners and breeders to share relevant experience, insights and concerns as well. The public may comment on the proposed change until July 16.

We encourage you to sign AKC’s petition: Join With the AKC to Protect Responsible Small Breeders.This petition will be submitted along with AKC’s official comments and adds the weight of your voice to our shared concerns.

As always, this issue of Taking Command is packed with information to assist you – whether about new policy initiatives, the latest updates from around the country, or tools and ideas to help you advocate for your dogs and your rights.

All the best,

Sheila Goffe
Director, AKC Government Relations
Contact Us
Phone: (919) 816-3720
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2012 Legislation Tracking
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