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On September 18, 2013, U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA/APHIS) published new federal regulations that narrow the“retail pet store” exemption which has historically exempted many small/hobby breeders from regulation under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA).  

The purpose is to bring internet-based pet breeders and sellers under the regulation of the AWA. However, the broadly-based regulation will also expand USDA oversight of pet breeders to also include people who maintain at least five “breeding females” of any species AND sell one pet “sight unseen.” There appear to be a number of possible exemptions available for a variety of circumstances. The AKC is currently working with USDA/APHIS to obtain more information and clarification on these and other issues, which we will share with you. 

This is a regulatory, not legislative, change. The new regulations will go into effect on November 18, 2013.There was no vote in Congress and AKC has to work within the confines of an administrative – rather than legislative – process. Since the rule was first proposed in May 2012, the AKC has worked to educate USDA/APHIS about responsible breeders and dog owners and the potential impact of this rule change. Unfortunately many of our most important concerns were not addressed. 

We strongly encourage you to review the resources below, including the frequently asked questions, to further understand the new rule, and to keep checking back, as we will continue to update this page as information becomes available. 

Source: American Kennel Club. (2014). Retrieved from https://www.akc.org/governmentrelations/usda_aphis.cfm 
USDA/APHIS Regulations