FEDERAL REFERENCE MATERIALS                         Material on this page © The Animal Council - 2012-2016

Note:  This website originated in the fall of 2005 and has not previously included any of the material from past
USDA-APHIS issues arising
before then.  For a number of years, the Doris Day Animal League (later absorbed by the
Humane Society of the United States) made persistent efforts to force APHIS to re-write the definition of "retail pet
store" in the regulations for the Animal Welfare Act so that breeders of dogs, cats (and possibly other covered pets)
who sold only directly to pet buyers would be licensed and regulated -- at some threshold of activity.  

USDA persistently refused to oblige and eventually prevailed in federal court litigation, sustaining their original
interpretation that Congress intended AWA to cover only breeders selling at wholesale and/or
above some de
minimus threshold.  

Meanwhile, APHIS did adopt rules expressly stating that they would regulate "wholesale" breeders of hunting,
security and breeding dogs AND restrictions on the exemption for those breeders with "3 or fewer" breeding
females.   The former change was adopted March 13, 2003.  The latter change was first noticed in 2000 but not
adopted until 2004 when USDA was certain it would be able to maintain the retail breeder definition.  Its purpose was
to prevent wholesale breeders from combining "3 or fewer" breeding females of different individuals or on different
premises so as to utilize what had appeared to be a "loophole" in the regulations that had been silent on these
possibilities.  

With May 2012 publication of Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003 for a comment period, scheduled to close July 16, 2012,
historical documents on these issues have become relevant again.  We have been assembling these in the table
below with the current documents in the upper section and the historical documents, by descending date order in
the lower section.  
7/14/12 The comment period is being extended, comments received on/before August 15.  Federal
Register citation for Monday, July 16 will be added when available.  
9/10/13 APHIS announced in a conference call the
publication later this week of the final, modified rule and discussed the agency's basic approach and answered some
callers' questions.    
APHIS Fact Sheet 9/13      APHIS News Release 9/10/13      Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003, Final Rule
Note, this is not the official Federal Register publication, still pending. 9/18/13 Final Rule published, effective
11/18/13 (see table below for links).  

6/3/2016   Animal Care Information System  

9/7/2016  Animal Welfare Act, 7 USC Ch 54  Transportation, Sales, and Handling of Certain Animals  

2014 Farm Bill Joint Explanatory Statement of the Committee of Conference, Excerpts of Item 19, pages 1125-1127
New 9/10/16     Government Printing Office 575 page document combines 2014 Farm bill AND the Conference Report.  
The AWA amendments are at pages 348-349 and Conference Item 19 is at pages 561-563 of Report.
https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-113hrpt333/pdf/CRPT-113hrpt333.pdf

Integrated text, AWA, 2014 Farm Bill amendments.  

Return to Federal Issues Page                                                                           Table Updated 8/4/2016            
CURRENT DOCUMENTS
LINK
DATE POSTED, REVISED, NOTES
APHIS Docket No. APHIS–2014–0059, Proposed Rule: Thresholds for De
Minimis Activity and Exemptions From Licensing Under the Animal Welfare
Act
Information and Comment Submission  

APHIS Questions and Answers: Thresholds for De Minimis Activity and
Exemptions From Licensing under the Animal Welfare Act
PDF



PDF   
8/4/2016 Federal Register Vol 81, No
150, Thursday, August 4, 2016, page
51386  
APHIS Retail Pet Store Rule and Importation of Live Dogs Rule –Guidance  
for Breeders, Brokers and Importers
PDF   
9/29/2015     39 page reference
document answering basic questions,
i,e, this is agency "guidance" not subject
to rulemaking process.   
Petition for Rulemaking by HSUS, HSVMA, ASPCA "to request necessary
enhancements to existing regulatory restrictions on the inhumane
treatment of dogs living in dealer housing facilities."  
PDF
9/22/15    244 pages      
HISTORIC DOCUMENTS
LINKS
DATE POSTED, REVISED, NOTES
TAC's Comment Letter, July 16, 2012, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003
President's Individual Letter, July 16, 2012, Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003
PDF
PDF
7/28/12  5 pages
7/28/12 9 pages
Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003 comment period extended to August 16, 2012
LINK - APHIS PDF
Federal Register Link
7/14/12
7/17/12

Integrated Text: Docket No. APHIS–2011–0003, 9 CFR, Parts 1(Definitions
and Terms) and 2 (Regulations); plus Part 3 (Standards)
.docx
5/25/12, 149 pages
6/18/12 revision to page 11, add
formatting for renumbered exemption
(viii) to (vii)  
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, APHIS Strategic Plan, 2010-
2015           In addition, APHIS is responsible for ensuring the humane care
and handling of animals used in research, exhibited to the public, bred for
commercial sale, or transported in commerce.  The public has
demonstrated increasing levels of concern about the health status of dogs
sold by individuals over the Internet and by foreign dealers. The
questionable health status of these dogs erodes general public confidence
in this industry, hurting even reputable individuals selling dogs. More than
85 percent of the domestic licensed dealers that sell dogs are family
owned and operated in rural locales. APHIS inspection and enforcement
activities focusing on problematic dog dealers are key to keeping reputable
small family operations viable and thriving."  STRATEGIC GOAL 1,PAGE 2  
minor paragraph
From Strategic Report:  "1 Due to increased inspection and enforcement
efforts for problematic dog dealers, the agency will likely initially
experience lower compliance levels as new entities are inspected. The
2009 baseline has been revised from the earlier reported baseline in the
Agency’s FY 2012 Explanatory Notes."
APHIS DIRECT PDF  
5/29/12, 483 KB, 35 pages
APHIS Animal Care Program – Inspections of Problematic Dealers, Report
No: 33002–4–SF, Issued May 2010
APHIS DIRECT PDF
5/28/12, 4590 kb, 69 pages.  Referenced,
Docket, Vol. 77, No. 95, page 28801,
footnote 1
Docket No. APHIS-2009-0053 proposed rule to implement amendment to   
Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The Food, Conservation, and  Energy Act of 2008
added a new section to the AWA to restrict the  importation of certain live
dogs, under 6 mos for resale, exempting de minimus levels and state of
Hawaii unless exported for resale under 6 mos.  
7 USC Sec 2148

Final Rule, August 18, 2014  adds exceptions,  "Therefore, dogs imported
by a person who will use the dog as a
personal pet, for sport, for shows
or competitions, or for breeding or semen collection
are not subject to the
6-month age restriction or any other requirements of this rule. Additionally,
we do not consider dogs imported
for training as working dogs to be
imported for purposes of resale. Thus, the rule will not apply to puppies
imported by legitimate training organizations for the purpose of training the
dog to be a working dog. All dogs imported into the United States may,
however, be subject to other laws and regulations."  Further, "T
his rule
does not require that such dogs be kept for any specific length of time

before ownership or control may be transferred, including through sale.
APHIS understands that
dogs imported in good faith for personal use or
special training programs sometimes do not meet the needs for
which
they were imported and have to be placed elsewhere. We will still consider
the dogs to have been imported for personal use or training. However, we
expect such transfers of ownership or control, particularly relatively close to
the time of importation, will be infrequent. If we have reason to believe tha  
dogs were imported into the continental United States or Hawaii for resale
without import permits or without meeting other requirements of the
regulations, we may initiate an investigation to ascertain the purpose of the
importation and whether there may have been a violation of the regulations.
PDF    





PDF


PDF
2/10/13, Federal Register, Vol. 76, No.
170,Thursday, September 1, 2011:  
Proposed Rules
Comment period closed, 10/31/11


Federal Register, Vol. 79, No 159,
Monday, August 18, 2014, page 48653

APHIS Fact Sheet, November 2014
Questions and Answers: Importing Live
Dogs Into the United States
Docket No. APHIS-2011-0003, Final Rule, effective November 18, 2013
revises and narrows definition of retail pet store to license sellers/breeders
with 4/more (aggregate) females subject to policies.  
PDF        TEXT  
9/18/2013, Federal Register, Vol. 78,
No. 181. Wednesday, September 18,
2013  
Integrated Text: Docket No. APHIS–2011–0003 9 CFR, Parts 1(Definitions
and Terms) and 2 (Regulations); plus Part 3 (Standards), Compare
Proposed (grey shading) to Final Rule versions (double underscore
additions, yellow shaded provisions)
PDF    
9/10/13, 157 pages, reference document
for convenience
Regulatory Impact Analysis and Final Regulatory Flexibility:  Analysis Final
Rule APHIS-2011-0003
RIN 0579-AD57
Revision of the Definition of Retail Pet Store
PDF
10/23/13, 64 pages
Policy & Program Development
Policy Analysis & Development
Docket 97-018-01, Comments of Doris Day Animal League with AHA,
ASPCA, ALDF, Cent for Compass. Governance, DDAL, Fund for Animals,
HSUS, PAWS (WA)  5/27/97
PDF
5/26/12, 746 kb, 19 pages
TAC's Comment Letter, Docket No. 97-018-1: Request for Rejection of
Petition for Rulemaking by Doris Day Animal League
May 22, 1997  
PDF   
6/16/12, 105 kb, 10 pages
Converted from original Word 97 with
some unavoidable distortions.  
Note, 2003 DDAL v. Veneman eliminated
AWA Sec 2133 as basis for retail pet
store exemption.  (See case below)  
Docket 97-018-02, Comments of Doris Day Animal League with  ASPCA,
HSUS, Fund for Animals, PA Leg Animal Network, API, Cent for Compass
Governance, AHA, PETA, ALDF    8/24/98
PDF
5/26/12,  482 kb, 15 pages
Docket 97-018-02, Additional Comments (during extended comment
period), Doris Day Animal League, 9/17/98  
PDF
5/26/12, 69 kb, 2 pages
TAC's Comment Letter, Docket No. 97-018-2: U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s (USDA) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR)
under the Animal Welfare Act in response to the request for public
comment published in the Federal Register on June 24, 1998
September 22, 1998
PDF    
6/16/12, 118 kb, 9 pages
Converted from original Word 97
Note, 2003 DDAL v. Veneman eliminated
AWA Sec 2133 as basis for retail pet
store exemption.  (See case below)  
APHIS Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) consideration of
revising the definition of ‘‘retail pet store’’ so that it includes only
nonresidential, commercial retail stores, rather than any pet retailer.  
Solicited public comment on the maximum number of breeding female
dogs and/or cats that a person should be able to maintain on his or her
premises and be exempt from licensing.  "We believe that the total number
should fall between 3 and 60 breeding females.
The low end of this range
of numbers is based on our current regulations. The high end of this range
of numbers is based on our experience enforcing the AWA. Through that
experience, we have determined that the risk of noncompliance with the
regulations significantly increases if facilities care for more than 60
breeding female dogs and/or cats
."     6/28/1998
PDF
5/28/12, 17 kb
Federal Register, Vol. 63, No. 121


Note: original comment period closed
August 24, 1998.  
Docket No. 97-018-2 (ANPR) reopened and extended comment period for
ANPR for comments received on or before September 23, 1998.  
FEDERAL REGISTER
7/14/12    
Federal Register Vol 63, No 165
Wednesday, August 26, 1998
APHIS Response to DDAL Petition for Rulemaking based on ANPR,  "We
have
decided to retain our current definition of ‘‘retail pet store.’’ Based on
our experience enforcing the regulations
, we have determined that the
current definition is sufficient to ensure the humane handling, care, and
treatment of dogs and cats and is consistent with the congressional intent
of the Animal Welfare Act."    7 /12/1999
PDF
5/28/12   95 kb   
Federal Register, Vol. 64, No. 137
Federal Register, Docket No. 97–121–1 proposing to amend the
regulations to revise and clarify the exemptions from the licensing
requirements, the procedures for license applications and renewals, and
restrictions upon the acquisition of dogs and cats and other animals.  
Included  "The
intent of § 2.1(a)(3)(iii) of the regulations is to exempt these
de minimis operations
. However, some individuals have contended that
they are not required to have a license even when they keep more than three
breeding female dogs and/or cats on the same premises as long as no
single member of the household owns more than three. When several
members of the same household (or other persons acting in concert) are
each maintaining three female breeding dogs or cats on the same
premises, the activities are no longer de minimis.
To clarify the regulations,
we are proposing to amend § 2.1(a)(3)(i
ii) to exempt from licensing any
person who maintains a total of three or fewer breeding female dogs
and/or cats on his or her premises, if no more than three breeding female
dogs and/or cats are maintained on the premises, regardless of
ownership; and who sells only the offspring of these dogs and/or cats,
which were born and raised on his or her premises, for pets or exhibition,
and is not otherwise required to obtain a license."
8/4/2000

Note: these proposed changes were adopted in 2004.  
PDF    
5/28/12   131 kb
Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 151
Federal Register, Notice of reopening and extension of comment period for
Federal Register (65 FR 47908–47918, Docket No. 97–121–1
), proposal to
amend rules, revising and clarifying the exemptions from the licensing
requirements, the procedures for license applications and renewals, and
restrictions upon the acquisition of dogs and cats and other animals.  
10/19/2000
PDF   
5/28/12  243 kg   
Federal Register, Vol. 65, No. 203,
Federal Register Docket No. 99-087-1, Notice of Proposed Rule to
expressly wholesale dealers of dogs intended for hunting, breeding, or
security purposes consistent with our policy and would, therefore, clarify
licensing and inspection requirements for affected dealers of dogs.
December 4, 2000
FEDERAL REGISTER    
6/7/12
Federal Register Vol 65, Number 233
Pages 75635-75637
Federal Register, Extension of comment period for 60 days: "We invite you
to comment on Docket No. 99-087-1. We will consider all comments that
we receive by April 3, 2001."
January 2, 2001
FEDERAL REGISTER   
6/7/12
Federal Register, Final Rule: Licensing and Inspection Requirements for
Dealers of Dogs Intended for Hunting, Breeding, or Security Purposes
March 14, 2003  
FEDERAL REGISTER
6/7/12
DDAL v Veneman, for USDA, US District Court of Appeal for District of
Columbia,  Reversed Federal District Court decision that found USDA
regulation defining "retail pet store" invalid under AWA.  
Opinion January 14, 2003
PDF
5/28/12, 35 kb
315 F.3d 297, 354 U.S.App.D.C.
216 (D.C. Cir. 2003)
Federal Register, final adoption Docket No. 97–121–3, review of 2000
comments, no changes to proposed changes,
7/14/2004
Included:  
"The proposed changes to Sec.  2.1(a)(3)(iii) and 2.1(a)(3)(iv) are
designed
to close a loophole in the regulations
. Some individuals have contended
that they are not required to have a license even when they keep more than
three breeding female dogs and/or cats on the same premises as long as
no single member of the household owns more than three. However, when
several members of the same household (
or other  persons acting in
concert
) are maintaining breeding female dogs or cats  on the same
premises such that the number of breeding females in total  is more than
three, we believe that the activities are no longer de minimis and the
dealers need to be licensed."
PDF
FEDERAL REGISTER
5/28/12  229 kb
Federal Register, Vol. 69, No. 134
     
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