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Legislative Action Center

Texas Heads-Up: State Breeder Licensing Targeted for Elimination, Expect Opposition
June 11, 2020 by AKC Government Relations

In 2011, the Texas Legislature passed and then-Governor Perry signed into law the Dog and Cat Breeders Act.  The law’s aim is to regulate those who (1) possesses 11 or more adult intact female animals and (2) who are engaged in the business of breeding those animals for direct or indirect sale or for exchange in return for consideration and (3) who sell or exchange, or offer to sell or exchange, not fewer than 20 animals in a calendar year.  The law was designed to be enforced by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), which created the Licensed Breeders Program to carry out the Act.

TDLR’s programs and practices were recently reviewed as part of its most recent “sunset process”.  The state’s Sunset Advisory Commission regularly evaluates state agencies and programs to see if they are still relevant.  If the answer is yes, the Commission recommends improvements to make them more effective and efficient.  However, if the answer is no, it recommends that the Texas Legislature abolish the agency or the program, or transfer its functions to another agency with related functions.

The Sunset Advisory Commission’s June 2020 Staff Report has recommended that the Licensed Breeders Program, along with fourteen other TDLR occupational licensing programs, is not necessary to protect the public.  In its findings, it implies that the law as enacted is fundamentally flawed, as it provides significant statutory exemptions and unenforceable requirements that undermine both the program’s goals and the agency’s efforts.  Moreover, program revenues have been found to not cover administration of the Licensed Breeder Program; yet despite these disproportionately high administrative costs, the Commission found that Texans still primarily rely on protections that predate the program.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) supports reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of dogs and do not restrict the rights of breeders and owners who meet their responsibilities. The AKC expects responsible dog owners and breeders to know, understand, and obey laws that apply to them.

AKC’s Government Relations Department (GR) encourages all Texas breeders, fanciers, and enthusiasts to review the Commission’s analysis and recommendation, specifically pages 23-25 of the report, which reports that the Licensed Breeders Program has been ineffective, inefficient, and costly to operate.  AKC GR expects anti-breeder activist groups to respond to the Commission’s recommendation by lobbying the legislature to keep the Licensed Breeders Program in place or to replace it with a more far-reaching program.  AKC GR encourages all Texas breeders, owners, fanciers, and enthusiasts, to reach out to their Texas State Senators and Representatives to introduce themselves, explain the value of responsible dog breeders, and express their concerns about the continuation of the current Licensed Breeders Program.

Click here for our Sample Constituent Introduction Letter that may be used as a model to write your own personalized introduction.

Click here to read our Communicating Effectively with Your Legislators flyer, which includes tips on how to be a more persuasive communicator.

Click here to read our Issue Analysis: The Value of Responsible Dog Breeders, which may also be shared with legislators.

You can learn who your Texas elected officials are both on AKC’s Legislation Action Center and on the Texas Legislature’s website.

Keep in mind, state legislature elections are scheduled for November 2020.  To learn more about Texas’ 2020 State Senate elections, go to https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_State_Senate_elections,_2020.   To learn more about Texas’s 2020 State House of Representatives elections, go to https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_House_of_Representatives_elections,_2020.  The Texas Legislature is next scheduled to convene in January 2021.

For more information, contact AKC GR at doglaw@akc.org; or contact the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance at rpoa@texas.net.

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