House Bill 2238 will require anyone who owns 5 or more intact female dogs over 6 months of age to become a state licensed dog breeder – even if they never breed a litter or sell a single dog.
The bill has been scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday, March 22.
Sponsors have indicated their belief that this will bring Texas in line with federal USDA regulations. However, this bill drastically expands state law and goes significantly beyond federal regulations, which apply to those with more than 4 breeding females and are selling dogs sight unseen. This bill will not do anything to improve the welfare of dogs and create significant burdens on hobbyists who raise dogs in their homes. Scroll down for additional information on the bill and talking points.
How to Help:
- Testify in person at the hearing. The House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee will meet on Wednesday, March 22 at 8:00am in room E2.010 of the State Capitol. To testify, simply register to speak when you arrive for the hearing. Follow this link for more information on Capitol access and committee testimony.
- Contact the committee TODAY. Texas residents should contact the Committee and the bill sponsor by Tuesday, March 21 to express opposition to the bill. Let them know you are Texas resident that is opposed to House Bill 2238. Be sure to share your experience and expertise with dogs and express how this legislation will negatively impact you and your dogs. Public comments can be submitted directly into the committee record here.
Please also use the action link provided to reach out to the committee individually and also consider calling the sponsor and members prior to Wednesday’s hearing:
Bill Sponsor contact information:
State Representative Brad Buckley
House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee members contact information:
Chair Ken King
Vice Chair Armando Walle
State Rep Craig Goldman
State Rep Sam Harless
State Rep Jared Patterson
State Rep Matt Schaefer
State Rep Matt Shaheen
State Rep Ana Hernandez
State Rep Abel Herrero
State Rep Tracy King
State Rep Senfronia Thompson
Currently, a dog breeder in Texas is required to obtain a state license if they own 11 or more intact females and sell 20 or more dogs in a license year. House Bill 2238, House Bill 274, and Senate Bill 876 are identical bills that will lower the licensing threshold in Texas to 5 intact females over 6 months of age, and will remove the requirement that a breeder must sell 20 dogs before a license is required.
Existing law presumes that intact adult females are kept for breeding, and it would be incumbent on the dog owner to prove that the dogs are not being kept for breeding purposes.
The AKC believes that commercial breeder regulation should be based on a commercial activity requirement; and the elimination of this commercial activity requirement would create a policy whereby many home-based hobbyists’ mere ownership of dogs would require them be regulated as commercial entities.
Changing the licensing thresholds will force those who meet the new definition to:
- Open their private homes or facilities to inspections following an application and at least once every 18 months thereafter
- Pay at least a $300 permit fee for every license year
- Meet ambiguous housing standards for the dogs in their care
- Submit to a criminal background check when applying for licensure
- Submit a yearly report and yearly application for licensure accounting for all animals held at a facility
It is also important to note that in June 2020, staff of the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission recommended that the Dog and Cat Breeder Act should be eliminated due to fundamental flaws with the law that created it, the program’s ineffectiveness, and significant operational costs. Ultimately, the Dog and Cat Breeder Act did not sunset because former State Senator Eddie Lucio moved to “sever” the Commission Staff’s recommendation.
The staff’s findings indicated that the Dog and Cat Breeders Act provides significant statutory exemptions and unenforceable requirements that undermine both the program’s goals and Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation efforts. Moreover, program revenues have been found to fall far short of funding the administration of the licensed breeder program; yet despite these disproportionately high administrative costs, the Commission found that Texans still primarily rely on other laws that predate the program.
AKC Government Relations will provide more information on these bills as it is available. For questions or more information, contact AKC GR at firstname.lastname@example.org