The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is reopening the comment period for proposed updates to the Animal Welfare Act licensing requirements, to allow the public an additional 15 days to prepare and submit comments.    

On March 21, APHIS announced the proposed amendments to the licensing requirements, which would eliminate automatic license renewals and strengthen existing regulations to prevent individuals and businesses whose licenses were suspended or revoked from working for regulated entities. The proposal also offers changes to streamline the licensing process by reducing licensing fees and simplifying the payment and collection process. Finally, it includes additional updates to the regulations for dogs – requiring any licensee with dogs to maintain a written program for veterinary care and medical records and to make those records available to USDA upon request, and requiring that dogs have continual access to potable water unless restricted by an attending veterinarian.  

USDA encourages members of the public and the regulated community to provide feedback on these proposed changes. The reopened comment period ends June 5. The docket is available to review and comment at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=APHIS-2017-0062-47066. Comments may also be submitted in writing to Docket No. APHIS-2017-0062, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.