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Tony Arduino
/ Categories: SpinoneNews, Club Business


Submitted by Karen Luckey SCOA Delegate


Members:  two bills currently in Congress have the potential to impact us directly as dog owners. One of the bills: HR-5261, is asking for Xylitol or birch sugar products to include warning labels about toxicity to dogs.  Many people are unaware – even a simple dropped sweet or treat of peanut butter could lead to harm and a big vet bill.  Xylitol is used as a low-calorie/alternative sweetener in many products.


You can read about what the bill is trying to accomplish and about the potential harm of xylitol below. Please support this bill.

At the same time another bill in the House and the Senate; H.R. 2840/S. 1385 has the potential to impact breeders that have more than four “breeding females” making them subject to USDA breeder/dealer licensing.

If you read through you will find that there are items outlined in the bill that are generally good practices, much of it would be what we would advocate and that any good breeder (or currently regulated breeder would do or is doing now).

The problem likes with one-size-fits-all mandates that may be inappropriate and even harmful for some breeds. Please read the details below to better understand this bill and to understand why AKC Government relations is not supporting this one.

If you can take action and contact your legislator(s).  The easiest way is to click on the links and get directed to your legislator.

THE XYLITOL WARNING LABEL BILL  Scroll down for information and resources on how to take action.

AKC thanks Congressman David Schweikert for introducing H.R. 5261 to require that food product containing xylitol or “birch sugar” be labeled to warn of the sweetener’s toxic effects on dogs. 

AKC urges responsible dog owners to contact their members of Congress and ask them to support this positive bill. 


HR 5261, called the “Paws Off Act”, amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem foods containing xylitol as misbranded unless the label or labeling of such foods contains a warning specifying the toxic effects of xylitol on dogs if ingested.  Xylitol (or “birch sugar”) is a chemical compound most commonly used as a sugar substitute in chewing gum, dental products, peanut butter, baked goods, and other human food. 

Xylitol is harmful to dogs because, unlike humans, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and may result in a sudden release of insulin from the pancreas. The rapid release of insulin into a dog’s bloodstream may cause hypoglycemia.  In dogs, this may occur within 10 – 60 minutes of ingestion of xylitol and if untreated, can quickly be life-threatening.

For more information, view the U.S. Food & Drug Administration resources about Xylitol.  

What You Can Do:

Please contact your member of CongressAsk them to support or consider co-sponsoring HR 5261, the “Paws Off Act”, to require that food product in the U.S. containing xylitol include a warning label about the toxic and potentially deadly effects of xylitol on dogs.   

Visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find out who represents you and get their contact information, or you can visit our campaign page.

Thank you for your actions to protect the safety of U.S. household pets. 
For questions or more information, contact [email protected], visit or contact 919-816-3720. 

Ask Your Congressional Representative to Support HR 5261 Now!

A set of arbitrary and harmful federal breeder bills, H.R. 2840 /S. 1385 that would mandate new requirements for certain hobbies and professional dog breeders are continuing to gain support in Congress.  We urge all responsible dog owners, breeders, and enthusiasts to contact their lawmakers about the harmful consequences of the bills.

While certain aspects of this feel-good measure, called the ‘Puppy Protection Act’, codify general good practices, other parts establish arbitrarily, one-size-fits-all mandates that are not in the best interests of all dogs and undermine individual flexibility that allows for best practices and optimal outcomes.                 

In recent months, animal rights or “protection” groups have been pressuring members of Congress to sign onto the bills. More than 180 lawmakers have signed onto the bills as co-sponsors, increasing the likelihood that the measures could advance rapidly in year-end legislative negotiations. 

We urge all responsible dog owners, breeders, and enthusiasts to take a moment to contact your members of Congress to ask them not to support this ‘feel-good’ measure and one-size-fits-all mandates that can harm responsible breeders and specialized breeding practices.  A better approach is to provide resources to help USDA enforce existing pet breeder requirements.  

Scroll down to learn more about these bills, view a sample letter, and get information on how to contact your members of Congress.   

Arbitrary requirements include but are not limited to:

  • Mandated indoor space is sufficient to allow the tallest dog in an enclosure to stand on his or her hind legs without touching the roof of the enclosure.
  • Mandated unfettered access from dogs’ primary enclosures to an outdoor exercise area large enough that it “allows dogs to extend to full stride”. This creates a potentially dangerous environment for dogs.
  • Mandated annual dental exams.
  • Completely solid flooring, despite scientific recognition that multiple types of high-quality flooring, including engineered slatted flooring, is beneficial in certain kennel types. 
  • Mandated pre-breeding screenings. No specific details are provided for what the screening would involve or who would make such decisions. 
  • Prohibition on the keeping of dogs in enclosures above 85 degrees or below 45 degrees F, regardless of breed or acclimation needs for dogs that hunt, sled, detect explosives, or do other work and thrive in cooler temperatures, or must be acclimated to cooler or warmer temperatures for their safety. 

Further, it prohibits the breeding of a female dog: 

  • Unless pre-screened by a veterinarian
  • If it would produce more than two litters in an 18-month period. 
  • Based arbitrarily on the age and size of the dog.

While some portions of the measures include reasonable generalized guidelines for canine care, arbitrary requirements that ignore best practices for individual outcomes are not appropriate for federal mandates. Arbitrary, one-size-fits-all requirements do not take into account the broad range of breeds and types of dogs or best health and breeding practices. They also do not allow for creative approaches that allow expert breeders and owners to provide optimal care for their individual dogs and advance the art and science of responsible dog breeding.  

To learn more, see and share Breeder Expertise, Thoughtful Analysis Demonstrate Dangerous Flaws in ‘Feel Good’ Dog Law.

How This Impacts You

These measures would apply to anyone who is subject to USDA breeder/dealer licensing. Breeders are subject to USDA licensing if they maintain more than 4 “breeding females” (a term that is undefined but is generally considered to mean an intact female) and sell or transfer even one of the offspring's “sight unseen”. “Breeding females” include any combination of cats, dogs, or other small pet mammals such as hamsters, guinea pigs, etc. (Learn more).  

What you Can Do:

Most members of Congress want to do the right thing for dogs, but they are not experts in this area. It’s likely they do not understand the nuances or unintended consequences of arbitrary legislation that may “sound good” to a non-expert. They also hear a lot from animal rights/ protection groups, and they also rely on hearing from constituents. Unless we help educate our lawmakers, we will be subject to bad laws. 

Your member of Congress needs to hear from you. Please contact your member of Congress and your U.S. Senators today. Visit AKC’s Legislative Action Center and type your address in the “Find Your Elected Officials” box to find out who represents you and get their contact information

Tell them: 

  1. H.R. 2840/S. 1385 mandates arbitrary one-size-fits-all requirements for temperatures, kennel engineering standards, and breeding bans that are not appropriate for all types or breeds of dogs and could harm some dogs. 
  2. Explain you are a constituent. Respectfully share your experience and concerns as a dog owner/breeder/expert and based on the talking points above. 
  3. Ask them to not support advancing the bills out of committee.
  4. If you can, let the AKC GR team ([email protected]) know you contacted your lawmakers and if you received any response. 

Or, if you prefer, you can: 

For questions or more information, contact [email protected], visit or contact 919-816-3720. 

Thank you for your action to protect the future of our breeds and the integrity of responsible, expert breeders. 

Contact your Representatives Now!

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