Licensed Breeders

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RULE REVIEW─ADOPTION JUSTIFICATION

Chapter 91. Dog or Cat Breeders Program (effective October 14, 2016)

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) filed a Notice of Intent to Review and consider for re-adoption, revision, or repeal, Title 16, Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 91, relating to the Dog or Cat Breeders. The Notice of Intent to Review was published in the May 13, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 3529). The public comment period closed on June 13, 2016.

Texas Government Code, §2001.039 requires state agencies to review their rules every four years to determine if the reasons for initially adopting the rules continue to exist. The rules implementing Dog or Cat Breeders under Occupations Code, Chapter 802, are scheduled for this four-year review.

The Department has reviewed these rules and has determined that the rules are still essential in implementing the statutory provisions of Occupations Code, Chapter 802, Regulation of Dog or Cat Breeders. The rules provide details that are not found in the program statute but are necessary for implementation and operation of this program. For example, the rules detail the licensing requirements, standards of care, and the fees that are specific to this program. The Department received public comments in response to the Notice of Intent to Review from approximately 1490 interested parties.

Approximately 1200 commenters expressed concerns regarding the current dog enclosure standards, specifically, they were not strong enough and the size and conditions of current cages and pens used for dogs in commercial breeding. The commenters encourage bigger cage space, requiring a solid resting surface, and banning stacking of cages. Approximately 170 commenters expressed concern regarding facilities, specifically: animals should be prohibited from being kept in an outdoor facility when the temperature reaches more than 90 or less than 50 degrees; the minimum space should be doubled; the construction of the cage or pen should be made of a material other than wire or wire mesh flooring; and enclosures should not be allowed to be stacked on top of one another. Approximately 40 commenters stated generally that puppy mills should be abolished and the program made more stringent. Approximately 30 commenters are seeking repeal of the program and statutes regulating Dog or Cat Breeders. Approximately 45 commenters expressed concerns that the rules in general are not strict enough and request more be done. However, these commenters did not provide specific recommendations, changes, or requests. These comments will be taken under consideration as part of any possible rule changes in the future.

At its meeting on October 5, 2016, the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation (Commission), the Department’s governing body, readopted the rules at 16 TAC, Chapter 91 Dog or Cat Breeders, in their current form. As a result of this review process, the Department may propose amendments in the future that may further clarify or supplement the existing rules. Any future proposed changes to the rules will be published in the Proposed Rules section of the Texas Register and will be open for public comment prior to final adoption by the Commission in accordance with the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 2001.

The rules are re-adopted by the Commission in accordance with Texas Government Code §2001.039. This concludes the review of 16 TAC, Chapter 91, Dog or Cat Breeders.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State, on October 14, 2016.

Brian E. Francis
Executive Director
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation


The Licensed Breeders Advisory Committee meeting scheduled for November 14 has been canceled.

The Licensed Breeders Advisory Committee met September 26 in Austin. The agenda and the Staff Reports (1.6 MB PDF) are available online. The meeting was archived and is available on TDLR's YouTube channel.

TDLR received several hundred comments in response to its Notice of Intent to Review for re-adoption, revision or repeal for 16 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 91. As part of our core value of open and free communication, the Department is posting every comment received and the issues raised were discussed at the Licensed Breeders Advisory Committee meeting on September 26.

The comments are separated into five PDFs because of their size. A sixth PDF contains comments received after the deadline had passed.

The deadline for comments was June 13, 2016.


Attention all applicants for the Licensed Breeders program: the Pre-License Inspection Checklist is now available. Download the Pre-License Inspection Checklist (96 KB PDF)

Pre-license inspections are required for certain dog and/or cat breeder establishments who do not hold a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Class A or B license. Our inspectors use this checklist to ensure your facility is in compliance with state laws prior to obtaining your license. The checklist was developed by a multi-divisional TDLR team based on statutory and rule requirements.

We hope you will find this information useful and helpful in preparing for your on-site inspection. If you need assistance, please contact TDLR at cs.breeders@tdlr.texas.gov or 800-803-9202.

Most Common Code Violations for Licensed Breeders

1.Standards of Care – Veterinary Care. - 16 Tex. Admin. Code Ch. 91.112(d). Breeding cycles. A licensed breeder shall provide breeding females adequate rest between breeding cycles as recommended by a veterinarian based on the breed, age, and health of the individual breeding female and documented by a veterinarian in the medical records related to each animal.

2. Responsibilities of Licensee – Mandatory Contract Provisions. – 16 Tex. Admin. Code Ch.91.74. A licensed breeder must include in each contract for the sale or transfer of an animal: (1) the license number; and (2) the following statement: "Dog and cat breeders are regulated by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711, 1-800-803-9202, 512-463-6599, www.tdlr.texas.gov or a similar statement adopted by commission rule that includes the department's name, mailing address, telephone numbers, and Internet website address.

3. Standards of Care—Sheltered Housing Facilities. 16 Tex. Admin. Code Ch. 91.102(a). The sheltered part of sheltered housing facilities for dogs and cats must be sufficiently heated and cooled when necessary to protect the dogs and cats from temperature or humidity extremes and to provide for their health and well-being. The ambient temperature in the sheltered part of the facility must not fall below 50°F (10°C) for dogs and cats not acclimated to lower temperatures, for those breeds that cannot tolerate lower temperatures without stress and discomfort (such as short-haired breeds), and for sick, aged, young, or infirm dogs or cats, except as approved by a veterinarian. Dry bedding, solid resting boards, or other methods of conserving body heat must be provided when temperatures are below 50°F (10°C).  The ambient temperature must not fall below 45°F (7.2°C) for more than 2 consecutive hours when dogs or cats are present, and must not rise above 85°F (29.5°C) for more than 2 consecutive hours when dogs or cats are present. The preceding requirements are in addition to, not in place of, all other requirements pertaining to climatic conditions.

4.Standards of Care – Exercise of Dogs. - 16 Tex. Admin. Code Ch. 91.106(a). A licensee must develop, document, and follow an appropriate plan to provide dogs with the opportunity for daily exercise. In addition, the plan must be approved by a veterinarian and documented by a veterinarian in the medical records related to each dog. The plan must include written standard procedures to be followed in providing the opportunity for exercise.

5.Standards of Care—Onsite Personnel. – 16 Tex. Admin. Code Ch. 91.110(b). Each employee of a licensed facility whose duties or responsibilities include the handling of or caring for a dog or cat shall have the appropriate training documented by the licensee; to include at the minimum subject matter covering basic animal care and handling, prevention of infectious disease, and kennel sanitization.

6.Standard of Care – Veterinary Care. – 16 Tex. Admin. Code Ch. 91.112(a). Annual examination. A licensed breeder shall have each animal used for breeding examined by a veterinarian at least once in every twelve-month period. The annual examination required by this section must be conducted in accordance with practices established under the Veterinary Licensing Act and documented by a veterinarian in the medical records related to each animal.

7.Standards of Care -Routine and preventative care. - 16 Tex. Admin. Code Ch. 91.112(c). Failed to have the written health care management protocol contain all required health care records, including all authorized exemptions approved by a veterinarian.

Please direct questions and comments to cs.breeders@tdlr.texas.gov.