|The Year in Review: 2004
— In August,
fanciers across the country celebrated the removal of the amendment
banning ear-cropping from SB1548, a bill pertaining
to veterinary medicine. The bill would have made it a misdemeanor to
crop a dog’s ears unless the procedure was performed as treatment
due to injury or disease. AKC and fanciers across the country worked
tirelessly throughout the summer to oppose the ban.
would have unfairly impacted responsible California breeders by requiring
municipalities to impose expensive permits for sellers of unaltered
dogs. The bill effectively died in May when the bill sponsor opted to
move the AB2513 to the inactive file rather than push for a vote in
the Assembly. Fanciers should remain on the lookout for similar bills
during the upcoming legislative session.
months of debate, Pasadena officials decided against a proposal to add
the term “guardian” to the city’s municipal code wherever
“owner” is referenced. Thank you to all those who worked
to oppose the measure.
For more information
on California legislative issues, contact The
— The hard work and dedication of the Colorado
Federation of Dog Clubs, animal organizations across the state and
responsible dog owners paid off when H1279 was signed into law in April.
The new law prohibits municipalities from enacting breed-specific legislation.
H1279 makes Colorado the twelfth state in the country to protect dog
owners from breed-specific dangerous dog laws. Denver, which enacted
a breed ban in 1989, continues to challenge the new law on the grounds
that it interferes with the city’s “home-rule” authority.
AKC will continue to monitor the situation and will keep fanciers posted
of any new developments.
— In the wake of strong opposition from fanciers, S3058 died in
committee. The bill would have required pet dealers to provide buyers
with an “animal purchase disclosure” giving details about
the animal, its breeder, veterinary care and whether or not it could
be registered. The bill further required pet dealers to provide registration
documents within 120 days of sale and placed other requirements on dealers
including the installation for sprinkler systems or fire alarms.
— Despite the defeat of a similar proposal earlier this year,
the City of Council Bluffs recently approved a ban on “pit bulls”
including American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers,
and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Current owners will be allowed to keep
their dogs if they muzzle them in public and obtain $100,000 in liability
insurance. AKC, concerned dog owners, and other organizations lobbied
heavily against the measure.
Due to this and
other similar legislation sweeping through Iowa, AKC encourages fanciers
to work together to support reasonable, enforceable dangerous dog legislation
in their communities. For more information on getting involved, please
contact the Monticello Council
for Responsible Pet Ownership.
— Members of the Prince George's County Council continue to consider
the repeal of the county's "pit bull" ban enacted in 1996.
A proposed ordinance would lift the ban and focus on a dog's behavior
rather than its breed. AKC and Maryland fanciers continue to support
the repeal of the ban and will keep fanciers up-to-date on further developments.
For additional information, contact Adrianne Lefkowitz, Maryland Dog
Federation (901-693-2256 or email@example.com).
— The Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Owners
and other dedicated fanciers in the state helped keep a breeder regulation
amendment out of the Massachusetts House budget bill this summer. The
amendment included provisions that required breeders or any organization
selling over five litters per year to register with and report the sale
to the Department of Agriculture. The amendment would have further required
breeders to report the buyer’s name, address and date of sale.
— Boston officials
enacted a breed-specific ordinance this summer in spite of strong opposition
from local fanciers, concerned dog owners and the AKC. The ordinance
requires "pit bull" owners to spay or neuter their dogs and
register them with the city at a cost of $50 annually. Pit bulls are
defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers,
American Staffordshire Terriers, or any mix of those breeds. The law
also limits residents to a total of two pit bulls and requires owners
to display a sign on their property stating a pit bull is located on
the premises. Dogs must also be leashed and muzzled when in public.
Violators will be subject to a $100 fine. Exemptions are provided for
animals participating in contests, shows or exhibitions within city
limits, but animals may not remain in the city for more than two weeks.
— AKC and the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs continue to watch
S1718. The bill, known as the “Responsible Pit Bull Ownership
Act,” would require a special license ranging from $150-$700 for
“pit bulls,” American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire
Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and Staffordshire Terriers. One
of the bill’s most onerous provisions requires anyone who owns
a dog to prove that it is not a pit bull. S1718 further requires owners
of these breeds to confine their dogs in an enclosed pen and leash and
muzzle them in public. Owners are also required to obtain liability
insurance for their dogs. Unlike most other state legislatures, New
Jersey bill will carry over to 2005, so fanciers should stay alert.
For more information on this or other New Jersey legislation, contact
the New Jersey Federation
of Dog Clubs.
— Albuquerque fanciers and AKC continue to rally against a proposed
animal control ordinance that would drastically impact fanciers' rights
to breed their dogs. The ordinance’s restrictive provisions include
an annual $150 permit for each unaltered dog or cat over six months
old, a $150 litter permit, and a limit of six animals per household
(four of the same species) unless residents purchase a $50 multiple
companion animal site permit. AKC will continue to monitor the situation
and will alert fanciers to any new developments. For more information
on how you can help, contact Patte
Klecan, Rio Grande Kennel Club.
— A6635 became law in August. A6635 establishes a dangerous dog
advisory board and requires owners of dangerous dogs to notify the municipal
clerk so that emergency personnel can be made aware of the dog's presence.
The new law also makes the owner of a dangerous dog that has attacked
a person, companion animal or farm animal strictly liable for medical
costs caused by the attack.
While two breed-specific
bills, Asm Manning’s A9389 and Asm. Rivera’s A10169, have
not seen movement since the spring, New York fanciers should continue
to be on the lookout for these and similar bills that would overturn
the state’s current law prohibiting municipalities from enacting
breed-specific laws. For more information, please contact the Responsible
Dog Owners Association of New York or the Long
Island Coalition of Dog Fanciers.
— Draft legislation resulting from nearly a year’s work
by the House Interim Committee on the Prevention and Disposition of
Unwanted and Abandoned Companion Animals was never introduced in the
General Assembly. The draft legislation contained provisions for a proposed
tax on pet food that was meant to generate funds for low-cost spay/neuter
programs and shelter renovations. The measure originally included several
breeding restrictions, including mandatory sterilization and differential
licensing for unaltered animals, which AKC and concerned animal fanciers
and dog owners across the state fought tirelessly to oppose. Similar
bills are likely to surface again in upcoming legislative sessions.
The Canine Legislation department is monitoring the situation closely
and will keep fanciers abreast of any movement on this issue.
— The Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that a statute penalizing owners
of dangerous dogs who fail to buy liability insurance and properly confine
their animals was unconstitutional. The Court held that the law (R.C.
955.22) violated a dog owner’s right to due process because it
did not provide owners with an opportunity to appeal a dangerous dog
determination at an administrative hearing. The decision is likely to
have a significant impact on Ohio dog owners as city and state officials
consider revisions to the state’s dangerous dog law in order to
close this constitutional loophole. Fanciers are encouraged to closely
monitor the situation as legislators could use this opportunity to target
more breeds or impose additional restrictions on owners to the state’s
current breed-specific dangerous dog statute. On the positive side,
the ruling opens a door for dog owners who have been attempting for
many years to repeal Ohio’s breed-specific law and make other
much-needed improvements to the law. For more information, contact Melanie
Tierney, Canine Friends of Cleveland
or Ohio Valley Dog Owners.
— Due to overwhelming opposition from Oklahoma dog fanciers, S1130
was withdrawn from consideration this spring. The bill’s provisions
included mandatory spay/neuter requirements and differential licensing
fees for intact animals. Congratulations to those who mobilized to defeat
— After city officials voted to repeal a breed-specific dangerous
dog ordinance enacted in 1998, Reading “pit bulls” are no
longer automatically classified as aggressive nor subject to strict
regulation and expensive registration fees.
— After several years of lobbying and education efforts, the Corpus
Christi Kennel Club (with the help of the Responsible
Pet Owners Alliance and the AKC) earned a hard-earned victory when
their city officials voted unanimously to approve the first reading
of a new animal control ordinance without previously proposed breeder
permits. The reasonably revised ordinance is scheduled for a second
reading later this month. For more information, contact Barbara
Beynon, Corpus Christi Kennel Club.
— Virginia fanciers were quick to mobilize in response to SJR37,
a resolution that would have negatively impacted hobby breeders. The
resolution directed the state veterinarian to study the state’s
animal population and euthanasia concerns and arrive at predetermined
conclusions, including the development of breeder licensing requirements
and mandatory spay/neuter provisions. Fanciers should be on the lookout
for similar legislation in the future. For more information contact,
Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs.
— This spring, Algona legislators voted to repeal its ban on “pit
bulls” and replace it with a strict yet breed-generic dangerous
dog law. Congratulations to those who worked to support this change!
— Thanks to
the tireless work and dedication of local fanciers and concerned dog
owners who lobbied to oppose both breed- and weight-specific dangerous
dog law proposals, Auburn city officials voted to enact an ordinance
that focuses solely on a dog’s behavior. The new law includes a provision that after
a dog is declared potentially dangerous, its owner may be able to reverse
the decision by enrolling the dog in an obedience program such as AKC’s
Canine Good Citizen.
— In 2004, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
issued its long-awaited final rule strengthening the federal Animal
Care regulations applicable to commercial dog dealers. Additionally,
Congress enacted the "Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health
Act," or MUMS. AKC supported both issues.
The new APHIS regulations
have been pending for four years. The new rules tighten several loopholes
and make needed housekeeping changes in the regulations pertaining to
the licensing and enforcement of regulations applicable to persons who
breed and sell dogs at wholesale or who procure dogs or cats for resale
or for research.
The MUMS legislation
will increase the availability of approved drugs for use in treating
rare diseases in major species of animals (i.e. "minor uses")
and for all uses in minor species (e.g. zoological animals). For the
purpose of veterinary drug regulation, dogs are considered a "major
species." Animal drugs must be label-approved by the FDA for each
individual use in each individual species. This legislation will permit
the FDA to expedite the veterinary drug approval process for minor uses
in major non-food animal species and in minor non-food animals species
so that more drugs can be label-approved.