Legislation That Affects You
ARKANSAS – Sen. Jeffress is sponsoring S1104
which grants immunity from both civil and criminal prosecution to a
person who kills an animal that is stray, abandoned or diseased and
may be a threat to his or her person or property. AKC is concerned that
the bill is vague in defining a stray and does not take into account
a loose owned animal or a hunting dog that has strayed. The bill will
be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.
ALABAMA – Rep. Cam Ward’s HB164,
which would establish procedures by which a dog could be declared dangerous,
has passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. The bill has been amended
but the new version is not available at this time. Senator Dial is sponsoring
the companion measure, SB295. SB295
remains in the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. Local fanciers have
been working with Rep. Ward to address concerns about the high fees
and vague language in these bills.
ARIZONA - HB2179, authored by Rep.
O’Halleran, establishes definitions for animal fighting. It further
designates the crime as a Class 5 felony and establishes animal hunting,
ranching and training or use of hunting dogs as a defense to this section.
The bill is before the House Environment Committee.
CALIFORNIA – AB 418 by Asm. Koretz seeks to ban ear cropping. Fanciers
defeated a similar proposal in 2004, and this year's bill attempts to
addresses many of their concerns in that it does not prohibit showing,
owning, selling, buying or adopting a dog with cropped ears. However,
AKC believes that this bill sets a dangerous precedent by allowing the
government to interfere with decisions that should be left between dog
owners and their veterinarians. AKC is working with fanciers to oppose
the measure. AKC has sent statements of opposition to legislators and
an alert has been mailed to all California clubs. The bill passed the
Assembly Public Safety Committee, and will proceed through Appropriations
to the Assembly floor. We need everyone's help to defeat this proposal.
We need everyone’s help to defeat this proposal. For more information,
please read our Legislative
-AB 762, authored by Asm. Koretz, creates a licensing
scheme for animal groomers. It sets specified standards for a person
that operates an animal grooming facility and prohibits them from engaging
in veterinary medicine. For violations of this act, the first offense
is a misdemeanor punishable by up to a $1000 fine and/or up to 90 days
in jail. Subsequent offenses can generate fines up to $5000 and additional
jail time. AB 762 has been referred to the Assembly
Business and Professions Committee.
- Asm. Levine is sponsoring AB 1428, which states
the Legislature’s intent to prohibit the commercial sale and transfer
of cloned or genetically modified pet animals. The bill remains in the
Assembly Rules Committee pending amendments.
- AB 1659, by Asm. Levine, “declares the intent
of the Legislature to end dog and cat overpopulation.” This is
likely a “spot bill” filed in time to meet the required
deadline but with the intent that it will be amended later. Asm. Levine
filed a similar measure last session which was amended to impose breeder
regulations. That bill died, but AB 1659 could take
a similar tone. AKC will closely monitor this bill and provide updates
as they become available.
- Senator Soto has introduced SB 156 which increases
penalties for animal fighting and training animals to fight. This bill
would allow subsequent violations of the law to be prosecuted as felonies.
SB 156 has been assigned to the Senate Public Safety
- SB 914, by Senator Kehoe, makes it a misdemeanor
to sell, give away or transfer any dog under 8 weeks of age. Violations
would be considered a misdemeanor crime of animal cruelty. The bill
is set to be heard by the Senate Committee on Business, Professions
and Economic Development.
- Sen. Vincent is sponsoring SB 934, which changes
the spay/neuter requirements at shelters. Currently if a county’s
population is over 100,000 the county must spay or neuter the animal
prior to its release. Under this bill all counties, regardless of population,
could adopt out animals if the owners sign a spay/neuter contract and
pay a spay/neuter deposit. SB 934 has been assigned
to the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development.
- West Hollywood Mayor John Duran has proposed an ordinance to ban
ear cropping and tail docking in the city. The Canine Legislation department
is working with local fanciers to oppose the measure. For more information,
please read our Legislative
For more information about pending California legislation, contact
The Animal Council.
CONNECTICUT - Rep. Megna’s H6543
prohibits insurers from using the breed of dog owned as the basis for
increased rates, cancelation of coverage, refusal to renew or refusal
to issue coverage. The bill has been referred to the Joint Committee
on Insurance and Real Estate. For more information, please contact the
Connecticut Dog Federation at email@example.com
FLORIDA – Senator Rich is sponsoring S898,
which will require veterinarians to administer rabies vaccinations using
a vaccine that is licensed by the US Department of Agriculture. The
bill prohibits using evidence of rabies antibodies in lieu of vaccination
and prohibits local governments from requiring revaccination of currently
vaccinated animals except for post-exposure treatment. The bill is assigned
to the Senate Committees on Agriculture, Health Care and Community Affairs.
A companion bill, Rep. Russell’s H255, has passed
the House Agriculture Committee and will now be heard in the House Health
Care General Committee.
- H297, by Rep. Culp, increases penalties for knowingly
and intentionally torturing or tormenting an animal resulting in injury,
mutilation or death of the animal. A person convicted under this section
will be assessed a minimum, mandatory $5,000 fine and shall serve a
mandatory, minimum of 6 months in jail. H297 has been
referred to the House Committees of Agriculture and Criminal Justice
and to the State Resources Council. The companion bill, S558
has passed the Senate Agriculture Committee and will be heard in the
Senate Criminal Justice Committee.
- Senator Baker is sponsoring S958, which allows certain
animal health care services to be provided by someone who is not a licensed
veterinarian. These include a wide range of factors that influence health
and wellness such as nutrition advice, homeopathy, health risk assessment,
communication, aromatherapy, therapeutic touch, acupuncture, and massage
therapy. The bill has been sent to the Senate Committees on Agriculture,
Regulated Industries, and General Government Appropriations. Its companion
measure, Rep. Attkisson’s H791 has been referred
to the House Committees on Agriculture, Agriculture and Environment,
and the Appropriations State Resources Council.
For additional information contact the Florida
Association of Kennel Clubs.
GEORGIA – This bill report reflects the status of bills
prior to the adjournment of session on March 31, 2005. However, it is
important that fanciers remember that these bills will carryover and
be eligible for action in January 2006.
- H734, by Rep. McCall, changes certain provisions
relating to dog fighting or baiting and related conduct. Local fanciers
are concerned that those who train for and participate in hunting events
could be effected by this legislation. The bill will be heard in the
House Committee on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs. The companion measure,
S229 by Sen. Rogers, has been referred to the Senate
Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee.
- Rep. McCall is also sponsoring H735, a bill relating
to animal protection and cruelty. This legislation makes changes to
inspections, impoundment of animals, notification to the owner of an
impounded animal, and the right to a hearing. The Georgia Canine Coalition
has concerns with the amount of power given to animal control and is
working to resolve them. A companion bill, S228 by
Sen. Rogers has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Consumer
- H78 remains in the House Committee on Special Judiciary.
The bill prohibits ownership of “pit bulls,” American Staffordshire
Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or any dog displaying a majority
of traits of those breeds. H78 further provides that
it is unlawful for any person to sell, transport, or keep any of those
breeds in the state. Exemptions are provided for those that own, transport,
or keep the dog for zoological, educational, or scientific purposes
and for non-residents transporting a dog through the state for a period
of less than one day. The Canine Legislation department and the Georgia
Canine Coalition are working with the bill sponsor and other Georgia
legislators to oppose the measure. For more information, please see
our Legislative Alert.
- At the request of the Georgia Canine Coalition, Senator Goggans is
sponsoring S111. This legislation will protect dog
entities, including owners, breeders, groomers and boarding kennels,
who have been in operation for more than 1 year, from being sued because
of a new property owner in the area or a change in zoning. The bill
is headed to the full Senate for a vote after being passed by the Senate
Committee on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs.
- Houston County is considering a plan to limit residents to three
dogs and three cats. The proposal must be approved by the local city
governments. AKC is working with local fanciers to oppose this proposal
and recently sent letters to all County Commissioners and city council
members in affected cities. For more information please contact the
Macon Kennel Club.
For more information on any of the above bills, contact the Georgia
IDAHO – The House Education Committee has introduced
H233, to expand the definition of dog fighting. The
new language will make it a crime to own, possess, keep, breed, train,
buy, sell, or offer to sell a dog for dog fighting. The new definition
will also include those involved in ancillary aspects of the dogfight
such as promoters and managers or owners of locations used for dog fights.
H233 makes dog fighting a felony punishable by a fine
up to $15,000 and/or jail time not to exceed 2 years. The bill has been
referred to the House Committee on Judiciary, Rules and Administration.
ILLINOIS - Rep. Burke’s HB315
requires municipalities to register dogs and cats and adds $3 to registration
fees to pay for a low-cost spay/neuter program. The fine for not registering
an animal would be $100. HB315 also removes an existing
provision that litters be licensed. The bill has passed the House Executive
Committee and is before the full House.
– Sen. Martin Sandoval’s SB1790 has been
held in the Senate Rules Committee. The bill deems the following breeds
as dangerous: "pit bull," Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Siberian
Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Doberman Pinscher, Chow Chow, Great Dane, St.
Bernard and Akita. Senator Sandoval’s office has assured the AKC,
the Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders Association, and local fanciers
that he will not pursue the breed-specific language of the bill. You
can read our Legislative Alert here.
- HB707, sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz, amends the
state’s Animal Welfare Act to require licenses for all “animal
caretakers.” This definition includes but is not limited to anyone
who sells, exchanges, or offers for adoption dogs, cats, birds, fish,
reptiles, and other animals commonly kept as pets. Hobby breeders, pet
stores, adoption facilities, shelters, and private individuals that
sell, transfer or adopt out even one animal will therefore be subject
to licensing under HB707. The licensing expansion proposed
in HB707 will be extremely costly and impossible to
enforce. Moreover, it will likely force many reputable hobby breeders,
rescue groups and concerned owners to abandon programs that match healthy,
well-socialized animals with responsible homes. HB707
was removed from the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee and
reassigned to the House Rules Committee. The Canine Legislation department’s
alert can be read here.
- On March 8th, Rep. Mitchell’s HB1128 was amended.
The breed specific language was removed and new language which changes
the Animal Control Act was inserted. The new version of HB1228
requires counties to register dogs and cats. The bill further requires
the fee for unaltered animals to be at least $10 higher than the fee
for unaltered animals. AKC and Illinois dog fanciers are concerned that
counties could use this provision as an excuse to enact extreme, unreasonable
licensing fees for those who keep intact animals. Such fees could prove
unaffordable to some responsible owners and breeders, many of whom may
only keep intact animals for the purposes of participating in conformation
dog shows or performance events. Additionally, Illinois is already struggling
with low licensing compliance, and extreme differentials could force
those rates to drop even further. The new bill passed out of the House
Agriculture Committee and is now before the full House.
- HB2406, by Rep. Phelps, will make a host of changes
related to the regulation of animal foster homes and doggie daycare
businesses. The bill clarifies that the existing 4 animal limit on foster
homes does not include the owner’s personal animals or puppies
and kittens under 8 weeks of age. HB2406 will require
that dog daycares, humane societies and foster homes be licensed. Additionally,
in order to operate a foster home, a person must obtain sponsorship
from an animal shelter, animal rescue group or humane society. The bill
has been re-referred to the House Rules Committee.
- Rep. Leitch’s HB2447, which requires municipalities
to register dogs and cats, and permits them to require microchipping
if they so desire, has passed the House Local Government Committee.
The bill will now proceed to the full House for a vote.
- Rep. Cross has introduced HB2747, a “spot
bill” pertaining to the state’s Animal Welfare Act. Currently
the bill only makes a technical change to the title section, but could
soon be amended to impact dog owners. The House Executive Committee
passed the bill and it is now before the full House. AKC will continue
to monitor the bill for substantive changes.
- HB3706 by Rep. Moffitt and SB1904
by Senator Roskam are also “spot bills” to amend the Humane
Care for Animals Act. AKC will monitor these bills and apprise fanciers
if there is cause for concern with the final language.
- Rep. Mathias has introduced HB3787, which will require
that owners provide adequate shelter for animals, defined as an enclosed,
roofed structure that acts as a windbreak and will allow the animal
to retain its body heat. The bill failed in the House Agriculture Committee
and has been returned to the Rules Committee.
To get involved in pending Illinois legislation, please contact
the Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders
IOWA – The Senate Agriculture Committee has
introduced SSB1263, which relates to the licensing
and inspection of commercial breeders, commercial kennels, dog day care
facilities, pet shops and public auctions. The bill also amends the
definition of commercial breeder by exempting those who have 3 or fewer
intact dogs or cats. SSB1263 additionally makes changes
to the fee structure for these establishments as well as the penalties
for violating any section of this statute. The bill will be heard in
the Senate Agriculture Committee.
KANSAS – Under current law, Greyhounds in Kansas
are not considered dogs, but rather livestock, due to the fact that
many are bred for racing. H2508 would change that and
ensure that Greyhounds are given the same humane care and condition
regulations as all other dogs. The bill has been referred to the House
Committee on Agriculture.
- H2054, which would have made changes to some of
the fee schedules and regulations in the Pet Animal Act, has died in
- The Senate Ways and Means Committee is sponsoring S288,
which will establish new maximum fees for hobby breeders, kennels and
pet shops. Under current law in Kansas, hobby breeders are defined as
owners of premises where all or part of 3-5 litters of dogs or cats,
or both, are produced for sale or sold, offered or maintained for sale.
This provision applies only if the total number of animals is less than
30. Current law sets the hobby breeder license at not more than $75;
under this bill it would rise to a maximum of $150. The bill has been
referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Interested fanciers can get additional information by contacting
the Kansas Kennel Association.
MAINE – Rep. Fitts’ H636
will allow residents to hunt on their own land on Sunday if they own
more than 20 acres and the land is open to hunting by the public. The
landowner must register with the Department of Inland Fisheries and
Wildlife. The bill is in the Joint Committee on Inland Fisheries and
- Rep. Bryant is sponsoring H677, which requires a
dog to be quarantined at a boarding kennel or veterinary clinic if the
dog has bitten a person or domestic animal. The bill also requires quarantining
if the dog is the subject of a complaint under Maine’s dangerous
dog law and the owner does not provide an animal control officer with
a valid rabies vaccination certificate. The bill has been assigned to
the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.
- Senator Mitchell has introduced S169, which would
prohibit insurance carriers from canceling or refusing to renew homeowner’s
insurance based solely on the breed of dog. The bill passed the Joint
Committee on Insurance and Financial Services, however the bill is receiving
some negative publicity so fanciers are encouraged to communicate their
support to their elected officials. AKC sent a letter of support to
the author and the Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Insurance and
For additional information, please email
the Federation of Maine Dog Clubs or visit their webpage.
MARYLAND – Rep. McComas has introduced HB941.
The bill establishes that a person who tortiously causes injury or death
to a pet is liable to the owner for compensatory damages of up to $10,000.
The bill passed the House and is in the Senate Committee on Judicial
Proceedings. A companion, Senator Stone’s SB347,
passed the Senate Committee on Judicial Proceedings.
- Rep. Conway is sponsoring HB1330, which increases
the penalty for aggravated cruelty to animals when it results in the
death of animal. The crime would be punishable by up to five years in
prison and/or fines of up to $10,000. HB1330 has passed
the House and is headed to the Senate Committee on Judicial Proceedings.
For more information about canine legislation in Maryland, contact
the Maryland Dog Federation.
MASSACHUSETTS - Rep. Paul Kujawski is once again sponsoring
legislation (H1346) that would define "commercial
breeder" as anyone who breeds and sells more than one litter per
year. Fanciers successfully defeated similar bills by Rep. Kujawski
in 2003 and 2004, and your help will be needed once again this year.
H1346 had not been assigned to committee as of this
writing, but AKC will be reporting updates on this and other new Massachusetts
bills of interest as they become available. For more information, contact
the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs at http://www.massfeddogs.org
MISSOURI – Senator Callahan is sponsoring S429,
which creates a $100 tax credit for adopting a dog from a shelter. The
bill has been assigned to the Senate Ways and Means Committee. For more
information, contact the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners at http://www.mofed.org
NEW HAMPSHIRE – S36, by Sen.
Roberge, assesses a $15 fee on all unneutered dogs and cats sold at
pet shops. The bill has passed the Senate and is headed to the House
Committee on Environment and Agriculture.
- Sen. Hassan’s S123 makes pet shops liable
for certain veterinary and other costs when the shop knew or should
have known that an animal was sick or injured at the time of sale. The
pet shop’s liability is limited to $1,000. The bill has passed
the Senate and is headed to the House.
For more information on legislation pending in New Hampshire, contact
Dog Owners of the Granite State.
NEW JERSEY - Asm. Rooney is sponsoring A3873
which requires reporting of dog bites to the Department of Health and
Senior Services and to municipal prosecutors. A3873
requires an investigation of a reported bite within 24 hours and provides
that owners of dogs impounded under the dangerous dog law appear in
municipal court for a hearing to determine if the dog is vicious or
potentially dangerous. The bill has been assigned to the Assembly Committee
on Agriculture and Natural Resources. For additional information, contact
the New Jersey Federation
of Dog Clubs.
NEW MEXICO – Despite opposition from AKC and concerned fanciers
Senator Grubesic's SB432 passed both houses and was
signed by Governor Richardson. Similar legislation, HB400,
died when the Legislature adjourned in March. Although SB432
does not target certain breeds, its vague definitions and the broad
authority it grants animal control officers leave dog owners vulnerable
- Sen. Beffort’s SB188, which would have put
harsh limitations on the ownership of “pit bulls” and declared
Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, American or “Old Country” Bull
Dogs, Boxers, Presa Canarios, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, German
Shepherds, Great Danes, Rottweilers, Siberian Huskies and wolf-hybrids
to be dangerous dogs, died at the close of session.
- Sponsored by Sen. Komadina, SM1 died without action
in the Senate. The memorial would have supported practices, programs,
and research related to animal welfare and opposed the use of public
funds to promote the animal rights agenda.
- Senator Garcia’s SB414, the Animal Sheltering
Services Act, was not acted on in the House and died at the close of
- Rep. Lundstrom’s HM53 was adopted by the House
in March. The memorial asks the state attorney general and local district
attorneys to investigate animal rescue groups that raise funds as charitable
organizations but do not provide animal rescue services in an appropriate
- The City of Albuquerque is expected to release a draft of the re-write
of the city’s much-debated animal control laws. It is expected
to include an increase in license fees, including a possible $150 license
for a dog or cat that is not sterilized. AKC and local fanciers are
organizing to oppose this provision and will carefully review the entire
For more information about the New Mexico measures above, please
contact the Rio Grande Kennel Club at BEDRCKBOUV@aol.com
NEW YORK - Asm. Englebright is sponsoring A5422,
which bans the transportation of an animal in any open area of a motor
vehicle unless the area is fully enclosed or the animal is restrained.
The bill pertains to public highways and has been assigned to the Assembly
Committee on Transportation. A companion measure, S2581,
by Sen. McGee will be heard by the Senate Transportation Committee.
- A5956 by Asm. Benjamin bans dangerous dogs from
residences where children under the age of 12 reside. The bill has been
assigned to the House Committee on Agriculture.
- Asm. Benjamin has also introduced A6173, which creates
owner liability for dog attacks causing serious physical injury to another
dog or cat. The penalty can be up to $200 plus the medical expenses
of the injured animal. It creates escalating penalties for repeat offenses,
including possible jail time. A6173 has been referred
to the Agriculture Committee.
- Yet another bill by Asm. Benjamin, A6174, requires
that all dangerous dogs be registered and increases the registration
fee to $1,000. Annual renewals would be $250. Failure to register a
dangerous dog would result in a $5,000 fine. A6174
will be heard by the Assembly Agriculture Committee.
- A final bill by Asm. Benjamin, A6238, provides for
the development of boarding kennel health and safety regulations including
licensing, inspections, posting of signs, and findings of violations
and sanctions. The Assembly Health Committee will hear the bill.
- Asm. Fields has introduced A6410, which will require
pet dealers to maintain an automatic dialing service to facilitate automatic
notification in case of an emergency. In New York a pet dealer is defined
as anyone who sells more than 9 dogs or cats per year to the public.
However, breeders who sell less than 25 dogs per year that are raised
on their own premises are exempt from the definition of pet dealer,
as are humane societies. The bill has been assigned to the Assembly
- S2826 by Sen. Flanagan increases the penalty for
torturing, killing or failing to provide sustenance to any animal to
a Class A misdemeanor. S2826 will be heard by the Senate
For more information on pending legislation in New York, please
contact the Responsible Dog Owners
of New York or the Long Island Coalition
of Dog Fanciers.
NORTH CAROLINA – Senator Kinnaird is sponsoring
S511, which would add fifty cents to the cost of rabies
vaccinations to help fund a statewide spay and neuter program. The bill
has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Finance.
– Rutherford County officials are considering an animal control
ordinance that includes differential licensing and breeder licensing.
AKC is working with local fanciers to oppose the legislation. Please
contact the Rutherford County Animal
Owners Association for more information.
OREGON –Sponsored by Rep. Avakian, H2813
increases the fines for animal cruelty when the crime is committed on
premises with eight or more animals. The bill further strengthens penalties
for first and second degree animal abuse. H2813 has
been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
- Sponsored by Rep. Flores, H2584 would make it illegal
for insurance companies to refuse homeowner’s insurance solely
because an owner or renter owned a specific breed. HB2584
has been referred to the House Committee on Business, Labor and Consumer
- Sen. Deckert is sponsoring S641 which makes it a
crime to possess dog fighting paraphernalia, punishable by a fine up
to $6,250 and/or up to 1 year of jail time.
- S844, by Sen. Deckert, increases penalties for a
dog keeper who maintains a public nuisance by keeping a dog that bites
a person. Originally, the bill also required that the county animal
control agency establish a registry for dog breeders and establish fees
to fund the program. Breeders of “pit bull” or “pit
bull” mixes would have been required to register. However, AKC
and the Responsible Dog Breeders Association of Oregon have worked with
Senator Decker’s office to have these provisions removed. Additionally,
a task force has been created to examine dangerous dog concerns in the
state, and fanciers will be represented by Patti Strand, AKC Board Member.
- Rep. Barker has introduced H2552, which authorizes
the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training to appoint, train
and commission humane special agents. The bill has been referred to
the House Judiciary Committee.
For more information on legislation pending in Oregon, please contact
the Responsible Dog Breeders Association
PENNSYLVANIA – H680, authored
by Rep. Bunt, specifies that owners of unlicensed dogs cannot pursue
compensation from the Pennsylvania Game Commission for injuries to their
dogs caused by coyotes. The bill has been assigned to the House Committee
on Game and Fisheries.
- Rep. Bebko-Jones is sponsoring H747, which provides
that the owner of a dog which attacks a service dog, is guilty of a
second degree misdemeanor. Violators will be required to make reparations
for veterinary costs in treating the dog and, if necessary, the cost
of obtaining and training a replacement dog. The bill will be heard
by the House Judiciary Committee.
- Officials in the City of Hazelton have removed the breed-specific
language from their proposed dangerous dog law. AKC sent a letter of
opposition and dangerous dog packets to the City Council and would like
to thank the local fanciers who rallied to oppose the breed-specific
ordinance. Local fanciers and AKC continue to monitor the proposal to
ensure that it has objective and measurable criteria.
- The Penn Forest Township has adopted an ordinance to limit residents
to 4 dogs and to define a kennel as any property with 5 adult dogs.
Kennels are allowed only in the commercial and industrial zones, not
in residential areas. AKC was made aware of the ordinance after its
Additional information about pending dog laws in Pennsylvania can
be obtained by contacting the Pennsylvania
Federation of Dog Clubs.
RHODE ISLAND – H6169, by Rep.
Lewiss, would make it a crime to keep a dog outside tethered, penned,
caged or fenced or otherwise confined without adequate shelter from
the elements. The bill specifies that a person is guilty under this
section if the dog is without access to shelter for more than 30 minutes.
Incredibly, the bill asks owners to make judgements about weather using
the Tufts Animal Care and Condition Scale. Under this bill, leaving
a dog tethered outside without the owner present would also be illegal.
The bill has been referred to the House Health, Education and Welfare
TENNESSEE - Rep. Marrero has introduced H435,
which requires kennels that keep more than 4 dogs or cats be licensed
by the Commissioner of Agriculture. The bill has been referred to the
House Committee on Agriculture. A companion bill, S49
by Senator Cohen, failed passage in the Senate Committee on Commerce,
Labor and Agriculture. Responsible Animal Owners of Tennessee and other
concerned fanciers oppose this bill.
- H2243 by Rep. McMillian will revise regulations
governing dog and cat dealers including increasing the penalty for unlawfully
selling animals to research facilities. The bill is before the House
Agriculture Committee. A companion measure, Sen. Person’s S2185,
has been referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Labor and Agriculture.
The Montgomery County Commission has adopted new animal regulations.
The new ordinance sets out a process by which animal control can make
a vicious or dangerous dog determination and prescribes confinement
requirements. The ordinance also allows civil citations to be issued
when the owner abuses the animal, fails to vaccinate against rabies
or lets their dog run at-large. For the first offense the fine shall
be $25, the second $50 and a third offense within 12 months will require
the offender to go to court on a misdemeanor citation.
Contact the Responsible Animal
Owners of Tennessee to learn more about how you can get involved
in pending Tennessee legislation.
TEXAS - Rep. Edwards of Houston has introduced HB1096,
which will exempt cities with a population of 1.9 million or more (i.e.
Houston) from the statewide ban on breed-specific ordinances. The bill
makes an unprovoked attack by a dog on another person a Class B misdemeanor,
unless the attack causes serious bodily injury or death, in which case
the offense is a third-degree felony. However, “attack”
is not defined, and owners have no opportunity to defend themselves
in court, leaving them liable for up to $10,000 in civil penalties.
The bill further requires that all dogs be kept in a secure, locked
enclosure, or on a leash under the owner’s control at all times,
regardless of whether the dog is dangerous. Violations of the leash
law will be a Class C misdemeanor! The Responsible Pet Owners’
Alliance (RPOA) is also concerned that HB1096 will
prohibit the use (or training) of agility dogs, herding dogs, and many
American Kennel Club outdoor performance events.
AKC is working with the RPOA to oppose the measure, but more help is
needed to stop this fast-moving bill. As of this writing, HB1096 is
on third reading on the House floor and is expected to pass. AKC and
RPOA will keep you updated as the bill heads to the Senate. A companion
bill by Sen. Ellis, SB1111, has been introduced and referred to the
Senate Criminal Justice Committee. For more information, please contact
RPOA at http://www.responsiblepetowners.org
- Rep. Eissler is sponsoring HB663, which makes it
a nuisance for dogs to bark or make other noises outside. The bill directs
animal control to take into account the time of day, proximity of the
noise to others and whether the barking is intermittent or constant
when determining a violation. If passed the law would make violations
a Class C misdemeanor publishable by a fine of not less than $50 and
not more than $200. The bill is before the House Committee on County
- HB1505 by Rep. Bonnen establishes procedures and
standards for training an animal control officer. The House Committee
on Government Reform will hear the bill.
- Introduced by Rep. Driver, HB1807 will make it a
jail felony to attack and injure an assistance animal. If the assistance
animal is killed, it shall be a third degree felony. The bill has been
referred to the House Committee on Law Enforcement.
- Sponsored by Rep. McReynolds, HB1959 makes it a
crime to recklessly use a dog in hunting or pursuing a deer. The bill
has been assigned to the House Culture, Recreation and Tourism Committee.
- Rep. Quintanilla’s HB1962 increases penalties
for cruelty to animals. HB1962 will be heard by the
House Agriculture and Livestock Committee.
- HB2840 by Rep. Chisum will make changes to the dangerous
dog law by establishing a vague definition of “unprovoked attack”
as one that occurs whenever a dog is outside of a locked, secure enclosure,
regardless of whether the dog is being teased, tormented or defending
its owner and its property. Furthermore, a person defending his or herself
from such an attack is permitted to use any means necessary and is exempt
from liability damages. The House Committee on State Affairs will hear
–HB326 by Rep. Goodman and its companion SB172
by Senator Harris would amend the state's cruelty law in several ways.
First, the measures make it a crime to cause bodily injury to an animal,
with "animal" being defined as any "non-human mammal,
bird or captive amphibian or reptile." The exemption for wild creatures
(those that are often hunted) has been removed. Furthermore, while the
existing cruelty law includes a straightforward exemption for those
who hunt, fish or trap, HB326/SB172 changes that language
to say that hunting "may be used as a defense" if you are
prosecuted for animal cruelty. These changes mean that hunters could
more easily be charged with cruelty and consequently be forced to defend
themselves in court.
HB326/SB172 would also criminalize "training
or conditioning" one animal to fight with another. Those who use
treadmills and similar devices to keep their dogs in shape for competition
also worry that under HB326/S172, mere evidence of
this equipment would create a presumption that owners are training dogs
to fight. HB326 has been moved from the House Committee
on Culture, Recreation and Tourism to the House Committee on Agriculture
and Livestock. SB172 has also been moved from the Senate
Committee on Culture, Recreation and Tourism to the Senate Committee
on Agriculture and Livestock. For more information, please read our
- Travis County has adopted a new animal control ordinance that includes
leash requirements and a section on determinations of and remedies for
dangerous dogs. Dogs who are determined to be dangerous must be registered
with the county annually and their owners must pay a $50 fee and obtain
liability insurance. An appeals process is provided and additional leashing
and enclosure requirements are also established.
Please contact the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance at http://www.responsiblepetowners.org
or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information
on pending legislation in Texas.
UTAH – Rep. Wyatt is sponsoring H242,
a bill to make animal torture a felony. The bill increases the penalty
by one degree if the torture is committed in the presence of a juvenile.
After having passed the Senate, the bill is back in the House for concurrence.
VERMONT – Senator Dunne is sponsoring S116,
which will create different tiers of homeowner’s insurance depending
on the likelihood of damage by a domestic animal. The bill has been
referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
- Rep. Ancel has introduced H348, a bill that would
change the current domestic vicious animal law. Under existing law a
person who has been bitten and requires medical attention may submit
a written complaint at the municipal level asking for an investigation
and determination of whether an animal is vicious. Under H348,
a person who is simply threatened or a person who does not require medical
attention resulting from the bite can also file complaints. AKC is concerned
that the bill introduces vague and subjective language into the statute.
Please contact the Vermont Federation
of Dog Clubs for additional information on pending Vermont legislation.
VIRGINIA - Rep. Athey’s H2338
was signed by the Governor in March. The bill originally required municipalities
to require licenses for pet shops, but that language was weakened to
say municipalities may require such licenses. H2338
further allows municipalities to impose a $500 fine for violations.
- H2221 became law in March. The statute allows animal
laws adopted by a surrounding county to be enforced in a town that has
given such consent and has not adopted their own animal laws.
For more information on pending Virginia legislation, please contact
the Virginia Federation of Dog Owners
WASHINGTON– Rep. Campbell’s H1016,
which prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against homeowners
based on the breed of dog they own, has passed the House and is headed
to the Senate. The American Kennel Club supports this bill and urges
dog owners to contact their state representative and ask them to vote
“Yes” on H1016.
- Jeffrey Heldson, Legislative Liaison for the Seattle Kennel Club
reports that Rep. Kirby’s HB1150 has been amended
once again. It now makes an important correction to the Washington State
Dangerous Dog Law by preventing a prosecutor from introducing any evidence
of a dog’s breed when trying an owner whose dog has severely injured
or killed a person, in order to try to prove to the jury that the dog
was dangerous. Currently the law states that the prosecutor cannot “solely”
rely on evidence of a dog’s breed to prove knowledge of dangerousness.
By removing the word “solely,” owners in Washington State
will be better protected from arbitrary discrimination.
WEST VIRGINIA – AKC and West Virginia fanciers
have been cautiously watching several bills pertaining to animal care
and breeding regulations. Sponsors have stated that their intent behind
the legislation is to address ownership and breeding of exotic animals
as a means of promoting public health and safety and preventing the
spread of disease. Unfortunately, much of the language also encompasses
owners and breeders of domestic animals.
Particular concerns surround SB137, which would establish
an Animal Health Safety Control Board and grant members the authority
to regulate pet shops, defined as "a facility where an animal is
kept for sale or breeding." The bill further defines "sale"
as "any transfer of ownership or title, whether for money, exchange
for property, or without remuneration." As such, hobby breeders,
pet stores, adoption facilities, shelters, and private individuals that
sell, transfer or adopt out even one animal could therefore be subject
to licensing and inspection under SB137.
Fanciers have additional concerns regarding the extensive powers granted
to the Board. Members would have the authority to propose rules pertaining
to the operation of pet shops, standards of care for domestic and exotic
animals offered for sale, minimum caging requirements, inspection records,
and a host of other areas. However, no veterinarians, pet shop owners,
or dog or cat breeders--all of whom have a great deal of knowledge in
the above areas--are given representation on the Board. Furthermore,
SB137 gives the Board the right to "seize, quarantine
or destroy any animal which poses a threat to humans, other animals,
wildlife or the state's agricultural or forestry industries." The
bill does not provide criteria for what constituted such a threat, nor
does it give owners an opportunity to defend this determination. Fanciers
wonder, Could an owner's cat be impounded and destroyed for killing
a bird, or a dog for barking at a squirrel?
AKC and West Virginia dog owners have conveyed their concerns to the
Senate Agriculture Committee, where SB137 was referred,
as well as to individual Senators, and it appears their voices are being
heard. However, more help is needed on this and 3 other bills of a similar
nature: SB277/HB2635, and HB2635.
Although the latter bills address only exotic animal breeding and regulation,
fanciers are concerned that they set a negative precedent for future
regulation over domestic breeding and ownership. For more information,
contact Colby Homer.
- Rep. Hamilton is sponsoring HB2357. The bill declares
that a person is not guilty of trespassing or hunting without permission
when the person unintentionally permits his or her dog to pursue game
onto private property. The bill has been referred to the House Committee
on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
- Rep. Caputo is sponsoring HB2078 which will require
that all animals adopted from shelters be spayed or neutered. The bill
has passed the House and is before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
WYOMIING – The City of Cheyenne passed an ordinance
that makes it illegal to have a loose, live animal in the back of a
ONTARIO, CANADA – Despite tireless opposition
efforts by concerned dog owners, the Ontario Legislature has passed
Bill 132, a bill banning “pit bulls” by
prohibiting the breeding, purchase or importation of these dogs. The
bill requires pit bulls already in Ontario to be neutered and muzzled
when in public. “pit bulls” are defined as a Pit Bull Terrier,
American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier or a dog which
has “an appearance and physical characteristics that are substantially
similar” to any of the breeds listed. AKC sent a letter of opposition
and the bill was opposed by several organizations including the Canadian
Federation of Humane Societies, Ontario Veterinary Medical Association,
and many US and Canadian dog owners.