Legislation That Affects You
CALIFORNIA – Sen. Speier’s SB861,
to repeal California’s prohibition on breed-specific local ordinances,
was not taken up for a vote before the legislature’s summer adjournment.
The bill would allow cities and counties to enact breed-specific ordinances
that require mandatory spay/neuter or impose breeding restrictions on
certain breeds. The bill will be eligible for a vote when members return
in mid-August. For more information, and to find out how you can help,
please read our Legislative Alert here.
- Sen. Kehoe’s SB914, which makes it a misdemeanor
to sell any dog under 8 weeks of age, passed the Assembly Appropriations
Committee and will now proceed to the Assembly floor. The bill does
exempt rescue groups and allows puppies less than 8 weeks old to be
sold with written approval of a licensed veterinarian.
- The City of Oakland has initially approved an ordinance which limits
residents to 3 dogs, institutes mandatory microchipping and changes
definitions for foster and rescue groups. A final vote on the proposal
is expected at the September 20th meeting.
COLORADO – The City of Aurora is considering
a “pit bull” ban similar to the one in Denver. The subcommittee,
made of up 3 council members, will review the proposal at an August
9th meeting. AKC has sent a letter of opposition and dangerous dog packets
to the council members.
CONNECTICUT – Rep. Megna’s H6543
failed to pass prior to the adjournment of the legislature. The bill
would have prohibited insurers from considering a customer’s breed
of dog when setting policy rates or minimum premiums. It also would
have prohibited insurers from using a dog's breed as the reason for
canceling, not renewing, or not issuing a policy.
- S1191 failed to pass the Joint Committee on Judiciary
prior to adjournment. The bill would have authorized the creation of
trusts for the care of domestic animals.
GEORGIA – The Cherokee County Commission is
considering charging a registration fee to owners of dogs labeled “potentially
dangerous.” The fee would cover the costs to the county associated
with inspection and enforcement of their local dangerous dog law.
- The City of Decatur has opened two additional dog parks at Glenlake
Park and Oakhurst Park. Additionally, the city has enacted a new ordinance
which will require that dogs be leashed when off their owner’s
property except at the designated dog parks.
- Houston County’s largest city, Warner-Robbins, has approved
a proposal to limit residents to 3 dogs and 3 cats. Local fanciers worked
with local officials to establish a process whereby residents can be
given a variance to allow for additional animals. AKC sent a letter
of opposition to county and city officials explaining why limit laws
are ineffective and unfair to responsible dog owners.
- Elbert County has, without the knowledge of AKC or local fanciers,
passed an ordinance requiring anyone with more than 15 dogs to obtain
a kennel license, obtain permission from their neighbors, allow for
quarterly inspections, and pay a $250 application fee. AKC has sent
a letter to the county commission requesting that they repeal this ordinance,
which is set to go into effect in October.
- In July, Chatham County adopted a new animal control ordinance. The
Georgia Canine Coalition and local fanciers were able to defeat a portion
of the ordinance which would have increased license fees in three years
and again in six years. However, fanciers were unsuccessful in opposing
a provision requiring a those who breed more than
one litter a year and who sell more than 3 adult dogs a year to obtain
a Commercial Pet Animal Facility License. The AKC previously sent a
letter opposing these changes.
MASSACHUSETTS – Rep. Kujawski is sponsoring
H1346, which would define a commercial breeder as anyone
who breeds more than 1 litter per year. Anyone falling into this category
will be subject to the current laws governing pet shops, including licensure
and inspection. Massachusetts fanciers showed up in strong numbers to
oppose the bill at a recent hearing by the Joint Committee on Environment,
Natural Resources and Agriculture, and are now awaiting a committee
vote on the issue. The Canine Legislation Department sent a letter of
opposition to committee members as well.
- H1565, a bill to require homeowner’s insurance
companies to cover domestic animals, was heard in the Joint Committee
on Financial Services and is awaiting a vote in the Executive Session.
- Rep. Hill’s H3563, a bill to establish a more
effective and reasonable dangerous dog law, was heard in the Joint Committee
on Municipalities and Regional Government. Specifically, H3563 establishes
clear criteria for determining potentially dangerous and dangerous dogs,
and further provides requirements for the care and keeping of such animals.
It also guarantees owners the right to appeal a potentially dangerous
or dangerous dog designation. The bill, which has the support of AKC
and the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners,
can now be voted on at Executive Session.
- H3566, by Rep. Gobi, would require pet stores to
list the dog’s state of origin and requires the establishment
of a toll-free number to report sick dogs. The bill has been referred
to the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.
MAINE – Governor Baldacci has signed H129. Originally,
the bill was simply a tax on pet food, however it was amended without
AKC’s knowledge to require breeders and pet stores to collect
a $25 per animal surcharge to go into the state Companion Animal Sterilization
- H155 was also signed by the Governor. This new legislation
will require that outdoor dogs be provided with a 4-sided shelter structure
with appropriate bedding to contain the animal’s body heat. The
law also establishes the length and flexibility of chains used to restrain
- Rep. Piotti’s H1036 has been signed by Governor
Baldacci. The bill will change the definition of a breeding kennel to
include anyone who sells 2 or more litters per year. Current law defines
a breeder as anyone who sells more than 16 dogs or cats per year. The
bill also requires that dogs older than 6 months be given a rabies vaccine
within 30 days and adds definitions and penalties for abandoning an
- The City of Houlton has passed an ordinance which will require owners
to pick up pet waste on public or private property. Additionally, the
ordinance makes it illegal for a dog owner to allow the dog to demonstrate
aggressive or intimidating behavior at a public event. Violators of
the ordinance will be fined $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second
and an additional $50 for any subsequent violations.
MISSOURI – Springfield is reconvening its Animal
Control Advisory Review Committee to consider new dangerous dog legislation.
Some city officials had indicated that they were not considering a breed
ban at this time, but rather increased enforcement of existing laws.
Furthermore, members of the committee have noted that their previous
recommendation to enact an animal care education campaign has not been
realized. However, officials are feeling pressure to consider breed-specific
legislation in light of yet another dog attack in the area. Local fanciers
are encouraged to work with legislators in support of public education
campaigns and strong enforcement of reasonable dangerous dog law.
NEW HAMPSHIRE - Governor Lynch has signed S91.
The law will increase the co-pay for spaying and neutering animals adopted
from a shelter from $30 to $40 and from $15 to $25 for low-income residents.
- S123, a bill to make pet shops liable for certain
veterinary and other costs when the shop knew or should have known that
an animal was sick at the time of sale, died in the House when the legislature
NEW JERSEY – Asm. Weinberg’s A4243
will remove the current $7 maximum for dog licenses and will allow municipalities
to set whatever fee they feel is appropriate. The bill has been assigned
to the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee.
- A4254, by Asm. Holzapfel, will increase the penalties
for certain animal cruelty offenses. The bill adds a new section of
simple cruelty, which includes abandonment of an animal. Negligent animal
cruelty, which includes failure to provide proper food, water and shelter,
as well as leaving an unattended animal in a vehicle in adverse weather,
would be punishable by up to six months imprisonment. The Assembly Judiciary
Committee will hear the bill. A companion bill, S2727,
has been referred to the Senate Committee on Economic Growth, Agriculture
- Sen. Sweeney’s S2619 would require schools
to include instruction on the humane treatment of animals as part of
their core curriculum. The bill directs the department to consult with
the New Jersey Veterinary Medical Association to develop the standards.
The Senate Education Committee will hear the bill.
- Asm. Manzo’s A4272 will create certified animal
cruelty investigators in the Department of Health and Senior Services.
To become an investigator a person must complete a course on animal
cruelty at an accredited New Jersey college or university or a school
approved by the Police Training Commission. Investigators will have
the power to investigate any animal cruelty complaints, detain, apprehend
or arrest any offenders, and serve and execute warrants.
- Acting Governor Codey has signed S84 which clarifies
that the use of an animal to injure another animal is a crime of animal
- The City of Montclair was considering a proposal to limit owners
to 5 dogs in single family residences and 2 dogs in multi-family units.
After the initial hearing the council has withdrawn the proposal and
is forming a task force to examine what can be done to improve the city’s
dog ordinance. Congratulations to all the fanciers who worked to educate
the committee on the ineffectiveness of limit laws. AKC sent a letter
of opposition to city officials and provided fanciers with materials.
NEW MEXICO – The City of Albuquerque is working
on a complete rewrite of the city’s animal code. The proposal
includes a prohibition on chaining or tethering, provisions for intact
companion animal permits and strict requirements for what constitutes
proper care of animals. The bill also establishes a definition for and
regulation of commercial breeder facilities. Commercial breeder facilities
are defined as any facilities in any zone other than a residential zone
that are used for breeding and care of newborn animals. The measure
also establishes limit of 6 companion animals- 4 of the same species
- which can be waived if a person obtains a special permit. A person
may not maintain more than 2 intact companion animals of the same species,
even with a permit. The proposal is expected to be reviewed August 1st.
NEVADA – Asm. Sibley’s A263
has failed to meet the necessary deadlines and has died. The bill would
have required that veterinarians obtain informed consent for certain
- A318 by Asm. Weber has died. The bill would have
expanded the state’s existing dangerous dog law to allow a dog
to be deemed vicious if it killed another domestic animal. An exemption
was included for dogs that were provoked.
NEW YORK – Asm. Glick’s A1824,
which prohibits insurers from refusing to issue or renew, cancel, or
charge or impose an increased premium for homeowner’s insurance
policies based on the breed of a dog owned, has passed the Assembly
- Sen. Maziarz’s S109 has passed both houses
and is before Governor Pataki. The bill, which would repeal the Dangerous
Dog Advisory Board, was substituted for Rep. Tonko’s A2608,
which did the same thing.
- A7644 has passed the Senate and is back before the
Assembly for concurrence. The bill would make low-income residents eligible
for participation in low-cost spay/neuter programs. A7644 was substituted
for its companion bill, S4560.
- A6873 has been signed by Governor Pataki. The law
allows dog licenses to be issued and renewed for up to three years,
provided that no license shall be issued for a period expiring after
the dog’s current rabies certificate has expired. The law provides
fees for different lengths of license periods. A6873 was the companion
bill to Sen. Young’s S5508.
- Asm. Diaz’s A4433 will increase the fines for
dog attacks which cause serious physical injury. The bill has passed
the Senate and has returned to the Assembly for concurrence. The bill
was substituted for its Senate companion, S2234.
- A8863, authored by the Assembly Rules Committee,
will allow unlimited compensatory damages to be awarded in cases where
a dog has caused physical injury to another dog or cat. The bill will
be heard by the Assembly Agriculture Committee.
-Sen. Sabini’s S5454 has passed the Senate Consumer
Protection Committee. The bill will require that pet dealers inform
puppy purchasers about state dog licensing requirements. Under current
state law, pet dealers are 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.
- Sen. Young has introduced S5510 to require owners
leaving their dogs at boarding kennels and grooming establishments to
provide proof of a health certificate and current rabies vaccination.
These establishments would be required to maintain that information
for 12 months.
- S2164, by Sen. Padavan, will regulate kennel owners
by providing certain standards of care and treatment of animals. The
bill has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection.
- S3821 by Sen. Trunzo will require that animal housing
provided by pet dealers meet fire hazard standards. Pet dealers are
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 Senate Committee on Consumer Protection
will hear the bill.
NORTH CAROLINA – Governor Easley has signed
H862, a bill which will make it illegal in all counties
to remove electronic collars from dogs.
- The North Carolina State Legislature has approved a Canine Good Citizenship
Proclamation. Rep. David R. Lewis sponsored the proclamation, which
recognizes the importance of responsible dog ownership and appropriate
obedience training. Congratulations to all dog owners who helped get
this proclamation adopted.
- The police chief in the city of Madison is proposing a breed-specific
ordinance. The City Council held an initial meeting where several local
fanciers and dog owners spoke against BSL. AKC sent a letter explaining
why breed-specific proposals are ineffective and supplied the council
with dangerous dog packets. The council will take the issue up again
OHIO - Rep. Carano is sponsoring H63,
a pet consumer protection bill. The bill requires certain persons who
sell dogs under the age of 15 months provide remedies to a buyer for
a dog that exhibits a congenital defect or common hereditary disorder,
dies from a congenital disorder or common hereditary disorder, or is
believed to be of a different registration status with a pedigree organization
than the seller represented. Humane societies and nonprofit organization
are exempt from the provisions of this bill. H63 has been referred to
the House Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
OKLAHOMA – Earlier this year, AKC fanciers successfully
defeated proposed breed-specific legislation at the state level. However,
following a series of tragic dog attacks, Rep. Paul Wesselhoff has once
again sounded the call for breed bans in the state. Rep. Wesselhoff
(R-Moore) recently announced his intention to file a bill in 2006 that
would change the state’s dangerous dog law prohibiting local governments
from enacting breed-specific ordinances. AKC has sent a letter of opposition
and urges concerned dog owners to do the same. Fanciers should also
contact their own representatives to voice their concern. To find out
who represents you visit: http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/.
- The City of Moore is considering enacting stronger dangerous dog laws,
but will consider a “pit bull” ban if an effort to change
the state law is successful.
- The City of Mustang is considering the possibility of increasing
fines for violations of the animal control ordinance. In particular
they are examining the current $104 fine for an unrestrained animal
and the $124 fine for harboring a vicious animal.
- The City of Bartlesville is considering revising their dangerous
dog ordinance. Officials are aware of the state prohibition on local
breed-specific ordinances. AKC has sent a letter and dangerous dog packet
to the City Manager.
PENNSYLVANIA – S735, a bill
to impose a 10 percent tax on the sale of each dog and cat sold in the
state, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. The monies
generated by the bill will go into the Feline and Canine Protection
Fund to be distributed to local animal shelters.
- The City of Wilkes-Barre was considering banning “pit bulls,”
but the measure was pulled by the mayor because it would violate the
state law prohibiting local governments from enacting breed-specific
legislation. AKC sent a letter to the Mayor opposing the proposal. Congratulations
to all the local fanciers and dog owners who worked to successfully
oppose this measure.
RHODE ISLAND – H6371 by Rep.
Coderre has been sent to the Governor. The bill will allow the City
of Pawtucket to charge an annual animal license fee of $15 for all dogs
and to impose an additional $10 fee on unaltered animals.
- Rep. Shanley’s H5318 has passed the Senate.
The bill would give authorities more power to revoke animal licenses
based on cruelty violations.
- H5430 has become law without the Governor’s
signature. The bill will allow for the creation of trusts for the care
TEXAS – Calling all Austin dog owners! Help
is still urgently needed to fight a proposed mandatory spay/neuter ordinance.
Exceptions would be allowed only if the animal is deemed medically
unsuited to the procedure, the animal is kept in Austin less than 30
days in one year, or if the owner purchases a $100 intact animal permit.
The proposal also includes a $500 litter permit. The AKC has provided
local fanciers with materials and sent a letter of opposition to city
officials. Purebred dog owners are working hard, but many more voices
are needed. In particular, fanciers are encouraged to urge their council
members not to sponsor this ordinance. For more information on how you
can help, please read AKC’s Legislative Alert at http://www.akc.org/news/index.cfm?article_id=2508.
VERMONT – S66 has been signed
into law by Governor Douglas. The bill will establish a committee to
investigate changing the definition of “pet merchant.” Fanciers
worked with Senator Campbell, author of S66, to change the initial wording
of the bill which would have declared any person that sells or donates
animals to be a pet merchant. Fanciers and rescue workers will included
in the committee.
VIRGINIA – The City of Radford has adopted an
ordinance which will limit residents to 4 dogs in residential areas.
Residents who currently own more than 4 dogs have until 2022 to come
into compliance. AKC was notified about this ordinance after its adoption.
WASHINGTON – A527, by Asm.
Strachota, will authorize a city, village or town to exempt an owner
from the requirement to vaccinate against rabies if a veterinarian states
that this is inadvisable due to health concerns. The bill is before
the Assembly Agriculture Committee.
- The City of Vancouver has opened their first off-leash dog park at
the Bonneville Power Administration’s Ross Complex. Future parks
are also being considered at Pacific Community Park and Hockinson Community
- The City Council of Federal Way has unanimously approved making French
Lake Park an off-leash area for a year-long trial period that began
WISCONSIN - Trempealeau County has recently passed
a new dangerous dog ordinance which labels Staffordshire Bull Terriers,
American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers,
Doberman Pinschers and mixed breeds of these dogs as dangerous. The
AKC and local dog owners found out about this proposal after it was
passed. AKC has sent a letter to the county asking them to repeal the
ordinance and pursue non-breed-specific dangerous dog proposals and
has provided local fanciers with lobbying materials.
UNITED STATES - Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Senator
Richard Durban (D-IL) are sponsoring the Pet Animal Welfare Statute
(PAWS). This legislation (S1139) will bring under coverage of the federal
Animal Welfare Act individuals who breed and sell large numbers of dogs,
as well as those who import large numbers of dogs for resale. S1139
continues to move through the legislative process with more co-sponsors
signing on daily. The bill will be heard in a subcommittee of the Senate
Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee following Congress's August
recess. At that time, AKC will work with Senator Santorum and subcommittee
members to address legitimate concerns that have been raised and to
make any necessary clarifications to the bill language. AKC is working
to ensure that this legislation protects dogs but also our constituents
AKC has established a PAWS Information Center on our website to provide
fanciers with answers to frequently asked questions and access to all
documents related to PAWS. PAWS