Legislation That Affects You
ARIZONA – The Phoenix City Council’s Public
Safety Committee has voted to decriminalize incessant barking. Under
the new proposal, the first offense would be a civil violation, with
a minimum fine of $150. Second and subsequent violations will remain
CALIFORNIA – The San Francisco Board of Supervisors
unanimously approved a breed-specific ordinance that will require “pit
bull” owners in the city and county to spay or neuter their dogs
unless they obtain a $100 breeding permit. The legislation defines “pit
bulls” as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers,
Staffordshire Bull Terriers and any dog displaying the physical traits
of these breeds. Fines for failing to comply range from $100 to $1000
and can, on the second offense, include six months in county jail. The
ordinance was passed despite strong opposition from AKC, other animal
interest groups, and responsible dog owners. For more information please
see our Legislative
With the passage of SB861 last month, proposals like
the one in San Francisco may be introduced in other California communities.
Should a discriminatory measure be introduced in your community, please
contact AKC’s Canine Legislation
department for assistance. The Canine Legislation department has
materials to assist you including information packets, model legislation
and other brochures. We can also write letters to elected officials
on behalf of responsible dog owners.
- The City of Millbrae has passed an ordinance that includes differential
licensing for unaltered animals, breeder permits and a limit law. The
Canine Legislation department sent a statement to city council members
in October noting our opposition to unreasonable breeding restrictions
and to unfair limits on responsible pet ownership. For more information,
contact The Animal Council.
- The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors has adopted an ordinance that
will require owners of dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs to obtain
a permit for their animal. The ordinance establishes appeals processes
for both designations and specifies how dangerous and potentially dangerous
dogs must be housed and cared for. The new law also requires convicted
felons to obtain a permit for any dog that weighs more than twenty pounds,
has been designated dangerous or potentially dangerous, or that has
been determined by the animal services director to pose a threat to
COLORADO - The City of Aurora has adopted an ordinance
that bans “pit bulls” (defined as American Pit Bull Terriers,
American Staffordshire Terriers and Staffordshire Bull Terriers), as
well as American Bulldogs, Dogo Argentinos, Canary Dogs, Ca De Bous,
Tosa Inus and Cane Corso breeds. The ordinance allows owners of these
breeds already living in Aurora to keep their animals if they register
them within 60 days, pay a $200 license fee, obtain a $100,000 liability
insurance policy, and spay or neuter them. AKC opposed the measure in
a letter to city officials and also provided model dangerous dog legislation
we feel to be reasonable.
FLORIDA – Sen. Bullard’s S470,
which will modify Florida’s pet lemon law, has been triple-referred
to the Senate Committees on Agriculture, Commerce and Consumer Services
and Regulated Industries. The bill requires pet dealers (defined as
persons who sell more than two litters or 20 dogs or cats per year)
to provide animal purchase disclosures with the sale of each dog or
cat. Such disclosures will include information about the animal’s
birth, origin and registration information, if applicable.
- Sen. Bullard has also prefiled a second measure, S674,
to amend Florida’s pet dealer law. S674 will
require pet dealers to be licensed and inspected at least once a year.
The bill would institute a dealer license fee of $100 for a pet dealer
selling more than 25 animals per year, and a fee of $25 for pet dealers
selling fewer than 25 dogs or cats. Pet dealers will further be required
to display license information in advertisements.
- S484, which was prefiled by Sen. Rich, will increase
minimum mandatory fines and periods of incarceration for certain acts
of cruelty to animals. The fine for cruelty that results in death or
excessive or unnecessary pain and suffering will increase from $2,500
to $4,000, and will now require six months mandatory jail time. If a
second violation is committed a fine of $6,000 will be assessed and
a term of ten months imprisonment will be required. For more information
please contact the Florida Association
of Kennel Clubs.
- The Hillsborough County Animal Advisory Committee is in the process
of revising its county animal control ordinance. The next Animal Advisory
Committee meeting will be held December 14th. Items under discussion
include mandatory microchipping for all animals. In addition, the county
recently announced that they will be hiring 23 more code enforcement
officers. Under proposed revisions, those officers will have authority
to issue citations for animal services even though they will not be
Animal Services officers. For more information please contact the Florida
Animal Owners Alliance, Inc.
- The Village of Tequesta continues to consider an ordinance to ban
“pit bulls.” The proposal was initiated by a neighborhood
group that assembled a petition after a “pit bull” injured
another dog. AKC has sent a letter to members of the Village Council
opposing breed-specific laws and reminding them that such an ordinance
would contravene Florida’s state dangerous dog law prohibiting
such legislation. For more information about how to get involved, please
ILLINOIS – As she has done in the past, Chicago
Alderwoman Rugai is once again pursuing a “pit bull” ban,
this time under the same home rule authority that allowed Denver to
ban these dogs. (Both Illinois and Colorado have state laws which prohibit
local governments from enacting breed-specific legislation.) AKC has
worked closely over the years with Chicago’s Board of Aldermen,
Department of Animal Control, and local fanciers to oppose breed-specific
legislation and will continue to do so now. An unfortunate string of
dog attacks throughout Illinois also has some state legislators again
discussing introduction of breed-specific legislation in 2006. Illinois
dog owners are encouraged to monitor the situation closely. For more
information please contact the Illinois
Dog Clubs and Breeders Association.
- Mc Henry County has formed a Dangerous and Vicious Dog Task Force.
Task force members are aware of the state law prohibiting breed-specific
ordinances and have stated that they will pursue a reasonable, generic
dangerous dog ordinance. AKC has provided dangerous dog packets containing
model legislation and materials to members of the task force.
INDIANA – The Indianapolis City-County Council
is considering a proposal to deem Rottweilers, American Pit Bull Terriers,
Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terrier, “pit
bull” terriers and any mix of these dogs to be dangerous dogs.
Owners would be required to license these dogs and would be limited
to owning two such breeds. Dangerous dogs would be required to be kept
in a fenced yard, and a person must not be able to stick their fingers
or hand through the fence. The proposal was tabled by the Rules and
Public Policy Committee at a meeting in late September, but residents
are encouraged to contact their council member in opposition as the
proposal will likely be reconsidered at a later date. AKC has sent a
letter of opposition and provided materials to local fanciers. To find
out how to help oppose this proposal please contact the Hoosier
KANSAS – The Olathe City Council voted in favor
of a behavior-based dangerous dog law rather than the breed-specific
ordinance that had been requested by some residents. AKC sent a letter
to the council encouraging them to adopt such a proposal and sent materials,
including model legislation, to the mayor and city attorney. Congratulations
to all local dog owners who opposed the breed-specific proposal.
KENTUCKY – The City of Crestview Hills was considering
breed-specific legislation, but after a public hearing has decided to
redraft the proposal as a generic dangerous dog ordinance. It is not
known when the new proposal will before the council. AKC sent a letter
to city officials explaining why breed-specific legislation is not effective
at improving public safety. Congratulations to the dog owners who worked
to oppose this proposal.
- The Louisville Metro Council is considering a dangerous dog ordinance
which would deem Rottweilers and “pit bulls” (defined as
American Stafforshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American
Pit Bull Terriers or any mixed breed dog displaying similar characteristics)
to be dangerous dogs. The proposal places several onerous restrictions
on owners of these breeds, including requiring them to abide by extreme
care conditions and to provide proof of $500,000 worth of liability
insurance. The Louisville Kennel Club worked with the Jefferson County
government several years ago to write a strong, generic dangerous dog
law and that law was carried over to the new metro government when the
city and county governments were merged two years ago. Louisville Kennel
Club members are working with local elected officials and staff to ensure
that they are aware of the current ordinance and to see that the ordinance
is being appropriately enforced. For more information please contact
the Louisville Kennel Club.
LOUISANA- The City of Ball is considering revising
its dangerous dog ordinance to deem “pit bulls” (not currently
defined) as dangerous dogs. The ordinance has not yet been drafted,
so local residents are encouraged to contact their city council members
to oppose any ordinance that is breed-specific. For more information
please contact email@example.com.
MASSACHUSETTS - The City of Dalton is considering
banning dogs in parks due to owners’ negligence in cleaning up
after their dogs. Other possible changes suggested at a recent city
council meeting include creation of a dog park, enforcing maximum fines
on those who do not cleanup and changing the manner in which city dog
licenses are issued. The city has asked the animal control officer to
present regulation language and fine recommendations at its next council
MISSOURI – The City of Shrewsbury has adopted
an ordinance which bans all “pit bulls” and Rottweilers
from the city limits. The ordinance defines “pit bulls”
as American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American
Bull Dogs, or any dog with parents of these breeds or that resembles
these breeds. The proposal was adopted before AKC became aware of it.
AKC has sent a letter expressing our opposition to breed-specific legislation
and asking the council to consider repealing the ordinance in favor
of a fair and reasonable dangerous dog law.
- Councilman Keith Schildroth of Florissant is drafting an ordinance
which would ban “pit bulls” from the city. As the proposal
has not yet been a finalized, a listing of which breeds would be covered
is not yet available. The proposal comes in the wake of a recent dog
attack. AKC sent a statement of opposition, along with model legislation
we feel to be reasonable, to city officials. The measure is scheduled
to be voted on as this newsletter goes to press.
NEW JERSEY – Asm. Rumpf has introduced A4425,
which provides for the regulation and licensing of dog trainers. The
bill has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Regulated Professions
and Independent Authorities. For more information please contact the
New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs.
NEW MEXICO – Councilwoman Sally Mayer of Albuquerque
continues to refine her HEART ordinance, a complete rewrite of the city’s
animal code. The current 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 ordinance
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
two intact companion animals of the same species, even with a permit.
Albuquerque residents should contact their councilmembers if they have
not done so already, and urge them to vote “no” on this
measure. For more information, contact the Rio
Grande Kennel Club.
NORTH CAROLINA – The Marion City Council has
enacted a generic dangerous dog ordinance. Previously the council had
considered a proposal to ban Rottweilers, “pit bulls,” and
any dog with “vicious tendencies.” The term “pit bull”
was not defined in the original proposal. AKC notified local officials
of our opposition to the breed-specific legislation and provided them
with model dangerous dog legislation.
OREGON – The Salem City Council recently decided
not to pursue a leash law. Officials cited a state law requiring owners
to have control over their animals at all times, regardless of whether
they are on a leash or not, as the reason behind their decision.
PENNSYLVANIA – Rep. Stevenson is sponsoring
HB1737 to require dogs and other pets to be buckled
into pet seats or confined in crates while in moving vehicles. The law
would expressly prohibit dogs from sticking their heads out the window.
The bill has been assigned to the House Transportation Committee, but
the chairman has said that there are no plans for a hearing date.
- Rep. O’Neill has introduced H2194, a bill
to establish the Pet Groomers Licensing Board. The board will have the
power to regulate all aspects of the grooming industry, to inspect facilities,
and to suspend licenses and registration of groomers.
- Manheim Township has repealed their 15-year-old limit law which restricted
residents to two dogs and two cats. According to the township manager,
the provision was originally enacted due to complaints about roaming
animals, but in recent years the city has received far more complaints
about the arbitrary nature of the limit law.
TEXAS – The El Paso Board of Health has approved
revisions to a proposed animal control ordinance, which will now go
to the City Council. The proposal includes a $75 litter permit, a limit
of one litter per year, and mandatory microchipping. The measure will
allow animal control officers to go door-to-door to enforce the provisions
of the ordinance. Fanciers are urged to immediately contact their city
council members and ask them to request removal of these restrictions.
- Although no member of the Austin City Council has yet committed to
sponsoring a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance proposed by the Animal
Advisory Commission, the Commission is discussing amendments and is
planning to schedule a public meeting in early 2006. AKC will provide
details as they become available. Local dog owners are encouraged to
inform their representatives of their opposition to this type of legislation.
Under the current proposal, exceptions from mandatory spay/neuter would
be allowed only if the animal is deemed medically unsuited to the procedure,
if 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.
- The San Antonio Animal Care Services Advisory Board is developing
a "Strategic Plan" to address local animal problems. The Responsible
Pet Owners Alliance believes that the proposal will likely include mandatory
spay/neuter provisions and breeder permits. The Board will hold its
next meeting on January 11th at 6:30 in the Municipal Plaza "C"
Room. Local dog owners are encouraged to attend.
Please contact the Responsible Pet
Owners Alliance for more information on how you can help in El Paso,
Austin or San Antonio.
WASHINGTON – The Tacoma City Council’s
Public Safety and Human Services Committee is considering changes to
the city’s dangerous dog ordinance. It is possible that the
committee may consider some form of breed-specific legislation. AKC
has sent a statement opposing breed-specific legislation and encouraging
the committee to instead consider strong generic dangerous dog legislation.
To find out how you can assist in Tacoma please contact the Doberman
Pinscher Club of America.
WEST VIRGINIA – The City of Charleston continues
to consider strengthening its dangerous dog ordinance with a possible
view toward breed-specific legislation. Concerned dog owners should
contact ColbyH304@aol.com to
find out how they can help ensure that Charleston adopts a fair and
enforceable dangerous dog law.
- The Charleston City planning office had recommended that the city
revise its limit law to allow residents to own 3 dogs rather than 2
without a special permit, but the proposal was not approved by the City
Council’s Public Safety Committee. The City has changed the law
to allow humane officers to enforce the limit, rather than the planning
office which had been previously charged with enforcement.
UNITED STATES - Rep. Petri is authoring HR4239,
a bill to provide the Department of Justice with the authority to apprehend,
prosecute and convict individuals committing acts of animal terrorism.
Sen. Inhofe is sponsoring S1926, a similar measure
in the Senate.