Legislation That Affects You
ARIZONA – Rep. Nelson’s H2302 increases
penalties for animal cruelty. The bill adds requirements for necessary
food, water, shelter and basic care. H2302 was referred to both the
House Committee on Natural Resources and the House Committee on Rules.
– Rep. Downing is sponsoring H2489, a bill that establishes animal
fighting as a Class 5 felony. The bill further provides penalties for
training animals to fight, holding a fight on premises, or attending
a fight. H2489 was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary and
the House Committee on Rules.
– After continued opposition to a proposed ban on “pit
bulls,” Show Low city officials have agreed to consider alternate
dangerous dog legislation. AKC sent a statement of opposition and materials
to the mayor and city council in January. The Canine Legislation will
continue to monitor this issue closely.
CALIFORNIA – Congratulations to the many dog
and cat fanciers who worked diligently to oppose a proposed breeding
permit ordinance in Madera County! The proposal included a $100 annual
license for intact dogs or cats and a $100 breeding permit. The ordinance
also used the term “guardian” interchangeably with owner.
The Canine Legislation department provided fanciers with materials and
sent a letter outlining AKC’s opposition to breeding restrictions
and the use of the term “guardian” to the Board of Supervisors
– The Animal Council reports that the San Francisco Board of
Supervisors passed a new animal control ordinance in January. The measure
requires the owner of a dog that has bitten someone to provide necessary
information to the victim. It also grants the dangerous dog hearing
officer the authority to prohibit the dog’s owner from owning
dogs for up to three years following a bite or attack incident. Finally,
the measure provides for a standard of care for dogs living outdoors.
An exemption is provided for the homeless.
– After Stanislaus County’s two new Board of Supervisors
voiced their opposition to provisions of the county’s newly-adopted
breeder licensing ordinance, the measure was pulled and returned to
staff for further study and consideration. The ordinance includes differential
licensing and a $100 breeder permit. A revised ordinance is expected
in February. AKC encourages local fanciers to work with the Board of
Supervisors to enact a reasonable ordinance that does not unfairly punish
responsible owners and breeders. For more information on how you can
help, contact the Animal Council.
COLORADO – H1055, sponsored by Rep. Ragsdale,
was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary. The bill would require
any person found guilty of injuring or killing a police, fire, or search
and rescue dog to pay restitution for the veterinary care or replacement
of the animal.
– Kudos to the Glenwood Springs city council for overturning
a three-pet limit ordinance approved late last year! Council members
have agreed to work with pet advocates to develop alternate measures
to resolve nuisance complaints and pet-related disputes among neighbors.
CONNECTICUT – Two similar bills pertaining to
animal trusts were introduced in the House in January. H5150, sponsored
by Rep. Chapin, authorizes the creation of trusts to provide for the
care of pets and other animals. The bill was referred to the House Committee
on Judiciary. Rep. O’Brien’s H5381 also provides for the
creation of animal trusts and authorizes the Connecticut Humane Society
to serve as a trustee. H5381 has been referred to the Joint Committee
– Rep. Miner is sponsoring H5445, a bill that prohibits the transportation
of dogs in the open bed of a truck or vehicle unless the dog is protected
from falling or jumping out of the vehicle. The bill was referred to
the Joint Committee on Transportation.
FLORIDA – Following a recent dog attack, officials
in Orlando are considering a breed-specific dangerous dog ordinance.
Such an ordinance would be in direct conflict with state law prohibiting
municipalities from enacting breed-specific laws. The Canine Legislation
department sent a letter of opposition to the mayor and city council
in January. For more information contact Diane
Albers, Florida Association of Kennel Clubs.
GEORGIA – Rep. Williams has introduced H78,
a bill that prohibits ownership of “pit bulls,” American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull
Terriers, or any dog displaying a majority of traits of those breeds.
The bill 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 bill
was referred to the House Committee on Special Judiciary. 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, contact the Georgia
Canine Coalition or see our Legislative Alert here.
HAWAII – Sen. Ihara is sponsoring S88, a bill
that increases the penalty for animal cruelty from a misdemeanor to
a Class C felony.
INDIANA – Rep. Cheney’s H1084 was referred
to the House Committee on Public Health in January. The bill requires
licensing for pet stores. The license will not be required for animal
shelters, pet stores that sell fewer than six animals per year, and
individuals who sell only animals that they have bred. A license carries
a fee of $200 for the first year and $100 each year thereafter.
– Sponsored by Rep. Bischoff, H1620 provides for a local option
companion animal tax to fund municipal animal control facilities. The
local tax may not exceed $5 per animal. The bill further replaces the
current dog tax and kennel fee with a state tax of $1 per dog and abolishes
the dog census. H1620 was referred to the House Committee on Ways and
– Under Rep. Pelath’s H1759, an owner of a vicious dog
that injures another person and does not have at least $100,000 in liability
insurance is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty is increased
to a Class D felony if the owner has a prior conviction for harboring
a vicious dog or if the dog injures a child. H1759’s definition
of a vicious dog includes “pit bulls, ” American Staffordshire
Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and wolf-hybrids. The bill was
referred to the House Committee on Courts and Criminal Code. The American
Kennel Club opposes the breed-specific language in this bill.
KANSAS – The House Agriculture Committee is
considering H2054, a bill that increases fees for hobby breeder, kennel,
and pet shop licenses. H2054 increases the license fee for hobby breeders
and kennels from a maximum of $75 to $113 and the fee for pet shops
to a maximum of $450. Existing law defines a hobby breeder as any individual
that breeds between three to five litters for sale per year. Kennel
is defined as a site where four or more animals are maintained within
a week for the purposes of boarding or training.
MAINE – S42, sponsored by Sen. Andrews, requires
the Commissioner of Agriculture to create and maintain a publicly accessible
Internet database of all dog licenses in the state that includes the
name and contact information of the owner for each licensed dog. S42
was referred to the Joint Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and
– Rep. Koffman’s H155 has been referred to the Joint Committee
on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. The bill amends outdoor shelter
requirements for dogs to include a four-sided structure and bedding
sufficient to contain the dog’s body heat.
MARYLAND – Del. McIntosh is sponsoring H104,
a bill that requires the Secretary of Agriculture to maintain animal
health records in a manner that protects the identities of animal owners.
The bill was referred to the House Committee on Environmental Matters.
MISSISSIPPI – The Mississippi Canine Coalition
and the American Kennel Club support Rep. Carter-Carlson’s H1032
and Rep. Fillingane’s H1222, an identical bill. The bills make
several improvements to the state’s existing animal cruelty law,
including increasing penalties for animal cruelty offenses, requiring
training and certification for animal cruelty officers, and revising
the process for the lawful seizure of animals in cases of abuse of neglect.
H1032 was referred to the House Judiciary B Committee and, along with
H1222, the House Agriculture Committee. Companion bills, Sen. Dawkin’s
S2388, Sen. Wilemon’s S2848, and Sen. Nunnelee’s S2849,
are currently being considered in the Senate. For more information,
contact the Mississippi Canine
– S2318, introduced by Sen. Cuevas, provides for a voluntary
income tax election whereby individuals may designate a portion of their
income tax refund to establish and support a state Animal Care Fund.
The bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.
NEW HAMPSHIRE – Sen. Roberge is sponsoring S36,
a bill that requires pet stores to charge an additional $15 fee for
each unaltered cat or dog sold. The fee will support a companion animal
neutering fund. For more information, contact Dog
Owners of the Granite State.
NEW MEXICO – In January, Sen. Sue Wilson Beffort
introduced the S188. The bill severely restricts the ownership of “pit
bulls” or any dog identifiable as or known as a pit bull. Under
the bill’s provisions, residents may not acquire a pit bull after
July 1, 2005 or breed a pit bull either privately or commercially. Current
owners of the breed may keep their dogs if they are:
• Spayed or neutered
• Licensed at a cost of $250 per year
• Kept indoors or outside in a six-foot-tall iron or steel pen
• Chained and muzzled when off the owner’s property
• Covered by a $100,000 liability insurance policy or surety bond.
Pit bull owners will face $1000 fine if their dog is found at large.
In addition, S188 automatically declares the following breeds “dangerous”
and subjects them to additional fines and restrictions: Akita, Alaskan
Malamute, American or “Old Country” Bull Dog, Boxer, Presa Canario, Chow Chow, Doberman
Pinscher, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Rottweiler, Siberian Husky and
wolf-hybrids. Finally, S188 would impose new fines on owners of any
dogs that bite. AKC and the Rio Grande Kennel Club oppose this bill.
For more information, please contact the Rio
Grande Kennel Club or see our Legislative Alert here.
NEW YORK – A296, introduced by Asm. Tonko, increases
the penalty for injuring or killing a police animal from a Class A misdemeanor
to a Class E felony. The bill was referred to the Assembly Committee
on Codes. A companion bill, Sen. Maziarz’s S701, was referred
to the Senate Committee on Codes.
– Asm. Lavelle is sponsoring A407, a bill that exempts medicine
and drugs used to treat animals from sales tax. A407 has been referred
to the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means.
– Asm. Stringer’s A1368 amends the penal code to include
the theft of a pet, defined as a licensed dog or cat, as a crime of
fourth degree grand larceny. The bill was referred to the Assembly Committee
on Codes. A companion bill, Sen. Marcellino’s S663, was referred
to the Senate Committee on Codes.
– S109, sponsored Sen. Maziarz, was referred to the Senate Committee
on Local Government. The bill repeals the creation of the dangerous
dog advisory board within the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
S109 also amends state law to require that the owner of a dangerous
dog report the dog’s presence to the local municipal clerk.
– Sponsored by Sen. Breslin, S228 provides that the owner of
a dog that has injured a person is liable for the cost of medical treatment
for the injury. The bill allows for additional liability in cases where
the animal exhibited dangerous or vicious propensities and the owner
had knowledge of those propensities. S228 provides exemptions for police,
hearing, and service dogs. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee
OHIO – Canine Friends of Cleveland reports that
Maple Heights Safety Committee has asked the City Council to delay its
vote on a proposed animal limit ordinance in order to study the issue
further. The current proposal limits residents to a total of five cats
or dog per household. The Canine Legislation department sent a statement
of opposition and materials to city officials and with continue to support
the efforts of Canine Friend of Cleveland and others working to oppose
the measure. For more information, contact Canine
Friends of Cleveland.
OKLAHOMA – Sponsored by Sen. Reynolds, S247
repeals the state’s current dangerous dog law that prohibits municipalities
from enacting breed-specific laws. The Canine Legislation department
believes that Oklahoma’s current dangerous dog law forces all
dog owners to be responsible regardless of the breed they own, and we
are working with fanciers to oppose this legislation. For more information
on how you can help oppose this bill, please view AKC’s
– Rep. Guy Liebmann has withdrawn H1282, a companion bill to
S247, from consideration. Congratulations to the many dog owners who
alerted Rep. Liebmann to the problems with breed-specific legislation!
OREGON – H2022, introduced by Rep. Minnis, expands
the crime of animal abuse to include actions relating to assistance
animals. The bill provides that the crime of negligently hindering a
service animal is punishable as a Class A misdemeanor and carries a
fine of $6,250 and/or up to a year in jail. Intentionally hindering
or injuring a service animal is punishable as a Class C felony and carries
a fine of up to $125,000 and/or up to five years in prison. H2022 was
referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
– Sen. Courtney’s S246 requires that certain public and
private officials report suspected animal abuse. The list of officials
includes veterinarians, doctors, social workers and peace officers.
The bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
PENNSYLVANIA – Officials in Tarentum Borough
may soon consider a new dangerous dog ordinance with a view toward targeting
certain breeds. Pennsylvania’s dangerous dog law precludes municipalities
from enacting breed-specific laws. AKC sent materials and a statement
opposing breed-specific legislation to the mayor and borough council.
For more information, contact the Pennsylvania
Federation of Dog Clubs.
– Similarly, the Borough of West Chester may also soon consider
breed-specific dangerous dog legislation. The Canine Legislation department
sent a letter outlining the AKC’s position on breed-specific regulations
and materials to local dog owners.
RHODE ISLAND – H5059, introduced by Rep. Palumbo,
establishes a voluntary income tax election whereby individuals may
designate a portion of their income tax refund to establish and support
low-cost spay/neuter programs. The bill was referred to the House Committee
TEXAS – Hunters and dog fanciers in Texas are
extremely concerned about HB326 and its companion, SB172. The identical
bills would amend the state’s cruelty law in several ways. In
particular, the measures make it a crime to cause bodily injury to an
animal, with “animal” being defined as any “nonhuman
mammal, bird or captive amphibian or reptile.” The exemption for
wild creatures has been removed. Furthermore, while the existing cruelty
law includes a straightforward exemption for hunters, HB326/SB172 changes
that language to say that hunting may be used as a defense if you are
prosecuted for animal cruelty. These changes could mean that hunters
may more easily be charged with cruelty and consequently be forced to
defend themselves in court.
Texas fanciers and sportsmen support proper care and humane treatment
of all animals through strong enforcement of the state’s existing
cruelty statute. The AKC encourages concerned dog owners to work with
the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance on this issue. For more information,
VIRGINIA – Del. Kilgore has struck H2927 from
the docket. The bill would have required "releasing agencies"
to sterilize and microchip all animals prior to adoption. Releasing
agencies were defined animal shelters, rescue groups, dealers, pet stores,
and "for-profit breeders." Responsible hobby breeders who
sell any animals to the public regardless of whether they truly make
money or even recoup veterinary expenses, would likely have been considered
for-profit. Violators face a $150 fine. The bill further required “dealers”
to obtain a $150 annual business license. In Virginia, "dealers"
include "anyone who in the regular course of business for compensation
or profit buys, sells, transfers, exchanges or barters companion animals."
Under the bill, dealers could not advertise their services without a
valid business license, and the license number would have to be included
in any newspaper advertisements. Violations of any portion of the licensing
requirement would be fined $1,000. The American Kennel Club and the
Virginia Federation of Dog Club and Breeders congratulate fanciers who
quickly mobilized to oppose H2927!
– Del. Cole’s H1612 was withdrawn in January. The bill
would have made it illegal for hunting dogs to cross private property
without the property owner’s permission. Violators would have
been subject to a Class 4 misdemeanor. Congratulations to all those
who worked to oppose H1612!
– Del. Hargrove is sponsoring H1884, a bill that allows municipalities
to charge up to $35 for a pet license and an extra $2 fee for each additional
dog or cat. Proceeds collected from these fees will support local animal
shelters and low-cost spay/neuter programs. H1884 was referred to the
House Agriculture Chesapeake & Natural Resources.
– H2221, sponsored by Del. Rust, provides that towns without
animal control legislation may enforce animal laws from a surrounding
county if they so choose. The bill was referred to both the House Committee
on Counties, Cities, and Towns and the House Agriculture Chesapeake
& Natural Resources.
– Del. Athey’s H2338 provides that municipalities must
require any dealer or pet shop operator to obtain a permit. Previously,
municipalities had the option of requiring a permit. The Virginia Federation
of Dog Club and Breeders opposes this measure as it may open the door
to required permits for hobby breeders.
– Del. Scott is sponsoring H2723, a bill that allows municipalities
to regulate potentially dangerous dogs, defined as those that, when
unprovoked, have endangered a person by exhibiting threatening behavior
associated with an attack. The Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and
Breeders has concerns with the bill’s vague language and the power
it gives to humane officers to declare a dog potentially dangerous.
– S765, introduced by Sen. Locke, increases the amount municipalities
may charge for animal licenses to up to $10 for altered animals and
up to $30 for unaltered animals. The bill further increases the fee
for kennel licenses from $50 to $75. S765 was referred to the Senate
Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources. The Virginia
Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders opposes this bill.
– Sen. Potts has introduced two animal-related bills. S775 provides
criminal penalties for individuals who abandon, dump, or dispose of
companion animals within a highway right-of-way. Violators are subject
to fines of up to $2500 and/or up to 12 months in jail. The bill was
referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation. S952 has passed
the Senate and now moves to the House. The bill requires instruction
relating to the humane treatment of animals including responsible animal
ownership in public school character development programs.
Many of the bills noted above saw action recently. For more information
on the most recent status of a bill, please contact the Virginia
Federation of Dog Owners and Breeders.
WASHINGTON – Rep. Campbell has once again introduced
legislation that would prohibit insurance companies from discriminating
against homeowners based on the breed of dog they own. H1016 presents
a very reasonable alternative—insurance companies can raise rates
or refuse coverage only if a dog has been deemed dangerous based on
existing state law. The American Kennel Club believes that insurance
companies should determine coverage of a dog-owning household based
on the dog’s deeds, not the dog’s breed, and we encourage
your support of this important bill! Contact your state legislators
and ask them to support H1016. To find out who represents you, click
– H1150, sponsored by Rep. Kirby, prohibits cities and counties
from adopting breed-specific dangerous dog legislation. The bill also
exempts both potentially dangerous and dangerous dog from liability
in the event an attack was provoked, tormented or defending its owner/property.
H1150 was referred to the House Committee on Judiciary. AKC supports
– Sen. Carrell is sponsoring S5128, a bill that adds “sale
of purchase of a dog with the intent to fight it” to the crime
of animal cruelty. The bill also stipulates that the mere ownership
or possession of any animal does not automatically create the presumption
that animal is owned for the purpose of fighting. S5128 was referred
to the Senate Committee on Judiciary.
– In spite of objections from AKC, other animal groups, and concerned
dog owners, officials in Pasco recently approved a breed-specific dangerous
dog ordinance. The measure automatically designates “pit bulls,”
Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Staffordshire Bull
Terriers as “potentially” dangerous dogs. Owners of these
breeds must purchase an annual $250 permit and obtain $250,000 in liability
insurance. Exemptions from the permit requirement for the potentially
dangerous classification are provided for dogs that pass AKC’s
Canine Good Citizen certification. The law takes effect on July 1, 2005.
WISCONSIN – Polk County officials are currently
considering revisions to the county’s animal control ordinance.
The measure includes ambiguous provisions for nuisance behavior and
defines a commercial animal establishment as any entity that sells more
than two litters or two dogs or cats within one year. The Canine Legislation
department is working with local fanciers and the Dog Federation of
Wisconsin to oppose. For more information, contact the Dog
Federation of Wisconsin.
– The City of Racine is currently considering an animal control
ordinance that includes a $100 breeder permit and animal limits. The
Canine Legislation department sent a statement of opposition to city
officials in January. In response to opposition from AKC and concerned
fanciers city officials recently voted unanimously against a proposal
to add the term “guardian” to the city code wherever “owner”
is referenced. Contact the Dog Federation
of Wisconsin for information on how you can help.
WYOMING – Rep. Illoway’s H55 has passed
the house and now moves on to the Senate. The bill provides penalties
of up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $750 for harming
a service dog. H55 further provides that restitution be made to the
dog’s owner to cover the cost of the animal and any veterinary
– H130, sponsored by Rep. Gingery, authorizes county commissioners
to enact nuisance barking ordinances. The bill was referred to the House
Committee on Judiciary.
– Introduced by Rep.Warrren, H246 prohibits dogs from being transported
in open vehicles on public roads or highways without proper restraints.
Violators are subject to a $200 fine.