Legislation That Affects You
ALABAMA – The City of Wilton has voted unanimously
to adopt a leash law. The ordinance requires that a dog be confined
by a fence, electronic fence or on a leash. Violators can be fined $50
plus court costs for a first offense and $100 and $200 respectively
for second and third offenses.
ARKANSAS – Without the knowledge of local fanciers,
the Town of McGehee has adopted a new ordinance which will ban “pit
bulls,” defined as “Stafforshires, American bulldogs and
dogs recognizable as ‘pit bulls’” from being kept
in the city limits. A grandfather clause allows existing “pit
bulls” to remain if they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated
for rabies and have a tattooed registration number on their abdomen.
Additionally, the dogs must be kept in a secure enclosure or on a leash
of 6-feet or less.
CALIFORNIA – Sen. Speier’s SB861, to repeal California’s prohibition on breed-specific local ordinances, has
passed the assembly Local Government Committee and now heads to the
Assembly floor. The amended bill will now allow cities and counties
to enact breed-specific ordinances that require mandatory spay/neuter
or impose breeding restrictions on certain breeds. For more information,
and to find out how you can help, please read our feature article at
(webmaster link to Californian Fanciers Fight to Keep Preemptive Breed-Specific
Sen. Kehoe’s SB914, which makes it a misdemeanor
to sell any dog under 8 weeks of age, has passed the Assembly Business
and Professions Committee and will now be heard in the Assembly Appropriations
Committee. Recent amendments reduce the classifications of the charges,
but they remain animal cruelty offenses. The bill has also been amended
to exempt rescue groups and to allow puppies less than 8 weeks old to
be sold with written approval of a licensed veterinarian.
- A district court judge has ruled in favor of dog owners who were
ticketed for walking their dogs off-leash at Crissy Field in San Francisco.
The judge affirmed a lower court's determination that the Golden Gate
National Recreation Area should have complied with required public comment
sessions and held a rule-making session prior to changing their off-leash
policy. A Negotiated Rulemaking Committee has been formed to address
the situation. Officials have stated that they hope to find a compromise
that would allow some lands to remain off-leash areas.
- The El Dorado County Board of Supervisors has increased the fees
for dog licenses. The fee for an altered dog will go from $10 to $15,
and the fee for an unaltered dog will rise from $20 to $35. Additionally,
the Animal Control Division will be offering a 3-year license for $35
for altered animals and $90 for unaltered animals. There will also be
fee increases for adoptions, kennel licenses, animals that have been
impounded, and euthanasia. A new fee for investigating and licensing
dangerous dogs will be $500 for the first year and $100 for annual renewals.
- Contra Costa County is considering proposals to strengthen its dangerous
dog ordinance. Potential remedies include mandatory spay/neuter of dangerous
dogs, new license fees, distinctive identification tags, microchipping
and large fines for potentially dangerous dogs found at large. Currently,
on a first offense, animal control officers can only recommend that
the owner keep better control of his or her dogs. County officials are
also looking into the possibility of making it illegal for convicted
criminals to own dangerous dogs.
For more information about pending California legislation, contact
the Animal Council
DELAWARE – New Castle County has tabled an ordinance which will
set new fines for unrestrained animals and excessive noise. The proposal
would have assessed fines of $100-$250 for the first violation of an
unrestrained animal and $250 for the first violation of excessive animal
noise. Dog owners are encouraged to monitor the situation and to see
if the ordinance is placed back on the council agenda.
FLORIDA –The Citrus County Commission has unanimously
rejected a proposal that would have restricted owners to a cumulative
6 dogs and/or cats and would have prohibited breeding and sale of dogs
or cats from a residential structure. Congratulations to all who worked
to defeat this measure.
- Palm Beach County continues to consider numerous changes to their
existing animal control ordinance. First, the definition of hobby breeder
has been revised to limit these breeders to 2 litters or less annually.
Anyone who sells more than 2 litters per year will be defined as a “pet dealer” and required to comply with excessive regulations
that significantly expand the state pet dealer law. The proposal also
allows for inspections without a warrant, mandates microchipping and
makes a host of other changes. Helped is needed to oppose this measure
as it is currently written. For additional information about Palm
Beach please contact Pat
Wener or Florida
- A proposed rewrite of the Orange County animal control ordinance
affects many areas of dog ownership. First, it establishes a “pet
dealer” defined as anyone who engages in the sale of more than
2 litters or twenty dogs per year. Although the definition is consistent
with state law, in Orange County this classification will require compliance
with added registration requirements and inspections. It will also require
that any time an animal is left alone there be an emergency contact
available. The county is also extensively rewriting their dangerous
dog ordinance. Area fanciers are concerned about the lack of an exemption
for dogs that have been provoked, as well as a vaguely defined process
for designating an animal dangerous.
- The City of Hollywood is expected to repeal an ordinance that requires
owners of dangerous dogs to purchase a $100,000 liability policy. Officials
point to a lack of insurance companies willing to write the policies,
and also note that the ordinance was unenforceable and created a burden
on the residents. Instead of relying on this ineffective insurance policy
requirement, the council intends to strengthen its rules on what constitutes
pet neglect and increase enforcement to promote animal welfare.
For additional information contact the Florida Association of Kennel
ILLINOIS – Rep. Mitchell is sponsoring H2946
to make it illegal for a person convicted of a felony to knowingly own,
possess, have custody of, or reside in a residence with an unsterilized
dog older than 12 weeks of age or an adult dog weighing more than 30
pounds. H2946 will require that any dog owned, possessed by, or in the
custody of such a person must be microchipped. A violation of this act
is a Class A misdemeanor. The bill exempts felons who owned, possessed,
or had custody of the dog before the commission of the felony, but these
felons must have the dog microchipped and sterilized. H2946 has passed
to House and is in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting assignment to
a policy committee.
LOUISIANA – The City of Shreveport has repeatedly
postponed voting on a proposal to deem “pit bulls” and Rottweilers
vicious dogs. The ordinance defines “pit bulls” as American
Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire
Terriers or any mixed breed of these breeds. AKC sent a letter of opposition
and model dangerous dog legislation we feel to be reasonable to the
Mayor and members of the City Council.
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.
- The City of Phillipston has enacted a new dangerous dog law. Originally
they were considering a breed-specific proposal which would have deemed
“pit bulls,” American Staffordshire Terriers, American Staffordshire
Bull Terriers and any dog displaying similar physical traits as dangerous.
Thanks to hard work on the part of local fanciers, the council instead
adopted a non-breed specific ordinance based on the dog’s actions
and which has an exception for provocation. Congratulations to all who
worked on this important legislation.
For more information, contact the Massachusetts Federation of Dog
Clubs, visit the website
MARYLAND – Governor Ehrlich has vetoed S347,
a bill to make owners of animals who cause injury or death of a pet
liable for compensatory damages of up to $10,000.
MICHIGAN – Residents in Livonia are asking the
City Council to revamp their animal control ordinance by adding a leash
law. The City Council has referred the matter to a legislative committee
for study, but a date for a meeting has not yet been set.
MISSOURI - The City of Highlandville is no longer
charging $8 for dog licenses, but instead are providing them free of
charge. Residents are required to have their dogs vaccinated for rabies.
MISSISSIPPI - The City of Purvis is considering an
ordinance that will prohibit dogs from running at large within the city
limits unless they have been vaccinated and tagged for rabies. It will
also prohibit female dogs in heat and dogs labeled as vicious from running
at-large. The proposal will allow the animals to be destroyed without
notice to the owner if it appears rabid, dangerous or vicious.
MONTANTA – The Town of Darby rejected a proposal
to prohibit residents from owning “Bull Terriers, Stafforshire
Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Stafforshire Terriers”
and any dog which is a mix of those breeds. Local fanciers and dog owners
were able to defeat the measure. AKC sent a letter of opposition to
the Darby Town Council. Congratulations to all who worked to defeat
NEW HAMPSHIRE –Sen. Roberge’s S36,
which would have assessed a $15 fee on all intact dogs and cats sold
at pet stores, failed to pass the House.
- S179 which will require hunters to report the death
or injury of domestic animals has been sent to the Conference Committee.
- S91, also by Sen. Roberge, will increase the co-pay
for spaying and neutering animals adopted from a shelter from $30 to
$40 and $15 to $25 for low-income residents. The bill has passed both
houses and has been sent to Governor Lynch.
NEW JERSEY - The City of Montclair is considering
a proposal to limit owners to 5 dogs in single family residences and
2 dogs in multi-family units. The ordinance would allow animal control
to confiscate additional animals and have them taken to a shelter or
euthanized. The proposal does not contain a grandfather clause for animals
already living in Montclair. AKC sent a letter of opposition to city
officials and provided fanciers with materials. For more information,
please contact the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs here.
- The City of Bridgeton is still considering a proposal to enact a
$100 license fee for unaltered animals. The measure also introduces
the use of the term “guardian” for the first time in city
code. Fanciers and local dog owners were able to get the proposal sent
back to a working group, but local participation is still needed to
oppose these restrictions. AKC has sent a letter urging the city not
to pass this ordinance and is working with local fanciers to provide
elected officials with alternatives. Please contact the New Jersey Federation
of Dog Clubs at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to
For additional information about pending legislation in New Jersey,
please contact the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs website.
NEW MEXICO – The new statewide dangerous dog
law went into effect June 17th. Under SB 432, felony
charges can be applied to owners of dogs that are deemed dangerous or
potentially dangerous that kill or maim another animal or person. AKC
and New Mexico fanciers opposed SB 432 because although it does not
target certain breeds, its vague definitions and the broad authority
it grants animal control officers may leave dog owners vulnerable to
NEW YORK – A8341, a bill by
Asm. O’Donnell, will protect residents in apartments and multi-unit
housing from being evicted based on their animal ownership. If the animal
is openly kept in the unit for 3 months and the landlord does not take
action against the tenant, the bill will make it unlawful to evict a
tenant based on their pet ownership. The bill is in the Assembly Housing
-Sen. Tonko’s S109 would repeal the Dangerous
Dog Advisory Board within the Department of Agriculture and Markets.
The bill passed the Senate and has been sent to the Assembly Committee
- Sen. Sabini is sponsoring S5454 to require that
pet dealers inform puppy purchasers about state dog licensing requirements.
Under current state law, pet dealers are defined as 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.
S5454 will be heard by the Senate Committee on Consumer Protection.
- The Town of Amherst has approved a new off-leash dog park at Paradise
Park. Supporters will now begin to raise the necessary $80,000 to build
the fence for the 2-acre park.
For more information on pending legislation in New York, please
contact the Responsible Dog Owners of New York (email)
or the Long Island Coalition of Dog Fanciers (email).
OHIO – Rep. Walcher’s H189 has been assigned to the Agriculture
and Natural Resources Committee. The bill will repeal Ohio’s current breed-specific law which lists “pit bulls” as inherently vicious dogs. The bill will also expand
hearing rights for those whose dogs have been declared vicious or dangerous.
H189 does provide for additional remedies for dangerous dogs including
mandatory muzzling anytime the dog is off the owner’s property and a limit of one dangerous dog per household.
For more information, read the Canine Legislation department’s alert at their website
For more information on pending legislation in Ohio please contact
the Ohio Valley Dog Owners email
or website or Canine Friends
of Cleveland Email.
OKLAHOMA – The City of Muskogee is now requiring
dog owners to license and vaccinate their pets. Under the new ordinance,
intact animals can be registered for $15 and licenses for spayed or
neutered dogs are $5. Owners who fail to license their dogs can be fined
up to $200 and those who abandon their dogs can face a $500 fine and
be sentenced to up to 30 days in jail.
OREGON - The City of Salem is considering enacting
a city-wide leash law. Staff members have been directed to prepare a
report for the Council.
RHODE ISLAND – H6371 by Rep.
Coderre 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. The bill has passed the House and now moves to
the Senate Committee on Constitutional and Gaming Issues.
- Rep. Shanley is sponsoring H5318 which will give
authorities more power to revoke animal licenses based on cruelty violations.
The bill has passed the House and is headed to the Senate Committee
on Constitutional and Gaming Issues.
SOUTH CAROLINA – Rep. Neal Jo is sponsoring
H4225 which will make it a felony to intentionally
abandon a dog in a street, road, highway, or other public place or private
property. The bill also makes it a felony to fail to report the dog
as lost to local law enforcement. Upon conviction, the owner can be
fined up to $1000 or imprisoned for up to 3 years. The bill was assigned
to the House Judiciary Committee. A similar bill, H4226,
which does not make failure to report the dog as missing as a crime,
will also be heard by the House Judiciary Committee.
- The City of Greenville has approved an ordinance which will allow
animal control officers to take into custody, without a warrant or court
order, any dog which viciously mauled or attacked a person or a pet
in the city. The city had been following the state rabies law which
allows owners to keep their animals pending court action.
TENNESSEE – The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson
County is considering a proposed Companion Animal Hoarding Act. The
ordinance would make it a misdemeanor to possess more than 5 animals
and not provide them with adequate care and shelter, as specifically
defined in the ordinance. Local dog owners are concerned that this creates
the potential for anyone with 5 or more animals to be defined as a hoarder.
For additional information please contact the Responsible Animal Owners
of Tennessee at email.
TEXAS –HB326 by Rep. Goodman
and its companion SB172 by Senator Harris both died
at the close of session. The bills would have amended the state's cruelty
law in several ways that fanciers believed could negatively impact hunters.
- Rep. Eissler’s HB663 failed to pass the House
County Affairs Committee and died at the close of session. The bill
would have made it a nuisance for dogs to bark or make other noises
outside in certain areas of the state. The bill directed animal control
to take into account the time of day, proximity of the noise to others
and whether the barking was intermittent or constant when determining
- HB521, sponsored by Rep. Goolsby, failed to receive
approval from the House Committee on Agriculture and Livestock and died
at the close of session. HB521 would have made it a crime to leave a
dog chained or tethered to a tree, stake, or other stationary object
for eight or more hours in a 24-hour period. There were exceptions provided
if the restraining device was at least 10-feet long, was attached to
a 25-foot pulley and the dog had adequate access to food, water and
- Back in April, hard-working fanciers in El Paso were able to prevent
a proposed breeding restriction ordinance from going to the City Council.
A subcommittee was created to address concerns raised in the original
proposal. The subcommittee was successful in getting breeder permits
and an animal limit law removed from the proposal, which was approved
by the Board of Health in June and is now before the El Paso City Council.
Fanciers continue to have concerns about some of the vague language
in the ordinance, mandatory microchipping and differential licensing,
however the subcommittee will continue working to address these issues.
AKC has sent model legislation and materials to local fanciers who are
part of this working group. Congratulations to all on their successful
efforts to date! Please contact Jinnie Strickland of the Onate Trail
Dog Fanciers Association at email
for more information.
- 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. For more information
on how you can help, please read AKC’s Legislative Alert at website.
You may also contact RPOA emailfor
For more information on the above bills, contact the Responsible
Pet Owners Alliance (website)
or (email) for further information.
VIRGINIA - The City of Spotsylvania is reviewing its
dangerous dog law in light of several recent dog attacks. Local fanciers
and the AKC have been working to ensure that the city adopts a strong,
enforceable, non-breed specific ordinance. Council members have been
receptive to the model ordinances presented by local dog owners, however
the council is now considering a limit law as part of their new proposal,
so more input from local dog owners is needed. For more information,
contact Maureen Hill-Hauch at email.
WEST VIRGINIA – The Huntington City Council
is reviewing a proposal that would require a dog that has bitten or
attacked a person to be quarantined at the animal shelter or a veterinary
kennel, rather than at the owner’s home, which is allowed under
WISCONSIN – The City of Wisconsin Rapids is
considering a dangerous animal ordinance which would define a dangerous
animal as one that approaches or chases a person or domestic animal
in a menacing fashion or has an attitude of attack. The definition would
also include any animal that bites, inflicts injury or endangers the
safety of human beings or domestic animals. Exemptions are allowed for
animals that have been provoked.
UNITED STATES PAWS
Info Center - On May 26, 2005 Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Senator
Richard Durban (D-IL) introduced 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. Specifically,
the bill will require USDA licensing for those who breed and sell 7
litters or more per year and sell more than 25 dogs per year. Both conditions
must be met before a breeder would require a USDA license. Persons who
import large numbers of dogs for resale will also be covered. The legislation
also strengthens the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ability to enforce compliance with the Animal Welfare
Act and to identify persons who are evading the Act. 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