Legislation That Affects You
ARKANSAS – The City of Bentonville has tabled
a proposed ordinance which would ban “pit bulls,” defined
as American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and
Stafforshire Bull Terriers, from the city. After receiving letters from
several groups and model legislation from AKC, the city attorney asked
the council to table the ordinance in order to evaluate other options.
Concerned dog owners are encouraged to contact City Hall in support
of a strong dangerous dog ordinance that is not breed-specific.
CALIFORNIA – Governor Schwarzenegger has signed
SB861 into law. Beginning January 1, 2006 local governments
will be able to pass breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter ordinances,
and several have already announced their intentions to enact such measures.
AKC encourages all dog owners to remain vigilant for these types of
proposals and to begin preparing grassroots opposition campaigns now.
As a responsible dog owner there are many ways that you can help monitor
• Subscribe to your local newspaper and/or watch your local news
for animal-related stories.
• Frequently check city and county council agendas. Many municipalities
have websites where you can read about upcoming agenda items.
• Build and maintain good relationships with local government
officials. Consider inviting them to present an award at a dog show,
attend a club meeting, or anything else that helps them learn about
Should a discriminatory measure be introduced in your community, please
contact AKC’s Canine Legislation department (email@example.com)
for assistance. The Canine Legislation department has materials to assist
you including information packets, model legislation and brochures to
improve your lobbying skills. We can also write letters to elected officials
on behalf of responsible dog owners.
Many thanks to everyone who took the time to contact their elected
officials, in many cases more than once, in opposition to SB861. AKC
will continue to work with fanciers to support reasonable, non-discriminatory
measures that keep communities safe for both people and pets.
- Governor Schwarzenegger has also signed SB914, a
bill to prohibit the sale of puppies under eight weeks old without written
approval of a veterinarian.
- The City of Vallejo is considering rewriting its dangerous dog ordinance.
Although the city declined to take a position on SB861,
it is preparing two draft ordinances; one containing breed-specific
language and one that is generic. AKC sent a letter opposing breed-specific
legislation and provided model legislation to local officials.
- The City of Oakland has enacted an animal limit law that will limit
residents to three dogs. Prior to passage, AKC sent a letter explaining
our opposition to limit laws and copies of our “Animal Limit Laws:
Better Alternatives” brochures to members of the City Council.
Local fanciers and The Animal Council opposed the bill as well.
- Following San Mateo County’s adoption of stronger dangerous
dog laws, incorporated cities are required to review and adopt similar
legislation. As part of this process, however, the City of Millbrae
is considering additional restrictive provisions beyond care conditions
for dangerous dogs. These include 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
- The Contra Costa Board of Supervisors is considering an ordinance
that would require owners of dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs
to obtain a permit for their animal. The proposal establishes appeals
processes for both designations and specifies how dangerous and potentially
dangerous dogs must be housed and cared for. This proposal 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 public safety.
COLORADO - The City of Aurora has given initial approval
to a proposal to ban “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 would allow
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
has sent a letter explaining our opposition to breed-specific legislation
to city officials, along with model legislation we feel to be reasonable.
A final vote on this proposal is expected sometime in November, although
an exact date has not yet been announced.
CONNECTICUT – The City of Trumbull has passed
a new law allowing animal control officers the power to deem dogs dangerous
or vicious. The new ordinance provides a variety of remedies if the
dog is found dangerous, including euthanasia, and allows owners to appeal
a designation to an appeals board composed of a veterinarian, the police
chief and a dog behavior specialist.
FLORIDA - Palm Beach County has adopted changes to
its local dangerous dog law, which now requires that appeals be made
to a “special master” rather than the Animal Care and Control
Hearing Board. The qualifications for an individual to be appointed
as a special master are not spelled out in the legislation, although
the commissioners have said that a county attorney will assume the role
- The Village of Tequesta continues to consider an ordinance to ban
“pit bulls.” The move comes after a neighborhood group assembled
a petition after a “pit bull” injured another dog. AKC sent
a letter to members of the Village Council opposing breed-specific legislation
and reminding them that such an ordinance would contravene Florida’s
state dangerous dog law prohibiting breed-specific legislation. For
more information about how to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Area dog owners are encouraged
to monitor the situation closely.
IOWA – The City of West Union is considering
a proposal to ban “pit bulls,” defined as Bull Terriers,
Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire
Terriers or any dog that has similar characteristics to these breeds.
AKC has sent a letter opposing breed-specific ordinances, as well as
model dangerous dog legislation, to the mayor and members of the city
MAINE – Several bills of interest have been
prefiled in Maine for the 2006 session. LR2527 would
prohibit insurance companies from refusing to issue or renew homeowner’s
insurance to people who own dogs. LR2545 would repeal
a $25 surcharge on the sale of non-neutered animals that was passed
without AKC’s knowledge in the 2005 session. Rep. Churchill has
filed LR2877, which would prohibit bear hunting with
dogs in organized territories.
MARYLAND – In a disappointing move, Prince George’s
County Council rejected a proposed repeal of its breed-specific ordinance,
which bans “pit bulls” - defined as American Staffordshire
Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and
any dog exhibiting the physical characteristics of these breeds. AKC,
the Maryland Dog Federation and countless responsible dog owners fought
for several years to repeal the ban and have vowed to continue opposition
efforts. For more information, contact the Maryland
MASSACHUSETTS – The Joint Committee on Community
Development and Small Business has sent H3672, a bill
to require pet shops to provide information on basic care to consumers,
to the House Ways and Means Committee with a recommendation of “Ought
MICHIGAN – Rep. Caswell has introduced H5231,
a bill to require an owner whose dog has killed a domestic animal to
show cause to why their dog should not be euthanized. Another dangerous
dog bill, Rep. Magesis’s H5252, would establish
penalties for fleeing the scene of a dog bite and for failing to provide
assistance to the bitten individual. Both bills have been assigned to
the House Judiciary Committee.
- Rep. Bieda has introduced HR139 to encourage shelters
to adopt a “no-kill” philosophy and to promote low-cost
spay/neuter and community education programs. The resolution will be
heard by the House Committee on Government Operations.
- Congratulations to concerned dog owners in Cass County for their
success in persuading the Animal Control Ordinance Review Committee
to adopt a generic dangerous dog law in place of proposed breed-specific
legislation. The initial proposal would have declared “pit bulls,”
defined as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers
and American Pit Bull Terriers, to be dangerous dogs. Due to quick notification
by a local dog owners, AKC was able to get a letter opposing the breed-specific
language to committee members, and local dog owners were able to hand-deliver
dangerous dog packets with model legislation to committee members.
NEW JERSEY – Senator Sweeney is sponsoring S2745,
a bill to require that all animals released from shelters or pounds
be sterilized. The bill also establishes a penalty for noncompliance.
S2745 does allow exceptions for AKC and CFA “registered
breeders,” despite the fact that these organizations do not register
breeders. The New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs notes that the language
is very similar to that of Assemblywoman Greenstein’s H3219.
The federation is already working with the Assemblywoman regarding that
bill’s problematic language and will pursue similar action with
Sen. Sweeney. For more information on these and other issues in New
Jersey 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.
AKC has been working closely with local fanciers to oppose the measure,
but more help is needed. Albuquerque residents should contact their
councilmembers today 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 Mayor Pro-Tem of Marion
has introduced 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 has notified
local officials of our opposition to breed-specific legislation and
have provided them with model dangerous dog legislation.
TEXAS – The City of El Paso is again considering
revisions to its animal control ordinance, including a $75 litter permit
and a limit of one litter per year. Additionally, the proposal mandates
microchipping and allows animal control officers to go door-to-door
to enforce provisions of the ordinance. Fanciers are urged to immediately
contact their city council members and ask them to request that these
sections be removed from the proposal.
- Although no member of the Austin City Council has yet committed to
sponsoring a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance proposed by the Animal
Advisory Commission, local dog owners are encouraged to inform their
representatives of their opposition to this type of legislation. Under
the proposal, exceptions 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. Purebred dog owners are working hard,
but many more voices are needed.
Please contact the Responsible Pet
Owners Alliance at for more information on how you can help in El
Paso or Austin.
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. Local
dog owners are encouraged to attend a public meeting on November 16th
at 3:30 in Room 248 of Tacoma City Hall (747 Market St, Tacoma, WA).
To find out how you can assist in Tacoma please contact the Doberman
Pinscher Club of America.
WEST VIRGINIA – The City of Charleston is considering
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.
WISCONSIN – The City of Eau Claire is considering
a ban on “pit bulls.” The current proposal does not define
which breeds would be included in the ban. AKC sent a letter explaining
our opposition to breed-specific legislation, as well as model materials
to members of the City Council.
UNITED STATES – The Senate Committee on Agriculture,
Nutrition and Forestry has announced that its Subcommittee on Research,
Nutrition and General Legislation will hold a hearing to discuss the
Pet Animal Welfare Statute of 2005 (PAWS) on November 8, 2005. Senator
Rick Santorum (R-PA), the Subcommittee Chairman, will chair the hearing.
The hearing will consist of two panels of witnesses, one representing
Animal Interest Groups, on which the AKC has been invited to appear,
and the other representing Animal Welfare Groups. Chairman of the Board
Ron Menaker will represent and testify on behalf of the AKC at the hearing.
As you may recall, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Senator Richard
Durbin (D-IL) are sponsoring S1139, also known as PAWS.
This legislation 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. 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.
Rep. Lantos has introduced HR 3858, a bill requiring
that state and local emergency preparedness plans address the needs
of those with household pets and service animals. The bill has been
referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.
AKC expects additional bills to come forward to address this issue.
We support this concept and will review upcoming legislation to determine
Rep. Berry’s HR 3677, legislation that would
temporarily suspend the tax on dog accessories, has been referred to
the House Committee on Ways and Means.