Legislation That Affects You
CALIFORNIA – Sen. Speier’s SB861,
to allow local governments to enact mandatory spay/neuter for specific
breeds, is pending before Governor Schwarzenegger. The Governor has
until October 9th to decide whether to sign or veto the measure. California
dog owners who have not already done so should immediately contact the
Governor’s office and request a veto. For more information and
to find out how you can help, please read our Legislative
- SB 914, a bill to prohibit the sale of puppies under
eight weeks old without written approval of a veterinarian, has passed
both houses and is before Governor Schwarzenegger.
- Fresno County has adopted new leash and nuisance laws and will be
considering requiring mandatory spay/neuter of animals unless owners
pay a breeding fee. AKC has sent a letter to county officials opposing
proposed breeding restrictions and urges other local dog owners to do
the same. Local fanciers are working with the County Board of Supervisors
to address this issue.
- The City of Oakland continues to consider enacting an animal limit
law that would limit residents to three dogs. The City Council had been
scheduled to vote on the issue in September, but because of a clerical
error the vote will now be taken at the October 4th meeting. 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
- The City of Simi Valley has modified their current ban on dog and
cat breeding. The new ordinance will allow breeders to have two litters
a year provided their property is at least 20,000 square feet. Puppies
must leave the property by the time they are four months old. Local
breeders and city staff members helped draft the new ordinance.
COLORADO – Commerce City has approved an ordinance
that would ban new “pit bulls” within the city limits. The
ordinance defines “pit bulls” as American Pit Bull Terriers,
American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers or any
dog displaying a majority of the physical traits of these breeds. Owners
who currently live in Commerce City are required to have the dog microchipped
and spayed or neutered. They must also keep their dogs in specifically
regulated enclosures, muzzle them in public and carry $100,000 worth
of liability insurance. Prior to the measure’s passage, AKC sent
a letter of opposition to city officials, along with model dangerous
dog legislation that would have been a more reasonable alternative.
- The City of Aurora is continuing to refine a proposal to ban “pit
bulls,” and possibly American Bulldogs, Dogo Argentinos, Canary
Dogs, Ca De Bous, Tosa Inus and Cane Corso breeds. The ordinance is
still being drafted and the definition of “pit bulls” was
not available at the time of publication. The ordinance would grandfather
in “pit bulls” already living in Aurora, but would require
owners to pay a $600 license fee, obtain a $100,000 liability insurance
policy, and spay or neuter their dogs. AKC has sent a letter explaining
our opposition to breed-specific legislation to city officials, along
with model legislation we feel to be reasonable.
CONNECTICUT – The Representative Town Council
in Greenwich has approved a new dog park which is expected to open sometime
in October. Congratulations to all the dog owners and fanciers who worked
to establish this park. AKC has previously written a letter in support
of establishing this off-leash park.
FLORIDA - Palm Beach County has adopted changes to
their local dangerous dog law. Under current law, the Animal Care and
Control Division makes an initial finding about a dog’s behavior
which can then be appealed to the Animal Care and Control Hearing Board.
The new proposal will require that appeals be made to a “special
master.” 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 is considering an ordinance to ban “pit
bulls.” The move comes after a neighborhood group assembled a
petition after a “pit bull” injured another dog. AKC has
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 which prohibits breed-specific
legislation. For more information about how to get involved, please
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 “dangerous dogs.” Dangerous dogs are required
to be kept in a fenced yard, and the fence must not allow a person 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
KENTUCKY – The City of Taylor Mill is still
considering adopting new dangerous dog legislation, including possibly
restricting or banning “pit bulls.” The commission discussed
the subject at its last two meetings, but has not reached a decision.
The city has not yet discussed what the definition of “pit bull”
would be if they adopted a breed-specific ordinance. AKC sent a letter
of opposition to the members of the City Commission and encourages others
to do the same.
MARYLAND – Prince George’s County is considering
a 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. The proposal to replace the breed ban with a more reasonable
dangerous dog ordinance passed out of the Health, Education and Human
Services and is likely to be heard by the full council in October. Concerned
fanciers are encouraged to attend an organizational meeting October
12 at 7pm at Riverdale Park Town Hall - 5008 Queensbury Road, Riverdale
Park, MD 20737. Please contact the Maryland
Federation of Dog Owners for more information.
MASSACHUSETTS – Rep. Fallon has introduced HD
4738, a bill to add “pit bull” to the definition
of “mammal” in the state’s fish and game laws. Fanciers
are urged to contact the Massachusetts
Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners for more information.
- HB3650 by Rep. Khan will prohibit shelters from
importing dogs from foreign countries and set up strict tracking procedures
for shelters which import dogs from shelters in other states. The Massachusetts
Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners supports this bill
as a way to protect domestic pets from emerging diseases. The bill has
been recommended for the Executive Session.
MICHIGAN – Commerce Township is considering
a ban on “pit bulls.” The legislation has not yet been drafted,
but AKC has sent a letter informing the Township Council of our opposition
to breed-specific legislation, and urging them to enforce a generic
dangerous dog law. To find out how to help defeat this proposal, contact
the Michigan Association for Purebred
- The City of Battle Creek has voted to adopt a non-breed-specific
dangerous dog ordinance. The initial version would have required that
those who own American Stafforshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers,
American Pit Bull Terriers or any mix of these breeds to muzzle their
dogs when off their property, and would also have required that only
an individual over the age of 18 be allowed to walk the dog. AKC sent
a statement to city officials opposing breed-specific ordinances, which
combined with local dog owners efforts, convinced the council to adopt
a fair dangerous dog ordinance. Congratulations to all who helped contribute
to this success!
NEW MEXICO – Councilwoman Sally Mayer of Albuquerque
is working on a complete rewrite of the city’s animal code, having
again postponed a hearing of her HEART ordinance. 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.
NEW YORK - The Village Board of Horseheads is considering
a proposal that would deem residents who own more than two dogs, more
than two cats, or more than two of each, to be kennels. Those who qualify
as a kennel will be required to obtain a free permit, but residents
must first get permission from all their neighbors within 200 feet.
If a neighbor refuses, the Village Board can review the reason for the
refusal and can override the neighbor. The proposal will allow a judge
to order fines of $25 to $100 for the first offense, $200 for a second
offense and $300 for a third offense. AKC has sent a statement of opposition
to the board members and encourages residents to do the same.
OKLAHOMA – The City of Moore has instituted
a new designation of “vicious or potentially vicious” to
their dangerous dog law in the wake of a recent dog attack. The change
will allow a municipal judge to find a dog potentially vicious if the
city receives reports that a dog has chased someone or appeared ready
to attack without provocation. Owners of potentially vicious dogs would
be required to obtain $50,000 in liability insurance. Vicious dogs are
those who have caused injury to a person or animal, or who have been
used in dog fighting. Owners of vicious dogs are required to keep their
dogs in specified enclosures, muzzle them when off the owner’s
property and post signs alerting visitors to the presence of a vicious
PENNSYLVANIA – Rep. Scavello is sponsoring H1911,
a bill that would regulate tethering and dictate the types of runs and
shelters dog owners could use. The bill has been referred to the House
Judiciary Committee. The Pennsylvania
Federation of Dog Clubs opposes the bill.
- H1946, by Rep. Sainato, will expand the puppy lemon
law to cover discoveries of illness made within 90 days of purchase.
Additionally, the bill will require the seller to refund the purchase
price and pay for any incidental expenses the new owner has incurred
if the breeder is found to have misrepresented the dog’s pedigree.
H1946 was refered to the House Committee on Agriculture
and Rural Affairs.
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.
- Help is still urgently needed in Austin to fight a proposed mandatory
spay/neuter ordinance. 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. In particular, fanciers are encouraged
to urge their council members not to sponsor this ordinance.
Please contact the Responsible Pet
Owners Alliance for more information on how you can help in El Paso
WISCONSIN – Asm. Pettis is sponsoring A663,
a bill to create an exception to the trespass statute for the retrieval
of hunting dogs. Hunters would be required not to take their firearms
and/or crossbows with them when retrieving their dogs. AKC supports
- The City of Sheboygan is considering a fenced dog park as part of
its new parks plan. Currently even dogs on-leash are prohibited in city
WYOMING – The City of Cheyenne is considering
a proposal to strengthen its dangerous dog law by allowing animal control
officers to impound dogs that have bitten another animal or a person.
The dog would then undergo behavioral testing. If the animal passes,
it will be returned to its owner. If not, a judge will decide the animal’s
fate. The council is working on amendments to give animal control officers
latitude to decide which animals need to be impounded and to address
situations where a dog is defending its property or owner, or when a
dog is provoked.
UNITED STATES – Rep. Lantos has introduced HR
3858 to require that state and local emergency preparedness
plans address the needs to those with household pets and the needs of
those who depend on 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 official support.
- Rep. Berry’s HR 3677 to temporarily suspend
the tax on dog accessories has been referred to the House Committee
on Ways and Means.
- 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. In addition,
the American Veterinary Medical Association recently declared its support
for the bill. S1139 will be heard in a subcommittee
of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee this fall.
(Congress’s focus on Katrina relief efforts and Supreme Court
confirmation hearings have delayed the session.) At that time, AKC will
work with Senator Santorum and subcommittee members to address 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 as well.
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