Legislation That Affects You
CALIFORNIA – Sen. Speier’s SB861,
to allow local governments to enact mandatory spay/neuter for specific
breeds, has passed both the Assembly and the Senate and will now head
to Governor Schwarzenegger. Dog owners are encouraged to contact the
Governor’s office and request a veto. For more information and
to find out how you can help, please read our Legislative
- The City of Los Angeles has approved an ordinance that prohibits
the tethering of dogs when they are unattended. The ordinance also requires
that dogs have access to food, water and shelter. The city has stated
that warnings will be given to violators before penalties are assessed.
- The City of Clearlake has rejected a proposed mandatory spay/neuter
ordinance, requesting that it be revised and brought back to the council
at a later date. The proposal did include exemptions for assistance
dogs, working and hunting dogs, as well as dogs that were registered
with AKC or another recognized registry.
- In the wake of a tragic dog attack, Fresno County is considering
changes to its animal control ordinance, including requiring mandatory
spay/neuter of animals unless owners pay a breeding fee, and requiring
owners to keep their dogs on a leash unless they are behind a fence.
AKC has sent a letter to county officials opposing proposed breeding
restrictions and urges other local dog owners to do the same.
- The City of Rohnert Park has approved an ordinance that would allow
the owner of a dog that has attacked a person to be charged with a misdemeanor,
even for a first offense. The ordinance will also allow a person who
fails to keep a potentially dangerous animal secured, to be charged
with a misdemeanor. A misdemeanor conviction can result in a $1,000
maximum fine or up to six months in jail.
COLORADO – Commerce City has approved the first
reading of an ordinance that would ban “pit bulls” within
the city limits. However, the council has requested some modifications
to the original proposal which were not available at the time of publication.
Those include how the council will define “pit bull.” The
ordinance will come back for a second reading some time in September.
AKC has sent a letter of opposition to city officials, along with model
dangerous dog legislation.
- The City of Aurora is expected to consider a proposal to ban “pit
bulls,” and possibly American Bulldogs, Dogo Argentinos, Canary
Dogs, Ca De Bous, Tosa Inus and Cane Corso breeds, within the city limits
sometime in October. 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. 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 City of Trumbull has tabled
a proposed dangerous dog ordinance in favor of researching the feasibility
of a leash law, which the town does not currently have. The city may
revisit the issue in September.
FLORIDA – The Sarasota County Animal Welfare
Advisory Committee was asked by the Sarasota County Commissioners last
year to study the feasibility of enacting breeder licensing/permit/inspection
ordinances. The committee voted unanimously to recommend “No”
to such ordinances and will be submitting a position paper to the Sheriff
and Board of Commissioners next month.
- Palm Beach County has voted to restructure its Animal Care and Control
Advisory Board due to the fact that they have been unable to achieve
a quorum in several months. The new board will consist of five members
representative of agencies or groups involved in animal welfare, including
the Sheriff’s office, the Health Department, the Veterinary Society,
the Agriculture Department, and the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation
Commission. The committee will also include two at-large members of
the general public. Further, the restructured Animal Care and Control
Advisory Committee will meet quarterly rather than monthly.
Also in Palm Beach County, a public hearing will be held on September
27th to discuss revisions to the local dangerous dog law. Under current
laws, 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, and fanciers are encouraged to attend the meeting to
ensure that due process is preserved for owners whose dogs are declared
- Orange County has passed an ordinance that prohibits tethering of
dogs between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The fines can range from
$75 to $250 depending on the circumstances. Local fanciers did oppose
the bill, advocating instead for better enforcement of existing laws.
- The City of Dania Beach has also approved an ordinance restricting
the tethering of dogs. The ordinance would allow a dog to be chained
outdoors for only an hour between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. if supervised by
someone at least 15 years old. Tying or chaining a dog outside for training
on a treadmill is prohibited completely. Dogs left outside are required
to have access to food, water and shelter with ventilation. Violators
are subject to fines up to $500 or a maximum of 60 days in jail.
- Hollywood has adopted an ordinance that prohibits leaving dogs tied
up between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. and at all other times requires that the
chain be at least six feet long and away from anything it could get
tangled in. The city also requires that dogs kept out side have adequate
access to food, water and shelter.
GEORGIA – The Georgia Canine Coalition reports
that Rep. Williams, the author of this year’s H78,
has decided not to pursue breed-specific legislation. H78
would have banned "pit bulls," defined as American Pit Bull
Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers,
or any dogs displaying characteristics of those breeds. Rep. Williams
is still considering ways to strengthen the state’s dangerous
dog law. Congratulations to all the fanciers who worked to defeat this
ILLINOIS - HB315 has been signed by Gov. Blagojevich.
The new law requires municipalities to impose dog and cat registration
fees with a minimum differential of $10 for intact animals. $10 of the
differential must be put toward animal population control. HB315
also imposes several new public safety fines--ranging from $25-$100--for
allowing a dog to run at large or bite. Portions of these fines must
also be donated to the state's pet population control programs. The
measure further strengthens Illinois's dangerous dog law, and also creates
a “Pet Population Control Fund” check off on state income
tax forms. The law does remove an existing litter registration requirement.
INDIANA – The Town Council of Mooresville is
considering modifying its dog control ordinance in the wake of a dog
attack. No specific proposal has been presented, but the council did
hear testimony calling for tighter restrictions as well as pleas from
other residents encouraging the council not to adopt a breed-specific
KANSAS – The City of Hesston has enacted a vicious
dog ordinance that prevents residents from acquiring Staffordshire Bull
Terriers, American Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweilers.
Residents who already own these breeds must keep them indoors or in
a pen, and must keep them muzzled and on a leash when off their owner’s
property. A violation of the new ordinance could result in fines from
$100 to $1,000 or up to 30 days in jail. AKC opposed the measure and
sent materials and samples of reasonable dangerous dog legislation to
KENTUCKY – The City of Taylor Mill is considering
restricting or banning “pit bulls.” The commission discussed
the subject at its August 10th meeting but has not reached a decision.
The city has not yet discussed what the definition of “pit bull”
will be in the ordinance. AKC sent a letter of opposition to the members
of the City Commission and encourages others to do the same. It is now
set to be heard at the Commission meeting on September 14th.
MASSACHUSETTS –H1346, which would have defined
a commercial breeder as anyone who breeds more than 1 litter per year,
has been sent to “study,” which effectively kills the
bill. Nancy Fisk, Vice President of the Massachusetts Federation of
Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners (MassFed), recently shared the
following report about the defeat of HB1346. Congratulations
to all who helped make this victory possible!
On June 20th Massachusetts dog owners and breeders rallied in
opposition to House Bill 1346 and sent a strong message
to the Joint Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources. This
Bill would make anyone who bred and sold puppies from more than one
litter per year a commercial breeder.
The Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners,
and the AKC Legislative Department sent out the call for action. More
than thirty concerned fanciers who testified in opposition to the
bill answered that call. The passion and dedication shown by this
group could not help but make an incredible impression on the Committee
Members because, though the hearing started at 1:00 PM, our bill was
not heard until after 5:00 PM and nearly everyone was still in attendance.
The many people who testified did an excellent job of expressing how
responsible breeders conduct themselves, and represented the fancy
in the best possible light.
MassFed is extremely pleased with the support shown by the many dog
clubs and individual fanciers in attendance. With continued support
such as this we will have a powerful voice in the Massachusetts legislative
process. On August 1st the Joint Committee voted not to send this
bill out of Committee but instead to send it "to study".
This effectively killed the bill because now it will not come before
the legislature for a vote. As the Chairman of the Joint Committee
put it when speaking to the dog enthusiasts waiting to testify, "We
get it", and it seems they did.
NEW MEXICO – The City of Albuquerque is working
on a complete rewrite of the city’s animal code. The 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 2 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 at BedRckbouv@aol.com.
- Bernalillo Park has recently opened a special area where dog owners
may exercise their animals off-leash. The new section contains trees
and benches where owners can observe their dogs as they play.
NEW YORK - S109 was signed by Governor Pataki. The
bill repeals the Dangerous Dog Advisory Board.
- A7644 received final approval from the Assembly and
has been sent to Governor Pataki. The bill would make low-income residents
eligible for participation in low-cost spay/neuter programs.
- A4433 has been sent to Governor Pataki. The bill
increases the fines for dog attacks that cause serious physical injury.
Specifically, the penalty for allowing a dog to bite could reach $1500.
If the dog was previously declared potentially dangerous, the penalty
can be up to $3000.
- The Village Board of Horseheads is considering a proposal that would
limit residents to two dogs and two cats. The proposal is currently
in draft form and has not yet been finalized. AKC has sent a statement
of opposition to the board members and encourages residents to do the
same. A date for a vote before the Village Board has not yet been set.
- The City of Plattsburgh has implemented a leash law requiring residents
to have their dogs on a leash of not more than 10 feet when off their
owner’s property. Due to a recent dog attack, the Council has
said it is possible that they will consider further restrictions.
- Common City Council officials are considering legislation that would
require owners of “pit bulls” and Rottweilers to maintain
$100,000 worth of liability insurance. AKC alerted local fanciers and
sent a letter to local officials reminding them that New York State
has a law that prohibits local governments from enacting breed-specific
OKLAHOMA – In August, Attorney General Drew
Edmondson issued a legal opinion stating that local governments are
indeed prohibited from enacting breed-specific laws in Oklahoma. The
opinion was requested by Rep. Paul Wesselhoft, who announced earlier
this summer that he intends to introduce legislation to reverse that
opinion and allow municipalities to regulate "pit bulls."
AKC previously sent a statement to Rep. Wesselhoft opposing this proposal
and is working with purebred dog owners in the state to strengthen enforcement
of the Sooners' existing dangerous dog law.
- The Village City Council has adopted a new vicious dog ordinance.
The new ordinance requires that a judge declare animals dangerous or
potentially dangerous and allows owners to appeal. Owners of dogs that
are deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous will be required to maintain
$100,000 worth of liability insurance, microchip their dogs, leash and
muzzle their dogs when they are not in a kennel, and they must have
their dog spayed or neutered. Violators may have their animals seized
or be fined up to $750.
OREGON - Senator Deckert’s S844
has been sent to Governor Kulongoski. The bill creates a strong dangerous
dog law that punishes irresponsible owners while preserving due process.
The bill contains an exemption for dogs that have been provoked or assaulted
or that have defended their owner’s property from trespassers.
S844 originally contained breed-specific provisions,
but area fanciers participated in a task force to help make the measure
more reasonable after it received a great deal of opposition from AKC
and other animal organizations.
- S549 remained in the Budget Committee upon adjournment
rendering the bill dead.
The bill would have established the Pet Sterilization Fund by imposing
a tax on dogs in counties which have more than 100,000 residents, and
would have allowed counties with fewer residents to donate money to
the fund voluntarily.
TENNESSEE – The Planning Commission in the City
of Woodbury is considering a proposal that would require “pit
bulls” be registered and that owners obtain a $100,000 liability
policy. “Pit bulls” (as yet undefined) would be required
to be kept in a locked kennel and muzzled when off the owner’s
property. AKC has sent materials and a letter of opposition to members
of the Planning Commission.
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, 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.
For more information on how you can help, please read AKC’s Legislative
- The City of Port Neches has tabled a proposal to ban “pit bulls”
because of a state law that prohibits local governments from enacting
a breed-specific law.
WASHINGTON D.C. – D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham
has introduced a proposal to allow dog owners to exercise their dogs
off-leash at D.C. owned parks. The ordinance would allow the District
to designate certain areas in their parks as off-leash dog parks, something
which is prohibited under current law.
UNITED STATES - 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 following Congress's
August recess. 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
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