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Around the Nation:
Legislation That Affects You
June 2006

CALIFORNIA – The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will hear a proposal to establish a $150 intact animal fee at their July 18th board meeting. Fanciers and concerned dog owners are needed to attend and to contact their member of the Board of Supervisors and ask him/her to oppose the measure. To read more about this restrictive ordinance, please read our Legislative Alert.

- Riverside County is considering a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance. Although a draft is not yet available, the Animal Services Department has provided limited details. According to the county web site, exemptions will be granted for service animals, working dogs, registered breeding stock and animals boarded at licensed training facilities. The county is expected to hold a series of public meetings once a final draft is available. For more information on this issue, please read our Legislative Alert.

- Asm. Hancock’s AB 2110 has been placed on the Assembly Appropriations Suspense File due to the amount of money it would cost to enforce. The bill defines “live field coursing” as “a competition in which dogs are, by the use of rabbits, hares, or foxes, assessed as to skill in hunting live rabbits, hares, or foxes.” The bill would outlaw AKC Basset Hound, Beagle and Dachshund Field Trials. The original bill language targeted events where the rabbit, hare or fox were killed. In AKC events, dogs track the scent of the rabbit, but do not kill the animal. AKC thanks the fanciers and concerned dog owners who worked hard to defeat this bill. For additional information about this bill, please see our Legislative Alert.

- AB 450, sponsored by Asm. Yee, would require the Office of Emergency Services to adopt and incorporate the California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES) program into the standardized emergency management system. The bill passed the Senate Governmental Organization Committee and has been sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

- Sen. Lowenthal’s SB 1578 passed the Senate and will now be heard by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee. The bill prohibits tethering, chaining or tying a dog to a tree, house or stationary object. Senate floor amendments clarify that the tethering prohibition does not apply to activities such as working or guide dogs or training hunting, or tethering dogs in order to draw blood, provided that it is a licensed activity which involves the use or presence of a dog.

- SB 1806, authored by Sen. Figueroa would make it a crime to leave an animal unattended in a car when conditions would endanger the animal’s health. A first offense would be punishable by a $100 fine per animal and subsequent violations would result in a fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months imprisonment in a county jail. The measure has passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee and will now be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

- Asm. Ridley-Thomas’s AB 2862 has passed the Assembly and is now before the Senate Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. The measure regulates pet stores, defined as “any establishment or marketplace where animals are bought, sold, exchanged, or offered for sale to the general public with the intent of making a profit where the animals are intended as companions or household animals.” The new law would regulate the feeding, care, socialization, veterinary care and exercise of dogs being sold at pet stores.

- The author of the mandatory spay/neuter proposal before the Berkley Citizens Humane Commission has pulled the proposal. The measure being debated by the commission would have required "pit bull" owners to spay or neuter their dogs unless they obtained a $100 breeding permit and complied with a host of regulations. The ordinance defined "pit bulls" as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and any dog displaying the physical traits of these breeds. Concerned dog owners are encouraged to continue to monitor the commission’s activities as they have discussed holding a public hearing in the fall on animal issues.

COLORADO – Governor Owens has signed Rep. Stafford’s H1057. The new law will increase penalties for owning a dangerous dog that inflicts bodily harm or serious injury. H1057 will also prohibit a person convicted of an animal cruelty offense from owning an animal, and further increases the penalties for aggravated animal cruelty. The bill specifically exempts police and law enforcement dogs from being classified as dangerous animals, but does classify dogs that have been trained to attack people or property as dangerous dogs.

- Sen. Owen’s S25 been signed in to law by Governor Owens. The new law requires owners of dangerous dogs to post signs on their property, notify certain service providers of the presence of a dangerous dog, and notify the animal protection bureau if the animal’s status changes. The measure further requires that the court confiscate a dangerous dog if it inflicts serious bodily injury or if another dog owned by the same resident is involved in an incident.

For more information on Colorado legislation and how you can get involved, please contact the Colorado Federation of Dog Clubs at plumcreekkc@hotmail.com.

CONNECTICUT – H5795, was signed by Governor Rell. The new law requires the Commissioner of Agriculture, working with specified parties, including a representative from a state dog federation, to develop recommendations regarding animal population control issues. The bill originally required any impounded animal to be spayed or neutered, even if the animal were reclaimed by the owner.

DELAWARE – Rep. Valihura is sponsoring HB 420, a bill to declare the Pug as the state dog of Delaware. The bill has passed the House Administration Committee.

- HB 425, authored by Rep. Spence adds $3.00 to the cost of a rabies vaccine to fund low-cost spay/neuter programs. The bill also establishes criteria for qualifying for low-cost spay/neuter services and requires that all dogs and cats adopted from shelters or rescues be spayed or neutered. The measure has passed the House and will now be heard in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

- Rep. Spence’s HB 470 passed the House and will now be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill establishes that the owner of a dog which makes an unprovoked attack on a human and causes death or serious physical injury to the victim shall be criminally liable for such attack, regardless of whether the dog has previously been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous by the Dog Control Panel.

FLORIDA – S1172, which permits local governments to conduct a pilot program to allow dogs at certain designated outdoor portions of restaurants, has been signed by Governor Bush.

For additional information on pending legislation in Florida, please contact the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs at dja0218@aol.com.

INDIANA – The Indianapolis City Council held a public hearing on dog violence earlier this month and has decided not to pursue breed-specific legislation. However, dog owners are encouraged to continue to be vigilant as the Mayor has indicated that he still supports breed-specific legislation. AKC thanks the fanciers and concerned dog owners who attended the meeting and contacted their city officials.

ILLINOIS – Rep. Boland’s HJR101 has passed the House and is in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting assignment to a policy committee. The resolution establishes the Vicious and Dangerous Dog Task Force to study and make recommendations concerning how to best protect the public from dog attacks. The 17-member panel will include representatives from the veterinary community, animal control community, a not-for-profit humane society, the American Kennel Club and an animal behaviorist. AKC strongly supports this effort to identify strategies that effectively address dangerous dogs.

- H2946, authored by Rep. Mitchell, prohibits a person convicted of certain drug related felonies from owning an intact dog or puppy older than twelve weeks of age, or a dog determined to be vicious for up to ten years after release from prison. Any dog in possession of a felon must be microchipped. The bill has been signed into law by Governor Blagojevich.

- Rep. Boland’s H4238 has been signed by the Governor. The bill provides that owners of dogs who allow their animals to run loose and seriously injure or kill someone will be guilty of a Class 4 felony. Further, H4238 removes the previous cap of $50 on fines for dogs at-large and allows counties to set the fine at any amount.

- H4711 was signed into law by Governor Blagojevich. The new law increases the penalty for attending of dog fight from a Class C misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor, and makes it a felony to bring a child under the age of thirteen to a dog fight.

For more information on legislative issues in Illinois please contact the Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders Association at MAJWIZ@aol.com.

KENTUCKY – The Louisville Metro Council continues to pursue changes to its animal control ordinance. The latest draft from the task force includes breed-specific language, fee increases, burdensome confinement provisions and will allow an animal control officer more latitude to issue citations. To find our more details about the situation in Louisville, please see our Legislative Alert. To find out how you can assist in fighting this measure please contact the Louisville Kennel Club at donnaherzig@hotmail.com.

LOUISIANA - H772, authored by Rep. Crowe, has passed both houses and has been sent to Governor Blanco. The bill will create the Louisiana Pet Registry. Owners will be able to register their pets and obtain a unique identifier number. The fee will be $15 for each animal and registration will last the lifetime of the animal. The original version of the bill would have set the fee at $7.50 for spayed/neutered animals and would have required that intact animals be re-registered every three years.

- Sen. Fontenot’s S607 has been sent to Governor Blanco. The bill requires the creation of disaster plans for service animals and household pets. Animal shelters, humane societies, veterinary offices, boarding kennels, breeders, grooming facilities, hospitals, schools, animal testing facilities and any other business or not for profit agencies that house pets will be required to create evacuation plans to be submitted to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry and their local parish. These plans shall be made available to the public upon request.

MASSACHUSETTS – The City of Brockton is considering a new vicious dog law in the wake of two local dog attacks. Although a draft has not been released, at least one council member has stated publicly that he is interested in pursuing a breed-specific ordinance. AKC sent a letter opposing breed specific ordinances and sent packets containing model dangerous dog legislation.

MINNESOTA - Rep. Westrom’s H2688 has been signed by Governor Pawlenty. The measure authorizes the placement of a plaque on the Capitol grounds honoring the nation’s war dogs and their handlers.

MISSISSIPPI – The City of Jackson is considering breed-specific legislation in the wake of a dog attack. As a draft has not yet been released, it is unclear what breeds would be banned or restricted. AKC sent a letter opposing breed specific legislation and packets containing sample dangerous dog ordinances.

MISSOURI – Rep. Low is sponsoring H1724, a bill to require any dog or cat offered for adoption by any shelter, humane society or rescue group be spayed or neutered. The House Agriculture Committee will hear the bill.

NEW JERSEY – Asm. Cohen is sponsoring A2820, to prohibit insurers from refusing to issue, terminating, charging increased premiums or limiting coverage under a homeowner’s insurance policy on the basis of the type or specific breed of dog harbored upon the insured property. The measure has passed the Assembly and has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee.

- A3192, authored by Asm. Burzichelli, would create a statutory right of action for economic damages for the owner of a domestic companion animal that has been injured or killed by another person's domestic companion animal. Under the bill, economic damages may include, but need not be limited to, the monetary value of the animal, replacement value of the animal, breeding potential of the animal, veterinary expenses incurred by the owner in treating the animal, reasonable burial or cremation expenses, reimbursement of animal training expenses, any unique or special value of the animal, such as a guide or service animal, and lost wages incurred by the owner due to the loss or disability of the animal. The bill has passed the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and will be voted on by the full Assembly.

- A3237, sponsored by Asm. Panter, directs the Department of Health and Senior Services to review current regulations concerning the proper care and housing of animals, determine the proper care and housing for each species of animal sold by kennels, pet shops and any other retail establishments selling animals, and adopt rules and regulations that prohibit the overcrowding of animals. The measure has been referred to Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee

- Asm. Burzichelli has also introduced A1929, a bill to require the state, counties and municipalities to create emergency plans for those with household pets and service animals. The bill passed the Senate Committee on Law and Public Safety and is back in the Assembly for concurrence.

To find out how you can get involved in legislation in New Jersey, please contact the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs at taborgsp@verizon.net.

NEW YORK – Asm. Sandy Galef’s A 11242, a bill to prohibit ear cropping and tail docking, has been amended. The new version of the bill contains a legislative intent section which states that “it is the purpose and intent of this act to eliminate cosmetic procedures that are cruel and inhumane to dogs, and to further curtail illegal dog fighting.” The bill now expressly states that the legislature believes that there is no medical indication for ear cropping and tail docking and claims that the practices are linked to dog fighting, which is already illegal under New York state law. Amendments also remove the right of an animal rights group to sue, but allow any dog owner to sue a breeder or owner. For more on this important legislation and how you can help, please see our New York Crop Dock Action Center.

- A 10767, authored by Rep. Magee has passed the Assembly and will proceed to the Senate. The measure would allow animals to be protected under the provisions of a court order of protection.

- Rep. Magee’s A 10929 provides that a pet dealer must notify a person who purchases a dog that a dog residing in the state must be licensed and that a license may be purchased in the municipality where the dog resides. The bill has passed the House and will now be sent to the Senate.

- Sen. Balboni’s S6913 requires local disaster plans to including planning and coordination for those with household pets and service animals. The bill passed the House and returns to the Senate for concurrence.

For more information on legislative issues in New York please contact the Long Island Coalition of Dog Owners at sutops@aol.com or Responsible Dog Owners Association of New York at Lettis@webtv.net.

NORTH CAROLINA - Rep. Ross has introduced H2098, a bill to allow the plaintiff in animal cruelty proceedings to act as the custodian of the animal in question, although the animal may not be euthanized without the consent of the animal’s owner or the court. Further, the bill provides that if the plaintiff prevails, the defendant will pay all costs associated with the animal’s care. H2098 has passed the House and has been referred to the Senate Judiciary II Committee.

OHIO –HB 606, introduced by Rep. Jim Hughes, would amend state law to create a commercial dog kennel control authority to license and inspect the facilities of dog breeders. This proposed legislation would require owners of nine or more adult dogs kept for purposes of breeding to apply for a commercial dog breeding kennel license including fingerprinting and a criminal background check. AKC is working with Rep. Hughes and the cosponsors of HB 606 to address our concerns. The bill has not been referred to any committee at this time but the Canine Legislation Department will continue to monitor this bill.

OKLAHOMA – H2813, authored by Rep. Denney has been signed by Governor Henry. The bill requires owners of dangerous dogs to maintain $100,000 in liability insurance and increases penalties for owners of dogs previously declared dangerous that run at-large and are involved in another attack.

TEXAS - The San Antonio City Council is considering a 5-Year Strategic Plan that includes mandatory spay/neuter and breeder permits, as well as creation of a bill of rights for animals. The plan was generated by the San Antonio Animal Care Services Advisory Board and will be presented to the city council at the June 29th meeting. Fanciers and concerned dog owners are needed to attend the meeting and oppose these proposals. To find out more about how you can assist in fighting this proposal, please see our Legislative Alert or contact the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance at rpoa@texas.net.

RHODE ISLAND – Rep. Voccola’s H8101 will establish a consumer protection law for dogs. The bill exempts breeders that sell less than 3 litters or 20 puppies each year, whichever is greater. Requires the seller to make certain disclosures and provides remedies for illness up to twenty days after the sale and coverage for congenital defects within two years. H8101 has passed the House and will be heard by the Senate Constitutional and Gaming Issues Committee.

VIRGINIA – Rep. Oder’s H906, a bill to allow for the creation of pet trusts has been signed by Governor Kaine.

UNITED STATES - AKC has announced our support for S. 2548, the "Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards Act of 2006", known as "PETS". PETS amends the federal Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act to require provisions for rescue, care, shelter and essential needs of pets and service animals and their families in emergency and disaster relief, and to require that such provisions be included in federal, state and local emergency and disaster preparedness plans. For more on this important bill and how you can assist your local communities in disaster planning, please see our feature article.