Legislation That Affects You
ALABAMA – S82 passed both houses of the legislature
and is now before Governor Riley. The bill establishes a procedure by
which a dog can be declared dangerous, provides an appeal process and
requires that a dog found to be a significant threat to public health
and safety be humanely euthanized. Owners of dangerous dogs may be fined
up $300 for the first offense and $600 for a second offense. The dog
is also required to be registered with the city or county for an unspecified
- Rep. Galliher’s H252 has been signed by Governor
Riley. The measure requires any animal sold by public and private shelters
to be sterilized.
CALIFORNIA – The Los Angeles County Board of
Supervisors has instituted a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance for all
dogs. The ordinance will go into effect June 3rd. Exceptions are made
only if the dog is a law enforcement dog, a service animal or qualifies
as a “competition dog.” In addition, owners of intact animals that qualify
are required to purchase a $60 permit for each dog. AKC worked with
local fanciers and concerned dog owners to oppose this measure. To find
out more details about this proposal please read our Legislative
- 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. Fanciers and concerned dog owners are asked
to immediately contact their representative in the state assembly to
oppose this legislation. In order to meet a procedural deadline, the
Assembly Appropriations Committee must take up the Suspense File prior
to May 26th.
- 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 is before the Senate Governmental
- Sen. Lowenthal’s SB 1578 failed passage initially
in the Senate Appropriations Committee, but the bill has been granted
reconsideration. The bill prohibits tethering, chaining or tying a dog
to a tree, house or stationary object.
- 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 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 full Senate and has now been referred to the Assembly.
- The Berkley Citizens Humane Commission is considering an ordinance
to require "pit bull" owners to spay or neuter their dogs
unless they obtain a $100 breeding permit and comply with a host of
regulations. The ordinance defines "pit bulls" as American
Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull
Terriers and any dog displaying the physical traits of these breeds.
For more information on this proposal, please see our Legislative
- Sonoma County has adopted a breed-specific ordinance which requires
spaying and neutering of all “pit bulls,” defined as Staffordshire
Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers or American Stafforshire Terriers.
The Canine Legislation department sent a letter opposing breed specific
legislation to the members of the county board of supervisors.
COLORADO – Governor Owens has signed S25.
The new law requires that owners of a declared dangerous dog post warning
signs on their property and requires that the owner disclose that animal’s
status as a dangerous dog to certain service providers such as veterinarians
and groomers. The measure further requires the confiscation and destruction
of a dangerous dog that causes serious bodily injury or in a case where
the same owner is involved in a subsequent violation of the dangerous
CONNECTICUT – The Joint Committee on Environment’s
H5743, a bill to establish a training and certification
program for municipal animal control officers, failed to pass prior
to the legislature’s adjournment earlier this month.
- H5751 also failed to pass prior to adjournment.
The measure would have enabled animal control officers to issue citations
and provided that the officer involved could not be a member of a hearing
board if the citation is appealed.
- H5795 has been sent to Governor Rell. The measure was amended to require 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 is reclaimed by the owner.
FLORIDA – Sen. Rich’s S1484,
a bill to require that the shelter component of the emergency management
plan include planning for shelters that accept pets, has died due to
the adjournment of session.
- S1172, which would permit local governments to conduct
a pilot program to allow dogs at certain designated outdoor portions
of restaurants, has been sent to Governor Bush.
- Fort Lauderdale has passed an ordinance that restricts the tethering
of animals. Under the measure, no pet under six months of age could
be tied tethered and between 10am and 5pm, a dog could only be chained
for fifteen minutes. In the evening, a dog could be chained but only
if the leash is three times the length of the animal, or is an overhead
pulley system. Violators would pay up to $500 or could be sentenced
to up to 60 days in the county jail.
GEORGIA –Governor Perdue signed H1497
into law. The bill defines a vicious dog as one that is owned or trained
for the purpose of fighting, or one that, on a previous occasion known
to the owner, has attacked or injured any human being without provocation.
Exemptions are included for dogs that attack people who are trespassing,
or teasing the animal. H1497 further provides penalties
for violators. The Georgia Canine Coalition supported the measure with
reservations, as they would have prefered to see a complete overhaul
of the state’s dangerous dog law in the 2007-08 session. For
more information about this bill and other pending legislation in Georgia,
please contact the Georgia Canine
HAWAII – Sen. Hanabusa’s S2924
has been sent to Governor Lingle. The bill will allow a shelter or humane
society that is holding an animal during an animal cruelty trial to
petition a court for an order of forfeiture of the animal prior to the
disposition of criminal charges. The court is required to hold a hearing
on the matter within 14 days, and if the court finds sufficient evidence
that the defendant has committed an animal cruelty offense, the defendant
must post a security deposit or bond to cover costs incurred by the
shelter or humane society.
IDAHO –Governor Kempthorne signed S1396
into law. The bill amends the state animal cruelty laws and expands
the duties of animal control officers. The new law allows for an expedited
forfeiture hearing to determine whether the owner of a seized animal
will pay for the boarding and care of the animal or if they will relinquish
ownership. This provision is intended to decrease the costs for local
agencies to care for the animals pending adjudication of the charges.
INDIANA - The Anderson City Council had discussed
instituting an ordinance that would have restricted ownership of “pit
bulls” within city limits. The AKC Canine Legislation department
sent a letter opposing breed-specific legislation and the Anderson Obedience
Club worked to educate lawmakers directly. Nearly 200 people showed
up at meeting to oppose the ordinance and it was dropped by the council.
ILLINOIS – Rep. Berrios’s HR1026
has been adopted by the full House. This resolution encourages municipalities
not to enact breed-specific legislation, to pass laws that target irresponsible
dog owners and to encourage programs that educate residents.
- Rep. Boland’s HJR101 has passed the full House
and will now proceed to the Senate. 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.
- H4711, Rep. Chapa-LaVia’s bill to increase
the penalty for attending of dog fight from a Class C misdemeanor to
a Class A misdemeanor, has been sent to Governor Blagojevich. The measure
also 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
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, possible 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
LOUISIANA - H772, authored by Rep. Crowe, 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
intact animal, and intact animals much be registered every three years.
Animals that are spayed or neutered will be registered for a fee of
$7.50 and will only need to be registered once. H772
has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Forestry, Aquaculture
and Rural Development.
- In the wake of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, Sen. Fontenot has
introduced S607, a bill to require 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. The Senate Finance Committee
will hear the bill.
MASSACHUSETTS - H4516, by Rep. Gobi, was set aside
for further study. The bill would have prohibited insurance companies
from refusing to issue, renew or charging an increased premium based
on the breed of dog residing at the property. The Massachusetts Federation
of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners worked with Rep. Gobi to promote
the bill, and the Canine Legislation department sent a letter of support
For more information on pending legislation in Massachusetts, please
contact the Massachusetts Federation
of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners.
MISSOURI - Rep. Deeken’s HCR 44
failed to pass prior to adjournment of the legislature. The resolution
was to encourage dog training programs and kennel clubs in Missouri
to provide training and education for pet owners based on the AKC’s
Canine Good Citizenship program.
For more information on legislative issues in Missouri, contact
the Missouri Federation of Animal
MISSISSIPPI – The Bolivar County Board of Supervisors
has enacted an ordinance which requires owners of “pit bulls”
to comply with special regulations. “Pit bulls,” are defined
as American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American
Pit Bull Terriers and any dog which shares the physical characteristics
of these breeds. Owners are required to keep these dogs in an enclosure
with a four inch concrete slab floor and a secure top, must post a dangerous
dog sign on their property, and purchase $100,000 worth of liability
insurance. The Canine Legislation department had contacted local officials
to oppose breed-specific legislation and provided model dangerous dog
- The City of Richland has adopted a breed-specific ordinance banning
American Pit Bull Terriers, Stafforshire Bull Terriers and American
Staffordshire Terriers. AKC was not aware of this measure until it had
been enacted. The Canine Legislation department sent a letter to the
council asking them to repeal the ordinance and has provided model dangerous
NEW HAMPSHIRE – HB1646, authored by Rep. Mirski,
has been signed into law by Governor Lynch. The new law allows a handler
to use a leashed tracking dog for the recovery of a wounded deer, moose
or bear, as provided in rules adopted by the executive director of fish
NEW JERSEY – Sen. Weinberg’s S695
passed the Assembly Housing and Local Government Committee. The bill
will allow municipalities to charge up to $21 annually for dog licenses.
Current law caps the amount at a maximum of $7.
To find out how you can assist with legislative issues in New Jersey,
please contact the New Jersey
Federation of Dog Clubs.
NEW YORK – Asm. Sandy Galef has introduced A
11242, a bill to prohibit ear cropping and tail docking. A
person found guilty of tail docking would be guilty of a misdemeanor
and could be sentenced up to one year in jail and/or fined up to $500.
Ear cropping would be a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in
jail and/or a fine of up to $1000. In order to show or compete in any
event, including conformation, field trials, performance events and
companion events, an owner will have to prove that the dog’s tail was docked prior to September 1, 2006 or the
surgery was performed in another state. To read more about A 11242 and
how you can help, please see our feature
- A 10767, authored by Rep. Magee, would allow animals
to be protected under the provisions of a court order of protection.
The measure has been referred to the Assembly Committee on the Judiciary.
- The City of Troy has enacted an ordinance that will require dangerous
dogs to be euthanized and require their owners to pay the medical bills
of anyone who is injured by their dog. The new law requires that anyone
convicted of harboring a dangerous dog be barred from having another
dog unless the police chief or animal control officer approve.
For more information on legislative issues in New York please contact
the Long Island Coalition of Dog Owners
or Responsible Dog Owners Association
of New York.
OHIO – Rep. Webster’s H533,
a bill to remove the provision in state law that deems “pit bulls”
to be dangerous dogs, has been assigned to the House Committee on Agriculture
and Natural Resources. The measure will allow local governments to enact
breed-specific ordinances. For more information about H533,
please contact Ohio Valley Dog
- The City of Lancaster has decided to strengthen its animal control
laws rather than pursue breed-specific legislation. The Lancaster City
Council had originally discussed banning “pit bulls,” although
they did not define which breeds would be included. The Canine Legislation
department sent a letter opposing breed-specific legislation and provided
sample dangerous dog legislation to city council members.
OKLAHOMA – H2813, authored by Rep. Denney, has
been referred to the conference committee in order to allow the House
and Senate to work out differences with regard to amendments. H2813
requires owners of dogs that have been declared dangerous to obtain
$100,000 worth of liability insurance. The bill further requires that
owners of dangerous dogs that have escaped their property serve forty
hours of community service in addition to possible fines and jail time.
RHODE ISLAND – H6901, authored by Rep. Lewiss,
has passed the House and will now be heard by the Senate Constitutional
and Gaming Issues Committee. The bill will prohibit tethering when the
owner is not home. H6901 further prohibits leaving
the dog outside, tethered or in a pen, for more than 30 minutes if shelter
is not available. It also includes very complicated standards that must
be followed in order to avoid cruelty charges.
VIRGINIA - Sen. Stolle’s S574
has been signed by Governor Kane. The new law prohibits giving away
any unweaned dog or cat. The Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs had requested
a specific exemption for rejected or orphaned animals. For more
information on legislation in Virginia, please contact the Virginia
Federation of Dog Clubs.
WYOMING – The Wyoming Livestock Board and Wyoming
Department of Health had released a rule that would have required any
dog, cat or ferret that bit a person, that could not be proven to have
current vaccinations, to be euthanized immediately. The state has softened
the rule in response to criticism from dog owners and veterinarians.
The revised rule allows veterinarians to recommend quarantining animals
for a 10 day observation period.