Legislation That Affects You
ALABAMA – The City of Montgomery is considering revisions to their dangerous dog ordinance. AKC has sent the mayor and city council letters encouraging them to pursue a fair, enforceable dangerous dog ordinance. Local dog club members are organizing to fight breed-specific legislation and have presented AKC dangerous dog packets, containing model dangerous dog ordinances, to the members of the city council.
CALIFORNIA – The San Jose Animal Advisory Committee has held two public meetings on a proposal to require all dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered and to restrict where animals can be sold. A draft proposal has not yet been made available to the public, although the San Jose Animal Care and Services division states that the mandatory spay/neuter provisions will not apply to qualified competition animals. The proposal is expected to be presented to the San Jose City Council on November 16th. The Canine Legislation Department has sent materials to concerned dog owners and will be working with the city council members once a draft is available. Local fanciers and dog owners are encouraged to contact their representative on the city council and educate them about the rights and benefits of responsible breeding programs.
- The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will be forming a task force to consider alternatives to a $150 intact animal fee. The supervisors intend to bring a new proposal back in January. AKC thanks the fanciers and concerned dog owners who worked hard to convince the supervisors that these types of breeding restrictions are unfair to responsible owners and breeders. Residents should continue to contact their member of the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and ask him/her to oppose any measure that penalizes responsible breeders.
- Riverside County continues to consider a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance. The proposed mandatory spay/neuter ordinance will require that any dog or cat over the age of four months be spayed or neutered unless the owner can qualify for one of the limited exemptions. Exemptions are provided for law enforcements dogs, qualified service assistance dogs, dogs which are medically unsuitable for sterilization and “competition dogs.” The county has held three public meetings on the issue and will hold one final meeting on October 5th. AKC thanks all the fanciers and responsible breeders who have attended these meetings and who are continuing to fight for the rights of responsible breeders and owners.
- AB 450 was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger. The law requires the Office of Emergency Services to adopt and incorporate the California Animal Response Emergency System (CARES) program into the standardized emergency management system. The proposal intends to require state emergency planning to include provisions for companion animals during natural disasters and other emergencies.
- Governor Schwarzenegger signed Sen. Lowenthal’s SB 1578 into law. The new law prohibits tethering, chaining or tying a dog to a tree, house or stationary object for more than three hours. The measure includes language to clarify that the tethering prohibition does not apply to activities such as working or guide dogs, or to training hunting dogs, or tethering dogs in order to draw blood, provided that it is a licensed activity. Additionally, the new law will allow an animal control officer to issue a warning unless the violation endangers the health or safety of the animal, the animal has been wounded as a result of the violation, or a warning has previously been issued to the individual.
- Asm. Ridley-Thomas’s AB 2862 has passed both houses and is pending before Governor Schwarzenegger. The measure was amended in the Senate to require the Department of Consumer Affairs to adopt regulations to regulate the care and handling of companion animals sold to the general public at retail outlets. Those regulations shall be adopted, after consultation with affected parties, by January 1, 2008.
- SB 1806, authored by Sen. Figueroa has been signed by Governor Schwarzenegger. The new law provides that leaving or confining an animal in any unattended motor vehicle under conditions that endanger the health or well-being of an animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or lack of food or water, or other circumstances is a crime punishable by a fine, imprisonment in a county jail, or both fine and imprisonment.
COLORADO – The City of Lakewood has rejected breed-specific legislation in favor of an ordinance that would impose strict mandatory sentencing on owners of vicious animals. AKC had previously sent the city council a letter opposing breed-specific legislation and packets containing sample dangerous dog ordinances. Congratulations to all the fanciers and responsible dog owners who worked to defeat the breed-specific proposal.
The City of La Junta is considering a breed-specific ordinance that would ban all “pit bulls,” defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of these breeds. Dogs of these breeds already in the city would be allowed to stay, but the dog must be registered with the city and the owner must comply with a host of restrictive regulations. AKC has sent a letter opposing breed-specific ordinances as well as a packet containing examples of fair, enforceable dangerous dog ordinances.
FLORIDA – The City of Coral Springs has drafted a resolution to the Broward County Legislative Delegation asking them to support a repeal of a state law that prohibits local governments from enacting breed-specific legislation. Responsible dog owners attended the October 3rd meeting of the city council to try and dissuade commissioners from approving the resolution. Due to the outcry, the item has been moved to the October 17th agenda to give commissioners time to amend or withdraw the motion. The Canine Legislation Department sent a letter to the city commission explaining why breed-specific ordinances do not improve public safety, and urging the community to consider adopting a fair and enforceable dangerous dog ordinance.
INDIANA – The Indianapolis City Council has decided not to pursue breed-specific legislation; however a new proposal would require that all dogs are spayed or neutered and microchipped. The Rules and Public Policy Committee will be discussing the new proposal at the October 10th meeting. For more information on this issue, please read our Legislative Alert.
ILLINOIS – The Northlake City Council has repealed an ordinance which defined dangerous dogs as any American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Rottweiler or any mixed breed dogs of these breeds. These dogs were prohibited from using the city’s dog parks and were required to comply with other limitations. The new definition is behavior based rather than breed based.
KANSAS – The City of Merriam has considered a breed-specific ordinance in the wake of a local dog attack, but the city council decided instead to look at ways to increase penalties for owners who habitually let their dogs run loose or don’t comply with the animal control ordinance. They are also looking for ways to educate the community, especially children about how to handle loose animals. The AKC Canine Legislation Department has followed up by sending the council members copies of our Safety Around Dogs video and workbook series.
KENTUCKY – The City of Louisville continues to consider breed-specific legislation, a limit law and restrictions on breeders and dog owners. The Louisville Kennel Club is asking fanciers who have attended the Kentuckiana Cluster shows to contact Metro Council officials and advise them as to how the adoption of this ordinance would affect their decision to attend the cluster in the future. For more information about the situation in Louisville and how you can help, please read our Legislative Alert.
- The City of Corinth is considering an ordinance which would deem Rottweilers, “Bull Mastiffs”, and “pit bulls,” defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and any mixed breed dog containing any of the breeds, as vicious dogs and would ban them from the city. The Canine Legislation Department has sent city officials a letter encouraging them to pursue a fair and enforceable dangerous dog ordinance as well as a packet containing model dangerous dog laws.
LOUISIANA – The City of Gonzales has rejected a request to draft an ordinance to ban “pit bulls” and Rottweilers. The city council decided instead to increase enforcement of the leash law. The Canine Legislation Department sent materials to a local fancier and sent a letter opposing breed-specific legislation to city council members.
MASSACHUSETTS – The City of Fall River has been advised by their attorney that a proposed breed-specific ordinance to restrict ownership of certain breeds is unconstitutional. The measure would have deemed Rottweilers and “pit bulls,” defined as American Staffordshire Terriers, American Staffordshires, Staffordshire Pit Bulls, American Stafford Terriers, American Pitt Bull Terriers, Bull Terriers, Pit Bulls, and any mixed breeds having the appearance and characteristics of these breeds as dangerous dogs. The council is now working on an alternative proposal. AKC sent dangerous dog packets and letters to the mayor and city council opposing adoption of a breed-specific ordinance. Local dog owners, working in conjunction with established groups such as the Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners, led a massive campaign to educate the public, including distributing flyers and materials at a local parade.
MISSISSIPPI – The City of Brandon has rescinded an ordinance that that would have banned American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and related breeds. AKC congratulates the Brandon Kennel Club, the Mississippi State Kennel Club and concerned dog owners who worked to educate their city council members about the ineffectiveness of breed-specific legislation.
- The Mississippi Canine Coalition has recently become aware of a breed-specific ordinance adopted in late 2005 by the Saltillo City Council. The ordinance declares Pit Bull Terriers, Chow Chows, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds and Rottweilers to be dangerous dogs. These dogs are required to be kept in a specified manner, muzzled and leashed when off the owner’s property and are prohibited from being within 100 yards of a school, daycare or other child services facility. The Mississippi Canine Coalition asks residents of Saltillo to contact the mayor and city council members and to repeal this ordinance in favor of a fair, enforceable dangerous dog ordinance. The Canine Legislation Department has sent a letter supporting repeal to the Saltillo City Council along with samples of breed-neutral dangerous dog ordinances.
- The City of Clinton is being sued over their breed-specific ordinance which bans Rottweilers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and any mixed breed dogs with a parent from one of these breeds. However four judges in the Hinds County Chancery Court have recused themselves from hearing the case, at least one of the judges had a conflict of interest because he owns two Rottweilers.
- In the wake of a public outcry about a proposed ordinance to ban “pit bulls,” the Tupelo City Council has decided to form a panel to help draft a dangerous dog ordinance. The panel will include community members, including the Tupelo Kennel Club. The Canine Legislation Department sent a letter to city officials opposing a breed-specific ordinance and worked with the Mississippi Canine Coalition to distribute dangerous dog information packets. Congratulations to all concerned dog owners who took the time to educate Tupelo City Council members.
For more information on legislative activity in Mississippi, please see our recent Legislative Alert or contact the Mississippi Canine Coalition at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MISSOURI – Rep. Low’s H1724 failed to pass prior to adjournment and is dead. The bill would have required any dog or cat offered for adoption by any shelter, humane society or rescue group be spayed or neutered.
- The City of Independence recently adopted a revised dangerous dog ordinance as well as a new ban on “pit bulls.” The ordinance defines “pit bulls” as Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and mixed breed dogs with similar characteristics. Residents who currently own these breeds must register them with the city, have the animal microchipped, comply with specified confinement provisions and leash and muzzle the dogs when they are off the owner’s property. The city council also strengthened the dangerous dog ordinance by enacting higher fines and stricter confinement provisions for dogs that have been declared dangerous. The AKC Canine Legislation Department sent packets to local concerned dog owners and sent a letter to the city council opposing breed-specific legislation.
- The Grain Valley City Council is reviewing a proposal that would make several changes to the city’s animal control code, including breed-specific restrictions on “pit bulls” and an animal limit law.
- Raytown’s Dangerous Dog Task Force is looking at ways to improve their dangerous dog ordinance. The Canine Legislation Department has provided local fanciers with dangerous dog information packets and local dog owners are asked to encourage their city council member to support non-breed-specific improvements to the city’s ordinance.
- The Chillicothe City Council has discussed adding a breed-specific ordinance to the city’s animal control code, but nothing has been formally drafted. The AKC Canine Legislation Department sent a letter to city council members encouraging the adoption of an enforceable, breed-neutral dangerous dog ordinance. AKC provided copies of several dangerous dog ordinances that have been used in other communities.
NEW JERSEY – Asm. Cohen has announced that he will not move his A3401, a bill to limit the selling of cats or dogs as pets to 25 animals per year per breeder, in this session. The bill defined a breeder as any person who owns or operates a breeding facility and sells more than five cats or dogs per year. The bill further required that breeders register with the Department of Health, and required the Department of Health to annually publish the list of breeders registered in the State. AKC encourages fanciers to continue their efforts to educate legislators about the importance of protecting responsible breeders.
- Asm. Cohen’s A2820 has passed the Assembly and has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee. The measure would 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.
- Governor Corzine signed Asm. Burzichelli’s A1929 in to law. The new law requires the state, counties and municipalities to create emergency plans for those with household pets and service animals.
- A breed-specific ordinance in Englewood that deemed “pit bulls,” defined as Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and any mixed breed dog containing these breeds, to be aggressive dogs was overturned by the court. The measure was found to be in conflict with a state law prohibiting local governments from enacting breed-specific local ordinances.
To find out how you can get involved in legislation in New Jersey, please contact the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs at email@example.com.
NEW YORK – A 10767, authored by Rep. Magee was signed by Governor Pataki. The measure allows animals to be protected under the provisions of a court order of protection.
For more information on legislative issues in New York please contact the Long Island Coalition of Dog Owners (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Responsible Dog Owners Association of New York (Lettis@webtv.net).
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.
- Rep. Williams is sponsoring H613, a measure that will require that a child under fifteen years of age who commits cruelty against a companion animal undergo psychological counseling. The bill will be heard by the House Committee on Criminal Justice.
OKLAHOMA – Tulsa County has adopted a new ordinance which limits residents to 3 dogs or a combination of 5 cats and dogs. Dog owners who wish to maintain more than 3 dogs must obtain a hobbyist permit, a cost of $100 the first year and $50 for subsequent years. Hobbyist permit holders are still required to individually license each animal they own. AKC has sent a letter to county officials asking them to repeal this arbitrary limit in favor of nuisance laws which will enable the county to address problems with any problem owner, regardless of how many animals they own.
PENNSYLVANIA – S1252, authored by Sen. Greenleaf, will amend the state’s consumer protection law for pet buyers. The bill will change the amount of time a buyer has to have the animal checked by a veterinarian for parasites and infectious diseases from ten to fourteen days and for hereditary illness from thirty days to ninety days. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs.
TEXAS - The San Antonio City Council has made some modifications to their 5-Year Strategic Plan. In the initial draft Year 1 called for a spay/neuter ordinance and breeder permits, as well as creation of a bill of rights for animals. The discussion of a spay/neuter ordinance and breeders permit has been moved to Year 2. The “Bill of Rights for San Antonio Animals” has been changed to require “Establish Community Animal Care Standards” and will also be part of the Year 2 plan. The plan was generated by the San Antonio Animal Care Services Advisory Board. Fanciers and concerned dog should continue to monitor the situation as a draft of changes to the animal control ordinance are expected in December. For more information on how you can help in San Antonio please contact the Responsible Pet Owners Alliance at email@example.com.
WISCONSIN – The City of Madison is working to strengthen the city’s dangerous dog ordinance, but is not considering breed-specific legislation. The city council is planning to implement a $110 registration fee for dangerous dogs and requiring animal control officers to follow up on all dog bite reports.