Legislation That Affects You
January / February 2007
CALIFORNIA – The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors will meet at 2:30pm February 27th discuss adoption of the “Animal Overpopulation Ordinance.” It is imperative that fanciers, breeders and concerned dog owners attend the meeting. The measure includes a $150 intact animal fee, a reduced $50 intact animal permit for those who meet certain conditions, a $10 fee to transfer an animal over the age of four months, and requires all dogs and cats to wear a suitable collar or harness with the license tag attached. For further information, please contact the Sacramento Council of Dog Clubs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– The Kern County Animal Control Commission is set to propose a new breeder license. Anyone offering for sale more than 1 litter per year would be required to purchase the $150 permit, which would include licensing for 2 intact animals. Animal control would have the right to inspect the premises of any breeder. The commission is also considering increasing fees including the fee to license intact animals and the fee to redeem intact animals from the shelter. A low cost spay/neuter program and the possibility of requiring an animal to be sterilized if it is picked up three times are also under consideration.
– The San Jose Animal Advisory Committee is proposing changes to the animal control ordinance that would require all dogs and cats to be spayed or neutered and to restrict where animals can be sold. A copy of the 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 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 measure is expected to go before the San Jose City Council in March or April.
– The City of Hesperia was considering legislation to ban certain breeds or require that certain breeds be spayed or neutered. The Canine Legislation Department worked with local dog owners to educate legislators about the ineffectiveness of breed specific measures and the city is now investigating other ways to improve animal control.
FLORIDA – HB 317, introduced by Rep. Culp, is under consideration by the House Safety and Security Council. It amends the current animal cruelty law by providing that a first-time offender convicted of cruelty to animals will be subject to the following mandatory minimums: $500 fine, incarceration period of 30 consecutive days, and 100 hours of community service.
– SB 14, introduced by Sen. Bullard, has been referred to the Senate Committees on Agriculture; Regulated Industries; and General Government Appropriations. Major provisions of the bill include: requiring that any cat or dog offered for sale be accompanied by an “animal-purchase disclosure”; prohibiting pet dealer who is not breeder of an animal from possessing dog or cat younger than 8 weeks of age; providing that proper veterinary care of animal returned due to illness or disease may include euthanasia; provides for refund to purchaser if pedigree documents are not received within six months of purchase.
For more information on legislative activity in Florida, please contact the Florida Association of Kennel Clubs at email@example.com.
HAWAII – HB 358, introduced by Rep. Lee, is currently held in the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce. The bill would prohibit homeowner’s insurers from raising rates or refusing coverage to homeowners who own or harbor a dog, unless the dog has been found to have unjustifiably bitten a human being on at least two separate occasions.
– SB 18 is under consideration by the Senate Committee on Intergovernmental and Military Affairs. Introduced by Sen. Sakamoto, the legislation would require counties that license dogs pursuant to state law to maintain a registry of animals determined to be dangerous.
ILLINOIS – HB 203, known and the Retail Sale of Dogs and Cats Act, is sponsored by Representative Froehlich and has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture and Conservation. The bill, if passed and signed into law, will impose various requirements on pet dealers (defined as anyone who sells more than 25 dogs per year), including that an animal must be examined by a licensed veterinarian before being placed with other animals by the pet dealer. Pet dealers will also be required to give the purchaser of a dog a written statement containing certain information about the animal purchased, and must maintain a record of that information. Pet dealers must also provide remedies for a purchaser if an animal becomes ill or dies as a result of an illness that existed in the animal at the time of purchase.
For more information on legislative activity in Illinois, please contact the Illinois Dog Clubs and Breeders Association at MAJWIZ@aol.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
INDIANA – St. Joseph County has adopted changes to their animal control ordinance including adoption of a license fee structure as well as minor and major breeders permits. The council rejected proposed breed-specific provisions that would have deemed “pit bulls,” defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers, to be dangerous animals. AKC worked with local fanciers to oppose the changes.
– On Wednesday, February 7, sponsoring Rep. Van Haaften confirmed that HB 1607 would not move forward in its present form. The bill sought to establish regulation of pet dealers by the State Board of Animal Health. If passed, it would have created the pet dealer fund, and would have given the board the authority to set fees related to the licensure of pet dealers. The bill would also have established guidelines for the regulation of the sale of dogs and made it a deceptive sales practice for a pet dealer to sell a dog if the pet dealer did not follow the procedures established by the board. Additionally, it would have given the board and the Division of Consumer Protection authority to oversee the sale of dogs. For more information on this new law, please read our Legislative Alert.
– HB 1719 has been introduced by Rep. Bardon and referred to the House Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedures. If passed, it will require that dogs be implanted with a microchip that contains an identification number and can be read with a standard scanner. All data will be registered with a state-run agency. It also requires that the owners of dogs that are not neutered or spayed to pay a $50 annual fee and to post “Beware of Dog” signs on the premises where the dog is kept. Further, the bill establishes penalties for noncompliance, and allows a county, city, or town, to adopt a dog control ordinance that is more restrictive than state law. For more information on this proposal, please read our Legislative Alert.
KANSAS – The Manhattan City Commission is forming a task force to investigate remedies to their dangerous dog problems. The city had been considering a breed-specific ordinance that would regulate the ownership of certain breeds including American Staffordshire Terriers, Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, Dobermans, and Chow Chows. The American Kennel Club sent a letter opposing breed-specific legislation to the city council members. The Manhattan Kansas Kennel Club distributed copies of the dangerous dog packet to city council members and will continue to work toward a non-breed-specific solution. For more information please contact the Manhattan Kansas Kennel Club at email@example.com.
KENTUCKY – The Louisville Metro Council has enacted major changes to their animal control ordinance, including a pet limit, severe restrictions on the keeping of intact animals, licensing of in-home kennels, extreme differential licensing and vague definitions. The Canine Legislation Department has been working to assist the Louisville Kennel Club in opposing this measure since late 2005. For more information on this new law, please read our Legislative Alert.
MINNESOTA –Senate File 121, known as the Dog & Cat Breeders Act, has been introduced by Senators Betzold, Koering, and Sieben, and has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Veterans. Any breeder with six or more intact adult females (“adult” defined as any dog over 20 weeks of age) will be forced to comply with the provisions of SF 121. The bill provides for licensing of breeders, including payment of an annual fee and facility inspection. A veterinarian, as part of an inspection team, can determine that there is a substantial risk to the health and welfare of an animal, including, but not limited to, disease or pain, and may unilaterally and immediately euthanize the animal. SF 121 also prescribes extensive strict mandatory standards of kennel operations and care.
MISSOURI – The Raytown City Council voted to table a proposed breed specific ordinance and is now reviewing other methods to improve animal control in their community. The Canine Legislation Department worked with local dog owners to educate council members about the ineffectiveness of breed-specific ordinances and we thank all who worked on this important issue. Residents are encouraged to continue to monitor the city council agenda for the announcement of other possible changes.
NEW HAMPSHIRE – Rep. Gillick introduced HB 71, a measure to exclude a municipality’s list of registered dogs from the right-to-know law. The measure will be eligible for consideration in the 2007 session.
– HB142, introduced by Reps. O’Connell and Beaulieu and under consideration by the House Committee on the Environment and Agriculture, proposes to expand license requirements for sellers of domestic animals and requires that all out-of-state cats and dogs sold in New Hampshire be accompanied by an official health certificate.
NEW JERSEY – Asm. Van Drew is sponsoring A3542, a bill to require animals returned to their owners from shelters be sterilized, even on a first offense unless the owner can prove they have been active in AKC activities. The bill also increases the surcharge for an unsterilized dog from $3 to $20, eliminates the range for dog licenses fees established by municipal ordinance provided under current law, and increases the dog license fee to $10 (whether set by ordinance or if no ordinance exists). The effect of these increases is that licensing an unsterilized dog would cost $30 per year and the license would have to be applied for each year, while the license for a sterilized dog would be $10 per year and could be issued once every two years. Monies raised would be put in to a “Cat and Dog Sterilization Fund” to fund the sterilizations required by the bill. A3542 has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Agriculture and Natural Resources.
– Sen. Lance is sponsoring S2246, a bill that will require the court to issue an animal protective order against persons found guilty of abusing animals. S2246 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Economic Growth.
To find out how you can get involved in legislation in New Jersey, please contact the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEW MEXICO – SB 559, introduced by Sen. Garcia, is currently under consideration by the Senate Conservation Committee. It seeks to create the Commission on the Welfare of Animals, which will administer the operation of federal programs related to the welfare of animals, except those already designated by law to another state agency. The Commission will also recommend methods of improving conditions at both public and private animal shelters and sanctuaries in the state, and promote methods of limiting the number of homeless domestic animals.
NEW YORK – Asm. Peralta has introduced A1677, which seeks to require all dogs over four months of age to be microchipped and registered with a new state-run registry. Additionally, all microchips and information stored in them must be compatible with scanners used by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. If passed and signed into law, violators of the provisions of A1677 will be subject to fines of up to $100. For further information, please read our Legislative Alert.
– A1896, introduced by Asm. Glick, would prohibit insurance companies from refusing to issue or renew an insurance policy, canceling a policy, or charging higher premiums, based on ownership of a particular breed of dog. However, when there is a `dangerous dog` finding under the Agriculture and Markets law, the refusal to issue or renew a policy, or imposition of higher premiums would still be permitted as long as such a determination is based upon sound underwriting and actuarial principles reasonably related to actual or anticipated loss. This bill is currently assigned to the Committee on Insurance.
Please contact the Long Island Coalition of Dog Fanciers at email@example.com for more information about how you assist with canine legislation in New York.
NORTH CAROLINA – The Davidson County Board of Commissioners voted 5-2 against a proposal to require all dogs over the age of six months to be spayed or neutered unless their owner purchases a $100 intact animal permit. The North Carolina Federation of Dog Clubs working with local concerned dog owners made a strong appeal to the Board of Commissioners and we congratulate them on their successful efforts. For further information, please read our Legislative Alert.
Please contact the North Carolina Federation of Dog Clubs at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how you assist with canine legislation in North Carolina.
OHIO – HB 606 died at the end of the 2006 session. The bill proposed the creation of a commercial dog kennel control authority to license and inspect the facilities of dog breeders. The Canine Legislation Department will monitor the Ohio State Legislature and will update fanciers and breeders if a similar bill is introduced in 2007.
OKLAHOMA – HB1082, authored by Representative Wesselhoft, most significantly lifts the prohibition on localities from enacting breed-specific ordinances. It also provides for the collection of information regarding animal attacks by the Oklahoma State Board of Health. This bill is similar to the Wesselhoft-sponsored HB2657 and HB2658 from last session, which were defeated in favor of stronger dangerous dog laws. The Canine Legislation Department will work with Oklahoma fanciers to oppose this measure.
OREGON – Malhuer County has adopted an ordinance which deems the following breeds to be dangerous; American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, Dogo Argentino, Canary Dog, Presa Mallorquin, Tosa, Cane Corsa, Brazilian Mastiff. The new ordinance requires that these breeds be contained in a pen or kennel while on the owner’s property and requires them to be muzzled in public. The Canine Legislation Department has sent a letter to county officials asking that they repeal this breed-specific ordinance in favor of a dangerous dog ordinance which judges all dogs based on their actions, not their breed.
PENNSYLVANIA – Governor Ed Rendell has established a new Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement within the Department of Agriculture. In addition, he is proposing a series of regulatory changes that will negatively impact breeders. For detailed information about the proposal and how you can help, please read our Legislative Alert.
RHODE ISLAND – HB 5177, introduced by Reps. Fellela, Serpa, Melo, Giannini, and Ucci, is currently under consideration by the House Health, Education and Welfare Committee. The bill proposes to create extensive rules concerning the sale of dogs, including requirements concerning warranties, remedies and notices. It will apply only to those who sell fewer than 20 dogs or 3 litters in a single calendar year, whichever is greater.
SOUTH CAROLINA – SB 234 will prohibit the denial, cancellation, or non-renewal of homeowners’ insurance based solely on the presence of one or more dogs, unless a specific dog on the premises has a documented history of causing significant damage to real or personal property or serious bodily injury to a person. The bill was introduced by Sen. Reese and has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Banking and Insurance.
TEXAS – The De Soto City Council rejected the idea of banning certain dogs from the city limits based on either breed or weight. The council is going to move forward with better enforcement of the leash law and is working with citizens to develop effective animal control strategies. The Canine Legislation Department sent materials to local fanciers and sent a letter to the city council opposing adoption of a breed-specific ordinance. We thank all concerned dog owners who worked to educate officials about the ineffectiveness of breed bans.
VERMONT -- H 67 has been assigned to the House Committee on Commerce. Introduced by Reps. Dostis and Minter, the bill will prohibit the presence of dogs as a factor in the business of homeowner’s insurance, except when a specific dog is documented to have caused significant damage to real or personal property or bodily injury to a person.
Please contact the Vermont Federation of Dog Clubs at email@example.com or Jgrcorgis@aol.com for more information about how you assist with canine legislation in Vermont.
VIRGINIA – HB 2098 seeks to prohibit tethering an animal that is less than six months old or an animal that has not been spayed or neutered. Additionally, it prohibits using a tether that weighs more than what an animal can reasonably bear. Introduced by Del. Howell, the bill has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources.
– Similarly, HB 2242 seeks to make it a misdemeanor to tether, fasten, chain, or tie a dog to a doghouse, tree, fence, or other stationary object, with exceptions, amongst others, for running line, pulley, or trolley systems; or when dog is assisting in an activity conducted pursuance to a valid license. This bill was introduced by Del. Alexander and has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources.
– HB 3091, introduced by Del. Wright and referred to the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources, will exempt the occasional breeder, buyer, and seller of companion animals from being treated as a dealer. The occasional breeder, buyer, or seller is defined in the bill as any person who makes only occasional sales, trades, or transfers of companion animals for the enhancement or preservation of a breed, as a hobby, or for a showing or other competition; and as any person who sells all or part of a litter bred for the purpose of obtaining a pet, a hunting dog, or a service animal.
To find out how you can get involved in legislation in Virginia, please contact the VA Federation of Dog Clubs & Breeders a firstname.lastname@example.org.
WASHINGTON – The City of Tacoma hosted a public hearing December 12th on changes to the animal control ordinance including possible mandatory spay/neuter of dogs. The proposal would require owners of intact animals to purchase a breeder’s permit, regardless of whether they intend to breed the animal or not, in addition to the existing $55 intact animal license fee. The cost of the breeder’s permit has not been established. The measure would also require any animal at-large to be spayed or neutered, even on a first offense. At this time, the city is only collecting information. The proposal has not been finalized and city officials have indicated they will host further public hearings on the issue. The Canine Legislation Department will post updates as they become available.
– Royal City has enacted a breed-specific dangerous dog ordinance that deems Rottweilers and “pit bulls,” defined as American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and American Bulldog to be dangerous dogs. The Canine Legislation Department became aware of the measure after its adoption and has sent a letter asking the council to repeal the ordinance in favor of a reasonable, enforceable dangerous dog ordinance.
– HB 1105, sponsored by Reps. Campbell, Kirby, and Appleton, provides that an insurer may not deny a homeowner's insurance policy application, or cancel, refuse to renew, or modify an existing homeowner's insurance policy, on the basis that the applicant or insured owns or harbors a specific breed of dog on the property, unless the dog is a dangerous dog. The bill was approved by the House Committee on Insurance, Financial Services, and Consumer Protection, and is now under consideration by the House Rules Committee.
WISCONSIN – The City of Manitowoc is considering an ordinance that would limit residents to three dogs. There is a special permit available for up to four dogs, but it is based solely on the approval of the local police chief. Further, the measure prohibits ownership of “pit bulls,” defined as American Staffordshire Terriers unless approval is granted by the police chief. The Canine Legislation Department is working with local dog owners to oppose this proposal. The proposed ordinance has been assigned to the Public Property and Safety Committee and a vote is expected in February.
WYOMING – HB 261 seeks to establish a task force to study animal abuse and animal welfare. The bill provides for membership, study requirements, reporting requirements, and appropriation for the task force. Sponsored by Reps. Berger, Samuelson, and Zwonitzer, the bill has passed both the House Committee on Agriculture, Public Lands, and Water Resources, and the House Committee on Appropriations.