The U.S. Congress and 10 state legislatures are currently in session. Forty states have adjourned their regular sessions. The Government Relations Department is currently tracking over 800 state bills relating to animal legislation and policy. For more information on these bills, visit our 2009 Legislation Tracking page.
For more information on any of the measures mentioned, contact us at (919) 816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some of the highlights:
California – The AKC is monitoring two bills of concern in California:
Senate Bill 250 – California Senate Bill 250 passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee and will have a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on July 15th. It is vital that concerned fanciers, dog owners, breeders, and clubs immediately notify the committee members of their ongoing opposition to the measure. The AKC opposes Senate Bill 250's attempt to use sterilization as a punishment for any violation of the animal control ordinance and for failure to license. We have recently learned that the Governor's Department of Finance has also publicly opposed SB 250, asserting that the bill will cost the state millions of dollars. The AKC Government Relations Department has posted a Legislative Alert and sample letters.
Illinois – Based on the concerns about House Bill 198/Senate Bill 53 (bills that sought to regulate dog breeding in Illinois), the House and Senate sponsors of the bills introduced a new Senate Joint Resolution (SJR 56) to create a 15-member joint task force on breeders and pet stores to investigate and make recommendations about pet stores and the breeding industry and to report its findings by January 2010. The resolution was adopted by both houses on June 1. Members of the committee include representatives of animal welfare organizations, various types of breeders, pet stores and veterinarians. Read more about the task force.
Massachusetts – Senate Bill 774 would prohibit any person from owning, possessing, controlling, or otherwise having charge of more than 25 intact dogs over six months of age. Female dogs may only whelp one litter per year and only dogs between the ages of 18 months and 8 years may be bred. The bill also prohibits ear cropping, tail docking, debarking, and surgical births except under anesthesia and by a licensed veterinarian. The AKC is working with its state federation to defeat this bill. To date, the bill has not gained traction in the legislature.
New York – Several bills have been introduced in New York that are of concern to all fanciers and breeders:
Assembly Bill 7218 – This bill seeks to outlaw tail docking and exhibiting/showing a dog with a docked tail. The bill also gives New York animal rights organizations the right to a private action for enforcement and to obtain redress for a violation. GR has begun extensive opposition and outreach efforts on the bill, including legislative alerts, letters of opposition, and working with a broad spectrum of constituents. Thanks to the overwhelming number of contacts, the bill has not yet received a hearing in the Assembly Agriculture Committee. Read more about A. 7218.
Senate Bill 4515 – This bill would require the registration and regulation of animal “breeders”, which is defined as any person who breeds three or more animals for sale per year for profit. Breeders would be subject to annual licensing, strict engineering requirements, and inspections twice each year at the breeder’s expense. It also limits “pet dealers” in New York to obtaining dogs only from NY licensed breeders. This bill has not yet gained traction. Read more about Senate Bill 4515.
Senate Bill 4690 – This legislation would limit ownership to 50 unsterilized dogs and allow any police officer or officer of the ASPCA or any other humane organization to seize dogs kept in violation of this ownership limit if certain due process requirements are met. The bill also expands the definition of “Pet Dealer” to include any person who engages in the sale or offering of sale more than nine animals per year. The bill has not yet received a hearing. View the latest Legislative Alert for SB 4690.
Senate Bill 5392 – This bill limits ownership to no more than 50 intact dogs over 4 months of age if they are kept for the purpose of breeding and selling the offspring. The bill also allows New York police officers, officers of the ASPCA and any other "duly incorporated society for the prevention of cruelty to animals" to seize animals kept in violation of the limit law as long as a complaint has been issued. A warrant must be issued before the animals may be taken. The bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee and now goes to the Codes Committee. View AKC’s Legislative Alert, which includes a sample letter to personalize and send.
North Carolina – The North Carolina Senate delayed a vote on Senate Bill 460, which as currently written infringes on the rights of responsible breeders in the state and allows for warrantless searches and seizure of dogs. The bill has been re-referred to the Rules and Operations of the Senate Committee where further amendments are expected. Read the latest news on SB 460 and learn how you can help us fight this legislation.
Ohio – Several bills of interest have been introduced in Ohio:
House Bill 79 – The AKC supports this bill, which removes the term “pit bull” from Ohio’s statutory definition of dangerous dogs. The bill has been referred to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, and the AKC is urging all Ohioans to contact the committee to request a hearing on this bill. Click here for more information on the bill and legislative contact information.
Senate Bill 95/House Bill 124 – These bills include provisions for search and seizures, limits on ear cropping and tail docking, prohibitions on females breeding more than one litter per year, and the creation of a kennel control authority board. House Bill 124 has had one public hearing. The AKC has issued Legislative Alerts and is working with fanciers and breeders to address concerns with these bills. The AKC urges Ohioans to contact the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Committee.
Oregon – Governor Ted Kulongoski signed House Bill 2470, a bill that limits the rights of responsible breeders. Among other provisions, House Bill 2470 imposes significant and cumbersome operational requirements on all who own 10 or more intact dogs of any age and requires breeders to comply with an unreasonable two-year consumer protection term. The bill also outlaws anyone from possessing more than 50 or more intact dogs 2 years of age or older. HB 2470 passed the Legislature and is going to the Governor. The AKC issued Legislative Alerts on this bill and worked with our Oregon federation and local dog clubs in opposition to this bill.
Pennsylvania – House Bill 39 seeks to update the statute regarding ear cropping, tail docking, dewclaw removal, debarking, and surgical birth by requiring a veterinarian to perform all such procedures. HB 39 unanimously passed the House and was approved by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee with amendments. The bill now awaits a hearing by the Senate Judiciary. The AKC is working with the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs to address concerns with this bill.
Wisconsin – Two breeder’s bills have been introduced in Wisconsin:
Assembly Bill 250 – This bill as introduced would require a license for anyone who sells over 25 dogs a year in the state, including non-residents. Licenses would also be required for animal shelters and animal control facilities. The bill also allows for searches and inspections of facilities prior to license issuance at any time of day. The AKC is monitoring this bill in conjunction with the Dog Federation of Wisconsin. The bill has not yet received a hearing.
Senate Bill 208 – This bill as introduced seeks to require licenses for any person who sells 25 or more dogs/year, including nonresidents who sell dogs in Wisconsin. Licenses would also be required for auctions that sell over 50 dogs/year, animal shelters that house at least 25 dogs/year, and any animal control facility under contract with a local municipality. Inspections are required prior to issuing a license, and then every two years thereafter. In addition, licensees may not sell dogs under seven weeks old, and must abide by basic care and conditions standards listed in the bill. The AKC is monitoring this bill and assisting the efforts of the Dog Federation of Wisconsin. The bill has not yet received a hearing.