The U.S. Congress and 22 state legislatures are currently in session. Twenty-eight states have adjourned their regular sessions. The Government Relations Department is currently tracking over 800 state bills that relate to animal legislation and policy. For more information on these bills, visit our 2009 Legislation Tracking page. Here are some of the highlights:
California – The AKC is monitoring two bills of concern in California:
Senate Bill 250 – CA Senate Bill 250 passed the Senate with the bare minimum of 21 votes needed for passage, after failing an initial vote 16-15. The bill requires sterilization if a dog is at-large, if the dog is not licensed, and if the dog violates local animal control ordinances, even on a first offense. The author has agreed to some amendments, including exempting working and farm dogs and allowing an exemption for the first time the dog is caught at-large. AKC will review these amendments as soon as they are available. Click here for the latest information on SB 250.
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. Members have yet to be appointed. Click here to 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 be allowed to whelp one litter per year and only dogs between the ages of 18 months and 8 years may be used for breeding. 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 Massachusetts federation to defeat this bill.
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. Click here to 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. Click here to 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 for sale of more than nine animals per year. Click here to read more about 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. Click here for more information on this bill, including a sample letter to personalize and send.
North Carolina – Senate Bill 460 includes a vague definition of “commercial breeder” that includes anyone who owns or maintains at least 15 intact females of any age. Breeding facilities could be subject to random inspections, including potential warrantless searches of licensees’ homes. It also directs the Department of Agriculture to develop standards of care for commercial dog breeder facilities without any public input. The bill passed the Senate Commerce Committee and is awaiting a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee. AKC is working closely with the North Carolina Federation of Dog Clubs to defeat this legislation. Click here to read more about Senate Bill 460.
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 fanciers, clubs, and breeders 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. The AKC is working with the Ohio Federation and is ready to take action should the measures gain traction. Read the latest on Ohio Bill 95.
Oregon – The AKC is monitoring several bills in Oregon:
House Bill 2470 – House Bill 2470 severely limits the rights of 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 25 intact dogs 4 months of age or older. HB 2470 passed the Legislature and is going to the Governor. AKC has issued a Legislative Alert on this bill and is working with our Oregon federation and local dog clubs in opposition to this bill. Click here to read more about HB 2470 and obtain contact information for the Governor.
House Bill 2986 – This bill prohibits the breeding of dogs who share a common parent or grandparent. It makes the first violation subject to maximum fine of $360 and a second or subsequent violation subject to maximum fine of $720. The bill also requires breeder to keep records showing parentage and grandparentage of dogs and puppies. This bill has not yet received a hearing. Click here to read House Bill 2986.
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 is awaiting a hearing by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. AKC is working with the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs to address concerns with this bill.
Tennessee – House Bill 386 and Senate Bill 258 as introduced sought to limit the number of dogs an individual may own; implement inspections of any premises at any time where more than 20 intact companion animals over six months old are maintained; and permit the Commissioner of Agriculture to confiscate animals and allow national humane organizations to house these animals. The bill has been amended to remove the limits, require the inspections be during business hours, and address many other concerns. We will continue to monitor this legislation and will provide more details and updates as they become available.
Wisconsin – Two breeder’s bills have been introduced in Wisconsin:
Assembly Bill 250 – This bill 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 warrantless searches and inspections. The AKC is monitoring this bill in conjunction with the Dog Federation of Wisconsin. The bill has not yet received a hearing. Click here to read the bill.
Senate Bill 208 – This bill seeks to require licenses for any person who sells 25 or more dogs a year, including nonresidents who sell dogs in Wisconsin. Licenses would also be required for auctions that sell over 50 dogs a year, animal shelters that house at least 25 dogs a year, and any animal control facility under contract with a local municipality. Inspections are required prior to issuing a license, and 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 in conjunction with the Dog Federation of Wisconsin. The bill has not yet received a hearing. Click here to read the bill.