2009 Legislative Successes
The AKC Government Relations Department is working hard with local federations, dog clubs, and concerned owners to protect the rights of responsible dog owners. Despite the many challenges we have seen so far this year, there have been a number of victories for owners, breeders, and fanciers at the state and local level. Click here to read about the most recent successes since March 2009. To review the previous legislative successes, check out our previous issue of Taking Command.
Florida – Florida dog owners won three legislative victories this session:
House Bill 451 – This bill would have prohibited owning or maintaining an intact dog older than 4 months old. The AKC Government Relations Department (GR) worked with the Florida Association of Kennel clubs to oppose the measure and provided legislative alerts, sample letters, and emails to 1,046 delegates, club officers and judges. As a result of grassroots opposition to the bill, the bill’s sponsor removed all mandatory spay/neuter language from it. The bill is now an animal control bill that replaces part of the civil penalty for violations of animal control ordinances with an equal surcharge to fund low-cost spay/neuter services.
House Bill 189/Senate Bill 922 – This bill would have eliminated the current prohibition on local breed-specific regulation. Florida’s legislative session ended prior to action being taken. This issue has now been introduced in multiple sessions with no success. The AKC posted a legislative alert on this bill and worked with the Florida federation to stop this legislation.
Senate Bill 2002 – This bill would have limited the number of intact dogs a person may possess, imposed strict operational requirements upon anyone who possesses 10 or more dogs, imposed breeding restrictions, and allowed inspections of any premises where dogs are kept by any law enforcement official on his own motion. Despite procedural moves attempted by supporters, the bill only passed one committee and session ended prior to any further action being taken. The AKC posted legislative alerts, notified Florida clubs and breeders, and worked closely with the Florida federation to defeat this bill.
Hawaii – Senate Bill 79 sought to prohibit the ownership, possession, or sale of “pit bulls”. “Pit Bull” was defined as any dog that is an American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, a Staffordshire bull terrier, or any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of those breeds, or any dog exhibiting distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to those standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of those breeds. Hawaii fanciers and dog owners held rallies and contacted the Hawaii Legislature to express their opposition. AKC supported their efforts through legislative alerts that provided talking points and information on how to contact state legislators. The deadline has passed for this bill to be heard this session, and the bill will not move forward.
Indiana – The Indiana General Assembly passed House Bill 1468, which defines “commercial breeders” as anyone who owns more than 20 intact females over 1 year of age. The original bill contained a limit on dog ownership, strict breeding ages, warrantless inspections, and numerous other egregious provisions. The AKC posted numerous legislative alerts and provided talking points and information to Indiana clubs. The AKC congratulates the Indiana fanciers and breeders who worked tirelessly and succeeded in removing the most alarming portions of the bill and protecting the rights of responsible Indiana dog owners and breeders. The bill now goes to the Governor.
Click here to read the final version of HB 1468.
Maryland – Senate Bill 318 would have prohibited ownership of more than 50 “breeding dogs” at any time and established enclosure size and exercise requirements for individuals who own 10 or more “breeding” dogs. GR worked closely with the Maryland Dog Federation, issued legislative alerts and wrote letters of opposition. The Maryland Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee gave an unfavorable recommendation on the bill, effectively killing the measure.
Nebraska – Legislative Bill 677 would have heavily regulated breeders and capped dog ownership at 75 dogs. GR worked closely with Nebraska constituents, posted an online alert, contacted breeders, and provided legislator contact information. The Legislature’s Agriculture Committee has postponed consideration of the bill indefinitely.
Nevada – Senate Bill 241 would have required all breeders, regardless of the number of dogs owned, to pay a $500 annual fee for the ability to breed and sell puppies. The bill also imposed numerous other regulations and subjects anyone who breeds and sells dogs to random inspections. AKC worked closely with Nevada dog clubs to defeat this legislation by providing information and talking points to clubs and fanciers, as well as posting legislative alerts. Key fanciers in Nevada report that SB 241 is dead in committee and will not pass this year.
New Hampshire – House Bill 337 would have prevented any dog owner from selling more than one dog or cat per year without a 60-day temporary license, and would prohibited any breeder from obtaining more than two licenses in a year. GR issued a legislative alert, contacted affected fanciers, and provided background materials to help local breeders fight this bill. This measure was killed in committee.
West Virginia – House Bill 2843 would have imposed strict regulations on owners of 20 or more intact dogs and would have limited breeders to 40 intact dogs. GR issued a legislative alert and letters urging Agriculture committee members to oppose the bill. Bill supporters were unable to meet procedural requirements and the bill is dead for the session.