Four state legislatures (Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania), and the District of Columbia are currently in session. Forty-six states have adjourned their regular sessions or are in recess. For the latest information on the over 850 state and federal bills being tracked by the Government Relations Department, visit our 2009 Legislation Tracking page. This page, updated daily, provides the latest bill text, status, and any Legislative Alerts posted by the AKC.
For more information on any of the measures mentioned, contact us at (919) 816-3720 or email@example.com.
Here are some of the highlights:Alabama – The Alabama Legislature has pre-filed a mandatory spay/neuter bill for their 2010 legislative session. The AKC is currently analyzing this legislation and working with the Alabama Canine Coalition on a strategy to defeat the bill. A similar bill introduced in 2009 did not receive a hearing. The Government Relations Department will provide updates as they become available. Concerned dog owners may also review the bill and check the latest status by visiting our 2009 Legislation Tracking page and clicking on Alabama on the U.S. map.
California – Assembly Bill 241, which would have prohibited dog breeders from owning more than 50 intact adult animals, was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger. The AKC Government Relations department sent a letter requesting the veto, pointing out that the quality of a breeder is not determined by the number of animals he has, but by the care the animals receive. In addition, GR sent multiple notices to California breeders, posted several legislative alerts, and sent letters to the appropriate California committees expressing opposition to this bill.
Massachusetts – The AKC is following several bills affecting Massachusetts dog owners. While these bills have all been heard by the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government, there have not yet been any votes. Read our Legislative Alert for more information on these bills and to learn how you can help:
House Bill 1977 – This bill, supported by the AKC, seeks to strengthen dangerous dog laws without targeting specific breeds.
House Bill 1997 – HB 1997 requires owners of unsterilized dogs to purchase an intact animal permit for an undisclosed fee. It also allows municipalities to adopt breed-specific legislation, allows for euthanasia of dogs deemed to be a nuisance, and severely limits the means by which an owner may restrain his dog.
Senate Bill 774 – This bill seeks to restrict the rights of responsible dog breeders, including requiring any owner of four or more dogs to obtain a kennel permit. It also limits ownership to 25 dogs, restricts breeding ages, allows for warrantless inspections, and imposes strict engineering standards for kennels.
New Jersey – Numerous bills have been introduced in New Jersey that affect dog owners, fanciers and breeders:
Assembly Bill 1173 –This bill would raise the penalties for violating state licensing of dogs, kennels, pet shops, shelters, and pounds. The bill would also reduce the number of days for someone to obtain a New Jersey dog license for a dog licensed in another state. A. 1173 has been assigned to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
Assembly Bill 1591 –This bill prohibits certain breeding practices and limits the selling of cats or dogs as pets to 25 animals per year per breeder. "Breeder" is defined under the bill as any person who owns or operates a breeding facility and sells more than five cats or dogs per year. The bill also requires annual registration for breeders selling cats or dogs as pets in the state. A. 1591 has been referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.
Assembly Bill 1951/Senate Bill 1275 – These bills state that an insurer may not deny, cancel, or refuse renewal of a homeowner’s insurance policy solely based on the breed of dog kept at the home. However, they would also allow insurers to issue policies that exclude liability coverage for particular breeds. Whenever an insurer offers or amends a policy, he or she is permitted to establish rates and premiums based on specific dog breeds. In 2008, A. 1951 passed the Assembly, and both A. 1951 and S. 1275 passed the Senate Commerce Committee. No action has yet been taken this year.
Assembly Bill 2536/Senate Bill 1396/Senate Bill 1959 – These bills deem that failure to provide minimum care to dogs is a criminal and civil offense. “Minimum care” is defined as care sufficient to preserve the animal’s health and well-being, including adequate protection from the weather, veterinary care deemed necessary by a reasonably prudent person, and food of sufficient quantity and quality to allow for normal growth, except in cases of emergency or circumstances beyond a person’s reasonable control. This bill has not yet received a hearing. A. 2536 has been referred to the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. S. 1396 and S. 1959 has been assigned to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
Senate Bill 364 – S. 364 directs the Department of Health and Senior Services to review current regulations concerning the proper care and housing of animals, determine the proper care and housing for each species of animal sold by kennels, pet shops and any other retail establishments selling animals, and adopt new rules and regulations as necessary. The bill also establishes penalties for kennel and pet shop owners guilty of overcrowding animals. S. 364 has been referred to the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
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 and request a hearing on this bill.
House Bill 124 – As introduced, this bill included many arbitrary and unenforceable requirements for kennels, limits and restrictions on breeding ages and numbers of litters, and unclear licensing requirements. A substitute amendment has been offered that addresses some issues, including allowing breeders to dock tails and remove dewclaws if the puppy is under 96 hours old. Many concerns still remain. The bill has received a hearing, but has not yet had a vote in committee. Read the latest on House Bill 124.
Senate Bill 95 – This bill is similar to House Bill 124 and seeks to regulate dog breeding in Ohio. It contains many provisions which are of concern to the AKC. SB 95 has not yet had a vote, but action is expected soon. Read the latest information on this bill
Pennsylvania – Senate Bill 50 seeks to expand Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Law. A new owner has 14 days (instead of 10) to determine if the dog is clinically ill or has died from a contagious disease. The bill also increases the amount of time from 30 to 90 days for a veterinarian to determine if a dog has died from a congenital or hereditary defect.
Wisconsin – The AKC is following three bills of interest in Wisconsin:
Assembly Bill 250 – This bill requires licensing of animal shelters, animal control facilities, dog dealers (both in-state and out-of-state), and breeders who sell more than 25 dogs a year (unless the dogs are from 3 or fewer litters). It also requires facility inspections and adherence to basic standards of care. It passed the Assembly 96-0 on October 27 and now goes to the Senate for consideration.
Senate Bill 208 – The companion bill to AB 250 was amended to not require licenses for those who sell three or fewer litters per year, regardless of the number of dogs sold. This bill has passed Senate committees and is expected to be considered by the full Senate very soon.
Senate Bill 110 – This bill requires commercial dog breeders to be licensed if they sell at least 100 dogs per year. The state is permitted to inspect locations prior to issuing licenses or if it is believed there is a violation of state or federal animal welfare laws. This bill has been assigned to the Committee on Agriculture and Higher Education, but has not yet received a hearing.