News from the State Capitols
Thirty-three state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in session. For the latest information on the approximately 1,000 state and federal bills being tracked by the Government Relations (GR) Department, visit our 2010 Legislation Tracking page. This page, updated daily, provides the latest bill text, status, and Legislative Alerts posted by the AKC.
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.
Alabama – Senate Bill 18 seeks to establish a statewide mandatory spay/neuter law for the state. Although the AKC’s state federation for Alabama does not believe that the bill will gain traction, GR is working with the federation on strategy to defeat the bill. A similar bill introduced in 2009 did not receive a hearing. SB 18 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry.
Arizona – House Bill 2375 sought to ban the ownership, sale, and transportation of “dangerous wildlife” As introduced, HB 2375 would have defined all carnivores as "dangerous wildlife" with no exceptions, thereby banning Arizonans from owning and selling dogs in the state. The bill was amended to clarify that domestic animals were exempted. AKC GR worked to address remaining concerns. HB 2375 passed the House Natural Resources & Rural Affairs Committee but is not expected to advance further this session.
Connecticut – Senate Bill 274 would prohibit the tethering of dogs and require all dog enclosures to be at least 100 square feet, regardless of the breed or size of the dog. AKC GR has posted a Legislative Alert and is working with AKC’s Connecticut federation to address this bill. The Joint Committee on the Environment held a public hearing on this bill on March 8, 2010.
Florida – The AKC is tracking several bills of interest in the Florida Legislature:
House Bill 543/Senate Bill 1276 – These bills would eliminate the state’s existing prohibition of local breed-specific dangerous dog laws. S.1276 passed the Senate Community Affairs Committee with an amendment on March 4, 2010. The bill must also be heard by the Senate Agriculture, Transportation, and Economic Development Appropriations Committees. AKC GR has posted a Legislative Alert and continues to work with the Florida federation to defeat this proposal.
Senate Bill 122 – Senate Bill 122 seeks to require those considered to be “pet dealers” (selling 20 or more dogs per year) to provide a written disclosure to buyers that states that certain breeds may be predisposed to certain health problems and recommending that the owners obtain a scientific screening test “to help you identify a number of genetic diseases.” This bill also seeks to unreasonably raise penalties for violations of Florida’s consumer protection law up to $10,000. The bill passed the Senate Agriculture Committee. AKC GR has posted a Legislative Alert and is working with the Florida federation in an effort to defeat this proposal.
Iowa – House File 2280 expands requirements for commercial breeders. Under existing law, Iowa defines commercial breeders as those who possess four or more intact male or female dogs, but with exceptions. The new law also allows care and conditions standards for all commercial establishments to be set by rule. HF 2280 has been signed by the Governor. Read the AKC Legislative Alert for more information.
Massachusetts – House Bill 344 would make debarking illegal. This bill passed the House of Representatives, and an amended version of the bill has passed the Senate. The bill now returns to the House for conference committee. AKC GR has posted a Legislative Alert and is working with the Massachusetts federation to address this bill.
Minnesota – On March 9, the Minnesota Senate Agricultural and Veterans Committee voted down Senate File 7, which sought to regulate the activities of dog owners and breeders who possess six or more adult intact female dogs. This action effectively prohibits further consideration of SB 7. The companion bill, House File 253, is still under consideration by the House Agriculture and Veterans Affairs Committee. It remains unclear whether any member of the committee plans to take action on HF 253. Read AKC’s Legislative Alert on SF7/HF 253.
Missouri – AKC is tracking two issues of interest in Missouri:
Possible breeder regulation ballot initiative – A statutory initiative relating to dog breeding may be placed on the 2010 mid-term election ballot. Supporters of the initiative, which duplicates previous unsuccessful legislative efforts, are currently collecting the required number of signatures to ensure the initiative is placed on the November ballot. The initiative contains a 50-dog ownership limit. AKC has issued a legislative alert expressing opposition to the proposal, and continues to work with the Missouri federation to defeat this initiative effort.
House Joint Resolution 86 – This resolution would place an amendment to Missouri’s constitution on the November 2010 ballot. If the ballot measure is approved by the voters, it will protect the rights of Missouri residents to raise animals in a humane manner that protects animal health without allowing the state to impose undue economic burdens on owners. The AKC and its Missouri federation both strongly support this resolution, which passed the Missouri House of Representatives on March 4. The resolution will next be considered by the Senate.
Ohio – As introduced, Senate Bill 95 and House Bill 124 seek to regulate dog breeding in Ohio and contain numerous provisions of concern to the AKC. The bills have received hearings, but no votes at this time. A substitute bill for Senate Bill 95 was introduced which addressed many of the AKC’s concerns, but still contains some problematic provisions. Visit the AKC Government Relations web page or contact the GR Department for the latest information.
Oklahoma – The AKC is tracking several breeder regulation bills in Oklahoma and is working with the Oklahoma federation to address concerns:
House Bill 2745 – This bill seeks to create the “Oklahoma Pet Quality Assurance and Protection Act”, a voluntary licensure program for anyone who transfers 35 or more dogs or cats. The state’s Board of Agriculture would also be empowered to develop rules, as advised by a citizen committee, for care and conditions standards in licensed facilities. This bill passed the House and will next be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Read the AKC Legislative Alert.
Senate Bill 1340 – This bill, entitled the “Kennel Definitions Act”, defines a “commercial breeder” as one who harbors 25 intact females. The bill would require show and hobby breeders to adhere to the same care and conditions requirements as commercial breeders. SB 1340 also provides consumer protection language and seeks to be the first law to explicitly define the term “puppy mill.” The bill has passed the Senate as well as the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee. Read the AKC Legislative Alert.
Senate Bill 1712 – This bill, called the “Commercial Pet Breeders Act”, would classify anyone with 11 or more intact females as a commercial breeder. Commercial breeders would have to be licensed and have their facilities inspected. The bill would also create the Board of Commercial Pet Breeders to oversee enforcement. SB 1712 has passed the Senate, as well as the House Economic Development and Financial Services Committee. Read the AKC Legislative Alert.
Senate Bill 2186 – This bill, entitled the “Companion Pet Protection Act”, would classify anyone who harbors more than 25 intact female dogs as a commercial breeder and require them to be USDA certified and follow federal care and conditions guidelines. It would also require “hobby” and “show” breeders to register with the state. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services.
Pennsylvania – Senate Bill 50 seeks to expand Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Law. It would give a new dog owner 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) a veterinarian may have to determine whether a dog died from a congenital or hereditary defect. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee.
Wisconsin – Assembly Bill 793 seeks to amend state statutes regarding the seizure and subsequent care of animals whose owners are suspected of mistreatment or dog fighting. Among other provisions, an animal may be considered “unclaimed” if the owner fails to pay an amount mandated by the court for care of the animals within 5 days. The owner is not refunded the money paid, regardless of whether there is a guilty verdict. All the owner will receive is the amount that was not used to care for the animals during the hearings. Wisconsin residents are encouraged to contact their state legislators to express any comments or concerns regarding this bill.