The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) continues to work with responsible dog owners to help with canine legislation issues in their local communities. If you hear of an issue in your town or county, contact us at (919) 816-3720 or email@example.com. We will be happy to provide you with the resources, tools, and support you need to help fight for responsible dog ownership in your community.
Here are some examples of the local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR, as well as some victories for dog owners within the past month:
Anderson, IN – The Anderson City Council has rejected a proposal that would have mandated sterilization for all dogs over six months of age unless the owner purchased a $100/year breeder’s permit. The permit would have been required regardless of whether or not the dogs were being bred, and would limit breeders to one litter every 12 months. The AKC’s Indiana federation sent letters and testified at the hearing, along with local concerned residents. The AKC supported their efforts by sending a letter of opposition and notifying local AKC clubs, officials, and judges of the hearing. An advisory committee is being formed to develop a more positive solution to the city’s animal population concerns.
Austin, TX – The Austin Animal Advisory Commission is considering an ordinance to require pet traders (those who sell more than 15 dogs or cats in a year) pay a $50 fee for each intact animal they sell and file a variety of paperwork with the city. The AKC GR Department has sent a letter expressing our concerns with this measure. A second proposed ordinance would ban retail sales of dogs and cats within the city limits.
El Paso, TX –The El Paso City Council has postponed a hearing for 60 days on changes to the animal control code. The original proposal included the establishment of differential license fees, breeder licensing and inspections, a requirement that a dog be sterilized on a second impoundment and a ban on the sale of cats and dogs within city limits. A working group has been formed to draft a new ordinance. AKC GR staff has sent a letter opposing these changes to the city council, has posted a legislative alert on our website and continues to work with local clubs to oppose these and other proposed unreasonable changes.
Jacksonville, FL –The City of Jacksonville is considering an ordinance that could define “animal dealer” as anyone who sells more than six dogs, cats or other animals in a year. The draft also proposes a $100 per animal “Excessive Intact Animal” permit for anyone with at least six intact cats and/or dogs over the age of eight weeks on their property. Other areas of concern include, but are not limited to, “Professional Breeder” permit requirements, “potentially dangerous dog” definitions and penalties, and impoundment/boarding fees that are non-refundable even if a dog owner is found not guilty of charges. GR sent information to council members, alerted area fanciers, is working with the AKC Florida federation, and continues to provide support to local clubs working with the council in opposition to this proposal.
Lubbock, TX – The Animal Advisory Board has recommended changes to the city’s animal control code including a mandatory spay/neuter law and enhanced penalties. A draft ordinance is not yet available. AKC GR has sent a letter to the city council and continues to assist local clubs who are educating the council members about the ineffectiveness of mandatory spay/neuter laws.
Memphis, TN – The Memphis City Council is considering an ordinance that would require mandatory spay/neuter of all dogs over 29 pounds, define any dog that has “bitten once and been at-large twice” as a dangerous dog, increase fees for owners of intact dogs and limit tethering. The AKC GR department has sent a letter to the city council opposing these changes, posted a legislative alert and is working with local clubs and fanciers to oppose this measure. The proposal has passed committee and now heads to the full council for consideration. Check the AKC Government Relations Legislative Alerts web page for the latest updates.
Waco, TX – The Waco City Council has approved a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance which requires any resident with an intact dog to obtain a $50 license. Sterilized dogs are not required to be licensed. The AKC GR department sent a letter opposing the ordinance and provided local fanciers with talking points and background on the ineffectiveness of mandatory spay/neuter programs. The measure is set to go into effect in 2011, but officials are working to address some of the concerns before commencing enforcement.
Dangerous Dog/Breed-Specific Legislation
Butte-Silver Bow, MT – The Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners has rejected the request of a constituent to enact legislation restricting ownership of “pit bulls.” AKC GR sent a letter to the council members asking them to adopt a dangerous dog ordinance that is not breed-specific and provided them with sample ordinances from other communities.
Crawford County, AR – The Crawford County Quorum Court has decided against proposing breed-specific legislation, and will instead draft a general dangerous dog ordinance. AKC GR has sent the court a letter thanking them for their actions and providing sample of breed-neutral dangerous dog ordinances that have been successful in other jurisdictions.
Gilroy, CA – The Gilroy City Council has agreed to reconsider an ordinance adopted in April 2010 that mandates the sterilization of all “pit bulls” unless the owner acquires a breeder permit, allows inspections of their private home and allows animal control officials to decide if an animal is suitable to be bred. The measure further requires the sterilization of a dog on a second nuisance offense. The AKC GR department worked with local fanciers to express our concerns to the council and the department will work to assist the city in developing alternative provisions.
Hollister, CA – The Hollister City Council tabled a proposal that sought to mandate the sterilization of all “pit bulls” and Chihuahuas in an attempt to decrease shelter population and dog bit incidents. The GR department sent letters opposing the measure to the mayor and city council and posted a Legislative Alert.
Lynn, MA – The Lynn City Council adopted restrictions on all “pit bulls,” defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or any mixed-breed dog containing these breeds or whose characteristics are similar to these breeds. These dogs will be required to have a special license and be registered with the city for a $50 fee. Other requirements include spaying/neutering, signage, and a limit of only two of these dogs per household. AKC GR sent a letter to the city council opposing this measure and provided non-breed-specific alternatives for dangerous dog laws. This proposal is almost identical to the one being considered in Worchester, Massachusetts (see below).
San Bernardino County, CA – The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has approved an ordinance that will require the spaying/neutering of all "pit bulls." The ordinance defines "pit bulls" as Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers and any mixed-breed dog containing these breeds. Exemptions are provided for dogs registered with the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club and other registries, as well as for law enforcement dogs, service and assistance dogs, dogs used for breeding at licensed kennels, and dogs medically unable to be sterilized. AKC GR notified local residents and sent a letter to the supervisors stating AKC’s opposition to breed-specific laws.
Topeka, KS – On August 13, the Topeka City Council discussed a proposed repeal of their breed-specific ordinance that currently restricts the ownership of American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and any mixed-breed dog with the characteristics of these breeds. AKC GR has sent a letter supporting the repeal and packets containing sample dangerous dog ordinances to the city attorney and city council members. Local fanciers and breeders have also been asked to contact the council in support the proposed repeal.
Worcester, MA – The Worcester City Council has postponed a final vote on restrictions on all “pit bulls,” defined as American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or any mixed-breed dog containing these breeds or whose characteristics are similar to these breeds. These dogs would be required to have a special license and be registered with the city for a $50 fee. Other requirements include spaying/neutering, signage, and a limit of only 2 of these dogs per household. The vote is now scheduled for September 7, 2010. This proposal is almost identical to the one passed in Lynn, Massachusetts (see above).
Yucaipa, CA –The Yucaipa City Council, which is located in San Bernardino County, has adopted the county’s breed-specific mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, since the county’s law only applies to unincorporated areas. As with the county ordinance, exemptions are provided for dogs registered with the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club and other registries, as well as for law enforcement dogs, service and assistance dogs, dogs used for breeding at licensed kennels, and dogs medically unable to be sterilized. AKC GR sent a letter to the city council stating our opposition to breed-specific laws.