The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) assists dog owners and breeders with canine legislation issues in their local communities, but we can’t help unless we are aware of the proposal! If you hear of an issue in your town or county, please contact us at (919) 816-3720 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
Jacksonville, FL – The City of Jacksonville is considering an ordinance that would require an annual permit to sell or give away an animal. Any person or entity that sells more than four litters or twenty unsterilized dogs or cats in a year would be defined as an “Animal Dealer” and subject to permitting fees, extensive regulations, kennel engineering standards and reporting requirements. Of continuing concern are permitting requirements for “Hobby Breeders” and “Occasional Sellers” that are based on the number of “animals” owned and sold, not specifically cats and dogs. A “Hobby Breeder” permit and regular inspections would be required to sell or place up to 20 animals per year. An “Occasional Seller” permit would allow the sale or placement of up 10 unsterilized animals per year. If none of these permits is maintained, anyone with more than five unsterilized cats and/or dogs on a property would be required to purchase an “Excessive Unsterilized Animal” permit with annual fees ranging from $50 to $500 per animal. AKC GR sent information to council members, sent numerous alerts and updates to area fanciers and breeders, and continues to work with the AKC’s Florida federation on this proposal.
Lee County, NC – The Lee County Board of Commissioners will be hosting informational meetings across the county in January regarding proposed changes to its dog ordinance. While much of the proposal is focused on measures to protect the public from dangerous animals and prevent the spread of rabies, there are some sections of the proposal which are problematic. Specifically, the AKC is concerned about provisions to require sterilization on a second impoundment, specifications for enclosures and requirements for a special license for anyone owning more than thirty dogs. AKC GR has notified local clubs and breeders, and continues to monitor this proposal.
Rio Rancho, NM – The Rio Rancho City Council has postponed a hearing on changes to the city’s animal control ordinance until March 2011. Proposed changes include mandatory spay/neuter of dogs and cats, pet ownership limits, and permit requirements for breeders, animal rescues, animal shelters, boarding kennels, groomers, pet day cares, training facilities, pet stores and pet sitters. Hobby breeders, defined as those who produce even a single litter, would be required to obtain a conditional use permit from the zoning department and a business permit to sell the dogs. They would also be required to allow for an inspection of their facility. The city council has been holding a series of public workshops on the issue and changes have been suggested by the council. More work sessions are expected and a final draft should be available prior to the March 2011 meeting. The AKC GR department has alerted local clubs and breeders and sent materials to the city council on the ineffectiveness of these proposals.
Salt Lake County, UT – The Salt Lake County Council will consider an ordinance on December 21 that would place numerous restrictions on anyone who whelps more than one litter a year. The restrictions include limiting dogs to two litters in any 18-month period (it appears that this would also apply to stud dogs), and requiring constant and unfettered access to an indoor enclosure with solid floors. Unannounced inspections would also be permitted at any time. The AKC has notified local dog owners and sent a letter to the council expressing concerns with certain provisions of the proposal.
Shelby County, AL – The Shelby County Planning Commission is recommending that a definition for “kennel” be added to zoning regulations and requesting that the Shelby County Commission consider drafting comprehensive animal control regulations. AKC GR contacted Planning Services staff with concerns about the definition that was initially proposed and alerted local fanciers, who worked with county staff to develop an alternative definition. Local fanciers and breeders continue to express some concerns with a newly-revised definition. AKC GR continues to monitor this proposal.
Dangerous Dog/Breed-Specific Legislation
Cypress, CA – The Cypress City Council has requested that an ordinance be drafted to require the mandatory sterilization of specific dog breeds. It is not yet clear which breeds may be affected. Local residents are urged to contact the mayor and city council and ask them to oppose any legislation that is breed-specific or requires the sterilization of owned dogs.
Contra Costa County, CA – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Public Protection Committee is in the process of researching an ordinance that would require all dogs that are impounded be sterilized before they are returned to their owners, even on a first offense. The animal services director is expected to report back to the committee in January. AKC GR department sent a letter opposing this proposal and contacted local fanciers and responsible dog owners to encourage them to contact their supervisors and oppose this one-strike policy.
Ogden, UT – The Ogden City Council is considering an ordinance that would place additional requirements on owners of pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and other “bully” breeds. The AKC GR staff alerted local AKC clubs and officials and also sent letters to council members expressing concerns with this measure.
Sterling Heights, MI – The Sterling Heights City Council has postponed introduction of a proposal that would have placed numerous restrictions on owners of “pit bulls” (defined as Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and mixed-breed dogs that have the appearance of any of these breeds). The AKC alerted local dog owners and sent letters opposing breed-specific legislation. The proposal has been postponed until February 2011.
Los Angeles, CA – The City of Los Angeles Animal Services Department is proposing to increase the city’s current animal limit from 3 dogs or cats to 5 dogs or cats. AKC GR staff alerted local club members and breeders in Los Angeles asking them to contact their council members in support of this change. AKC GR provided talking points that laud the proposed changes, but also discuss the general ineffectiveness of limit laws. This item has not yet been placed on the council’s agenda, but as things can move very quickly, residents are asked to contact the mayor and council as soon as possible in support of this change.