Forty state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in session. The American Kennel Club Government Relations Department is tracking almost 700 bills that carried over from 2009, plus over 100 new pieces of legislation already introduced in 2010. For the latest information on the approximately 800 state and federal bills being tracked by the Government Relations Department, visit our 2010 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some of the highlights.
Alabama – Senate Bill 18 seeks to establish a mandatory spay/neuter law for the state. Although the AKC’s state federation for Alabama, the Alabama Canine Coalition, 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.
Florida – Prefiled House Bill 543 seeks to eliminate the state’s prohibition of local breed-specific dangerous dog laws. A version of this bill was introduced in the 2008 and 2009 regular sessions, but neither bill gained traction. HB 543 has been assigned to the House Agriculture & Natural Resources Policy, Military & Local Affairs, and General Government Policy Council Committees.
Indiana – Senate Bill 5 seeks to add baiting and animal fighting contests to the list of offenses qualifying as racketeering. “Baiting” is defined as provoking or harassing an animal with another animal. AKC GR sent a letter to the sponsor requesting an amendment that clarifies that recognized, sanctioned performance events (such as earthdog); lawful hunting; and training for law enforcement purposes are permitted. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal, and Civil Matters.
Iowa – House File 2280 seeks to add additional requirements on those which Iowa law already defines as commercial breeders (those who possess four or more intact male or female dogs). The bills will allow care and conditions standards for all commercial establishments to be set by rule. Additionally, license fees will be set by rule without a limit on how much a fee may be increased. HF 2280 passed the Committee on Public Safety.
Missouri – 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 on this matter, and continues to work with the Missouri Federation of Animal Owners in opposition to this initiative effort.
New Hampshire – House Bill 1624 seeks to impose many unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions on responsible dog breeders and owners, including: ownership limits; requiring certain breeders to adhere to certain care and conditions standards; and limiting the practices of debarking, tail docking, and surgical births. The House Environmental and Agriculture Committee has recommended that the bill not advance. The AKC worked closely with the Dog Owners of the Granite State in opposing this bill.
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 recently introduced. Check 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:
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 Economic Development and Financial Services Committee.
Senate Bill 1340 – This bill, entitled the “Kennel Definitions Act”, defines a “commercial breeder” as one who harbors 25 intact females. The bill would also 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 been assigned to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
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 will also create the Board of Commercial Pet Breeders to oversee enforcement of the Act. SB 1712 has been assigned to the Senate Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Regulatory Services.
Senate Bill 2186 – This bill would create the “Companion Pet Protection Act.” It 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. Hobby and show breeders would also be required 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. Should the bill be enacted, a new owner will have 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 has to determine whether a dog has died from a congenital or hereditary defect. It has been assigned to the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee.
South Dakota – House Bill 1146 sought to classify anyone who keeps 30 or more adult female dogs as a commercial breeder, and limits ownership to 50 dogs. The bill also sought to impose record-keeping requirements and provides care and conditions definitions, investigations, and penalties for violations. The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee unanimously tabled the bill on February 9, 2010.
West Virginia – House Bill 4333 seeks to regulate commercial breeders, which are defined as any person who maintains 20 or more unsterilized dogs over one year of age and breeds those animals for sale. Commercial breeders must obtain a valid business license and an annual commercial breeder license. They must also comply with a number of requirements, including owning no more than 50 intact dogs at any time for breeding purposes and limiting breeding of female dogs to between 18 months and 8 years of age. Commercial breeders must be given five days notice prior to an inspection. This bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Judiciary Committees.