News from the State Capitols
The U.S. Congress, 12 state legislatures, and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session; California, Delaware, and Pennsylvania are in special session. Throughout 2010, AKC Government Relations (AKC GR) has tracked over 1,100 bills at all levels of government. For the latest information on the 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 email@example.com.
Here are some highlights:
Missouri – A statutory initiative relating to dog breeding may be placed on the November 2010 mid-term election ballot. Supporters of the initiative, which duplicates previous unsuccessful legislative efforts, claim to have collected the required number of signatures to put the initiative on the November ballot. The initiative contains a 50-dog ownership limit. A lawsuit by the Missouri Federation to stop the ballot initiative has a trial date set for August 9, 2010. AKC has issued a legislative alert expressing opposition to the proposal, and continues to work with the Missouri federation to defeat this initiative effort.
New York – Assembly Bill 5507, known as “Charlemagne’s Law”, will significantly impact certain responsible dog breeders if enacted as introduced. The bill would amend the state’s existing definition of “pet dealer” to include those who sell or offer to sell more than five (reduced from nine) dogs or cats per year at wholesale or retail. It also would reduce the current breeder-retailer exception from fewer than 25 dogs or cats per year to 10 dogs or cats per year and impose new restrictions on “pet dealers”. In addition, the bill creates a definition of “commercial kennel”, defines extensive care and conditions requirements for these kennels, and requires annual inspections. A.B. 5507 has been held in the Assembly Agriculture Committee. AKC GR continues to closely monitor this legislation.
North Carolina – Senate Bill 460, carried over from 2009, sought to regulate "commercial breeders", which are defined as anyone who owns 15 or more intact female dogs "of breeding age" and 30 or more puppies. It was unclear if this was the number on the property at one time, or if it was a cumulative number over a lifetime. The AKC worked closely with its North Carolina federation (the North Carolina Federation of Dog Clubs) and a number of other coalition partners to oppose the bill. SB 460 died in the House of Representatives. Read more about this victory.
Ohio – The Ohio General Assembly has recessed for the summer and will likely reconvene in September to consider legislation. The American Kennel Club is tracking two bills of interest in Ohio:
House Bill 55 – This bill, which revises penalties and clarifies Ohio’s animal cruelty provisions, was amended on the House floor to remove breed-specific language (specifically, the term “pit bull”) from the state’s vicious dog definition. The amendment was added after House Bill 79, which sought to remove the breed-specific language, was stalled in a House committee. Read more about House Bill 79 and Ohio’s vicious dog law. The bill now goes to the State Senate.
Senate Bill 95 – This bill, which seeks to regulate “high volume” dog breeding in Ohio, was passed by the Senate State & Local Government & Veterans Affairs Committee. It defines “high volume dog breeder” as one who produces at least 9 litters and sells at least 60 puppies and/or adult dogs per year. Numerous amendments have been added to address many of the AKC’s concerns, including ensuring breeder representation on the new Kennel Control Authority Board and eliminating the limits on breeding ages. Other problematic provisions remain, however, including a definition of “kennel” that could be interpreted to mean any owner of a purebred dog and problematic standards for “high volume breeders". Read the latest Legislative Alert for more information on SB 95.
Pennsylvania – Senate Bill 1417 transfers all duties prescribed in the state’s “Dog Law” (including individual dog and kennel licensing, penalties, etc.) from the state Department of Agriculture to the Department of Health. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. AKC GR is closely monitoring this legislation.
Rhode Island – Senate Bill 2022 sought to outlaw keeping any dog outside, tethered, penned, caged, fenced or otherwise confined for more than one hour without access to an “outdoor housing facility” unless the person in charge of the dog was also outside with it. The measure also used “guardianship” language, which could undermine owners’ legal rights to their animals, and authorizes local humane society personnel to act as enforcement officers without requiring standard legal and procedural training. The bill passed the Senate, but was held in the House Judiciary Committee. The legislature has concluded its business for the year. AKC GR worked with local Legislative Liaisons to oppose issues of concern.