Forty 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 almost 250 new pieces of legislation already introduced in 2010. For the latest information on the approximately 950 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 Legislative Alerts posted by the AKC.
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 seeks 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 has been amended to clarify that domestic animals are exempted. Further amendments are also expected. AKC GR continues to work to address remaining concerns. HB 2375 has passed the House Natural Resources & Rural Affairs Committee.
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 – House Bill 543/Senate Bill 1276 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, but has also been assigned to 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.
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 has 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 expands requirements for commercial breeders. Under existing law, Iowa defines commercial breeders as those who possess four or more intact male or female dogs. 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 is now in the Senate. AKC GR has posted a Legislative Alert. The AKC is working with the Massachusetts federation to address this bill.
Missouri – AKC is tracking two issues of interest in Missouri:
New Hampshire – House Bill 1624 seeks to impose many unreasonable and unnecessary restrictions on responsible dog breeders and owners, including implementing ownership limits, requiring certain breeders to adhere to certain care and conditions standards, and limiting the practices of debarking and tail docking. The House Environmental and Agriculture Committee has recommended that the bill not advance. The AKC continues to work with the New Hampshire federation 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 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:
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.
West Virginia – House Bill 4333 seeks to regulate commercial breeders, which it defines 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 and limiting breeding of female dogs to between 18 months and 8 years of age. The bill would give commercial breeders five days notice prior to an inspection. This bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Judiciary Committees.
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. AB 793 is scheduled to be heard by the Assembly Corrections and the Courts Committee on March 11, 2010. AKC GR has alerted AKC Legislative Liaisons, breeders, and AKC clubs and officials in Wisconsin of the bill and hearing and continues to work with the Wisconsin federation to address concerns with the bill.