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 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:
Guilford County, NC – The Guilford County Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance that regulates and defines high-volume breeders as anyone who owns seven or more intact females, regardless of whether they are bred. It further defines high-volume retailers as anyone who sells more than 50 dogs per year. Residents meeting these thresholds will be required to comply with a host of burdensome engineering standards and allow inspections of their private property even when no proof of animal cruelty or neglect exists. A previous version of the ordinance contained an exemption for breeders who passed AKC’s rigorous inspections programs, but this was removed. The AKC GR department sent letters to the commissioners, contacted local clubs, fanciers, hunters and breeders, authored an op-ed article, and posted e-mail and Legislative Alerts.
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 undetermined permitting fees, extensive regulations, kennel engineering standards and reporting requirements. A “Hobby Breeder” permit and annual inspection would be required to sell or place up to four litters per year. An “Occasional Seller” permit would allow the sale or placement of up to two litters, ten unsterilized animals, or a combination of one litter and six 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 of $50 to $500 per animal based on the number of intact animals. Newly-added provisions would impose significant fines for walking a dog on a leash that is too long and improperly feeding an animal outdoors after dark. 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 to oppose 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 the 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.
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. Some local fanciers and breeders continue to have concerns with a newly-revised definition. AKC GR continues to monitor this proposal.
Dangerous Dog/Breed-Specific Legislation
Hollister, CA – The Hollister City Council approved an ordinance which mandates the sterilization of all Chihuahuas and “pit bulls,” defined as Bull Terriers, Miniature Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and any mix of these breeds. Owners of these “restricted breeds” must pay a one-time registration fee and an annual license fee, have the dog examined annually by a veterinarian, follow a veterinarian-recommended preventative health program, and comply with specified care and conditions. The registration would allow breeders of these dogs to breed one litter per year per female unless a veterinarian recommends otherwise. Fees for the registration and permit are not specified in the ordinance. Local fanciers and clubs attempted to educate staff about the ineffectiveness of mandatory spay/neuter proposals. The AKC GR department supported their efforts by sending letters opposing the measure to the mayor and city council, notifying local clubs and breeders of the proposal, and posting a Legislative Alert.
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. It has not yet been resubmitted to council.
Kirksville, MO– The Kirksville City Council rejected a proposal that sought to ban all “pit bulls”, along with a long list of exotic animals including sharks, wolverines, and piranhas. AKC GR sent letters to the city council and alerted local breeders and dog owners of the proposal. The city council removed the ordinance from their agenda.
Waukon, IA – The Waukon City Council passed an ordinance in October banning Rottweilers and “pit bulls” defined as Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers. Current owners of those breeds would be allowed to keep their dogs only if they comply with significant restrictions. AKC GR sent a letter opposing this ordinance to the council, and notified local AKC clubs and officials.
Ypsilanti Township, MI – The Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees passed an ordinance in October mandating spaying and neutering of all “pit bulls,” defined as Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, or mixed breeds displaying characteristics of those breeds in an attempt to decrease the number of dogs euthanized in the township. AKC GR sent a letter opposing this measure and alerted local fanciers, breeders and clubs. On the suggestion of the local Humane Society, the Board of Trustees voted to support this measure.
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.
Longview, TX – The Longview City Council has approved an ordinance which will limit residents to any combination of six dogs and/or cats. A dog that is impounded for roaming at-large will be required to be sterilized, even on a first offense, unless the owner pays a fine of at least $250. AKC GR staff and local legislative liaisons worked to educate the mayor and council members by sending a letter and educational materials.
Newstead, NY – The Newstead Town Council decided not to pursue an ordinance that would impose a three-dog ownership limit and require public muzzling for “pit bulls”. The AKC sent a letter expressing concerns with the proposal, and local media cited AKC’s letter as one of the reasons the council changed its course. The Council has set up a committee comprised of breeders and dog owners to develop a more effective proposal.
High Bridge, NJ – The High Bridge Common Council will be considering an amended barking dog ordinance on November 18. The current proposal defines a violation as a dog “vocalizing” for 20 minutes without interruption, unless the dog was provoked. Three warnings are required before a citation may be written. The original proposal, which stated that a dog was in violation after five minutes of barking (with at least 4 barks per minute), was tabled by the council after concerns were raised by local dog owners and AKC clubs. The AKC provided a letter of concern regarding the original proposal and requested amendments. AKC GR also provided the council with examples of effective nuisance ordinances from other jurisdictions.