The AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) continues to work with responsible dog owners to help with canine legislation issues in their local communities. If you hear of an issue in your town or county, 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:
Clarke County, VA – The Clarke County Board of Supervisors approved removing the term “commercial” from the county’s kennel definition, thereby requiring any dog breeder with more than 15 intact and altered dogs to obtain a $5000 special use permit. AKC sent a letter to the supervisors opposing these changes and worked to assist local fanciers in their attempts to educate county officials.
El Paso, TX – The El Paso City Council has postponed a hearing for 60 days on changes to the animal control code. The original proposal included the establishment of differential license fees, breeder licensing and inspections, a requirement that a dog be sterilized on a second impoundment and a ban on the sale of cats and dogs within city limits. A working group has been formed to draft a new ordinance. AKC GR staff has sent a letter opposing these changes to the city council, has posted a legislative alert on our website and continues to work with local clubs to oppose these and other proposed unreasonable changes.
Jacksonville, FL – The City of Jacksonville is considering an ordinance that limits the number of intact dogs and cats over eight weeks old on a property to 40 and defines anyone who sells, trades or gives away more than 6 dogs, cats or other animals (combined) in a year as an “animal dealer.” “Animal dealers” would be subject to undetermined annual fees, zoning review, and extensive record keeping and kennel engineering requirements. A dog or cat owner not defined as an “animal dealer” who maintained more than 5 intact cats and/or dogs over the age of 8 weeks would be required to obtain an “excessive intact animal” permit, even if the animals are not bred. The annual “excessive intact animal permit - hobby breeder” fee would cost $100 per animal for up to 20 intact animals over eight weeks old. “Professional breeder” permits would be required for anyone who maintains 21-40 intact animals over eight weeks old, at an annual fee of $100 per animal for up to 20 and $200 per animal for 21-40. Other areas of concern include, but are not limited to, definitions of potentially dangerous dogs, and non-refundable boarding fees for impounded animals regardless of whether the owner is found not guilty of charges. Fines for minor infractions range from $100 to $500 on a first offense. AKC GR has learned that amendments have been approved, but they are not yet publicly available. AKC Government Relations has sent information to council members, alerted area fanciers, is working with the AKC Florida federation, and continues to provide support to local clubs working with the council in opposition to this proposal.
Lubbock, TX – The Lubbock City Council has rejected the Animal Advisory Board’s recommendation that the city pursue a mandatory spay/neuter law and enhanced penalties. The city is investigating moving animal control enforcement duties to the police department to improve enforcement. AKC GR sent a letter to the city council and assisted local clubs in educating the council members about the ineffectiveness of mandatory spay/neuter laws.
Memphis, TN – The Memphis City Council is considering an ordinance that would require mandatory spay/neuter of all dogs over 29 pounds and define any dog that has “bitten once and been at-large twice” as a dangerous dog. It would also increase fees for owners of intact dogs and limit tethering. AKC GR sent a letter to the city council opposing these changes, posted a legislative alert and is working with local clubs and fanciers to oppose this measure. The proposal has passed committee and will now go to the full city council for consideration. Check the AKC Government Relations Legislative Alerts web page for the latest updates.
North Olmstead, OH – The North Olmsted City Council will consider placing restrictions on dog breeding in the city’s animal nuisance laws at their September 20 meeting. The proposal defines breeder as anyone who has ever had an unspayed female on their premises, had at least two litters birthed within 18 months on their premises, and has advertised the sale of puppies under 6 months of age or advertised an unspayed female dog for breeding purposes. The definition still applies even if someone met these criteria before the law is enacted. Breeders may keep two intact dogs, so long as their residential lot is at least one acre, and an additional acre is required for each additional intact dog, regardless of breed. AKC GR has sent a letter of concern to the council and notified local clubs and AKC officials of the upcoming hearing and vote.
Dangerous Dog/Breed-Specific Legislation
Topeka, KS – The Topeka City Council is expected to consider a repeal of their breed-specific ordinance in September. The city currently restricts the ownership of American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and any mixed-breed dog with the characteristics of these breeds. AKC GR has sent a letter supporting the repeal and packets containing sample dangerous dog ordinances to the city attorney and city council members. Local fanciers and breeders have also been asked to contact the council in support of the proposed repeal.
Worcester, MA – The Worcester City Council has approved restrictions on all “pit bulls,” defined as American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, or any mixed-breed dog containing these breeds or whose characteristics are similar to these breeds. These dogs will be required to have a special license and be registered with the city for a $50 fee. Other requirements include spaying/neutering, signage, and a limit of only 2 of these dogs per household.