AKC Government Relations Department (AKC GR) assists dog owners 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 city 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 defend responsible dog ownership in your community.
Here are some examples of local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR:
Cecil County, MD – The Cecil County Board of Commissioners is considering numerous proposed changes to its licensing laws. These provisions include requiring a license and inspection for anyone who keeps dogs for hunting, tracking, participation in dog shows, performance events or field or obedience trials. Other proposed changes include requiring anyone who is “engaged in the business of breeding” five or more dogs to obtain a kennel license, individual dog licenses and a business license, as well as schedule annual inspections with three separate county departments. A hearing scheduled for August 16 was cancelled, but the council is expected to schedule another hearing in the near future. Local fanciers, breeders, and exhibitors are encouraged to contact the commission and express opposition to these proposals. Read more and view the County Commission contact information.
Irvine, CA – The Irvine City Council is expected to consider changes to their animal control ordinance in late September or early October. The ordinance would require the spaying and neutering of dogs impounded for a third time, with the only exemption for those deemed medically unfit to be sterilized. The measure also would prohibit rodeos, circuses, or other similar activities. “Dog and cat exhibitions” would be exempted, but the ordinance does not define this term, making it unclear how AKC events may be impacted. Finally, the ordinance would prohibit sales of dogs and cats by pet stores, although existing stores would be allowed to continue selling animals until a date yet to be specified. The ordinance exempts those who sell animals bred and reared on the premises of the person or establishment. AKC GR is coordinating education and outreach efforts with local dog clubs, owners and breeders.
Medford, MA – The Medford City Council is considering a mandatory spay/neuter proposal. While a final draft is not yet available, AKC GR has sent a letter of concern regarding mandatory sterilization laws and suggesting more positive alternatives. AKC GR is working with its Massachusetts federation to address this proposal.
Suffolk County, NY – The Suffolk County Legislature Resolution 1545 contained legislative intent language that made a number of inaccurate, misleading and unsubstantiated claims. Although the sponsor removed language that attacked the AKC, the legislative findings still impugned the integrity of responsible dog breeders. AKC GR sent a written response to the legislation as introduced, created alerts to be distributed at local shows, and worked extensively with local clubs in opposition to the measure. Legislators were also invited to the Suffolk County Kennel Club’s Canine Experience on July 31. The sponsor, Legislator Cooper, agreed to withdraw the bill after legal concerns were raised.
Suffolk County, NY – Resolution IR-1769 would create a voluntary rating system for Suffolk County pet stores. AKC GR is monitoring this proposal closely.
Ypsilanti Township, MI – The Ypsilanti Township Board of Supervisors has given preliminary approval to an ordinance that would require annual permits for each dog bred (including stud dogs). Prior to obtaining a permit, a breeder would be required to allow an inspection of the “breeding/whelping location” to determine whether the area is in compliance with the International Property Maintenance Code. The proposal would also prohibit the breeding of all “pit bulls”, which are defined in current law as any dog that meets five of eight physical characteristics on a list. The Board has agreed to talk with members of AKC’s Michigan federations prior to the final vote on this measure.
Dangerous Dog/Breed-Specific Legislation
Charles County, MD – The Charles County Board of Commissioners is considering a proposal that would make numerous changes to the county’s animal regulations. This includes declaring all “pit bull terriers” (defined as American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and American Bulldogs) as “potentially dangerous” and requiring the owners to comply with numerous regulations. The proposal would also establish an “animal fancier permit” for anyone who harbors or keeps up to 10 adult animals and does not breed them. This is a combination of all animals owned, not just one species. The annual permit would cost no less than $250 and include an annual inspection. This is in addition to existing laws that require a commercial breeding permit for anyone who owns four or more intact dogs “for the purpose of charging a fee for stud services or offspring.” Among other provisions, the proposal would also require an outdoor shelter for any animal left outside for over 30 minutes. This shelter must be in compliance with the same specific structural guidelines as shelters for dogs left permanently outside. AKC GR has sent a letter of concern, alerted local clubs and breeders, and continues to closely monitor this proposal.
Vancouver, WA – The Vancouver City Council will hold a work session in August to discuss possible changes to their dangerous dog law. AKC GR sent a letter to the council opposing breed-specific legislation and provided samples of alternative ordinances that have proven successful in other communities. The council has since indicated that they will pursue a breed-neutral approach to this issue. AKC GR is contacting local clubs and responsible dog owners with specific information about the upcoming work session.
Waukesha, WI – The Waukesha Common Council is considering a citywide breed-specific vicious dog proposal and is currently gathering information on the topic. AKC GR and the Dog Federation of Wisconsin are contacting the council and providing information on more effective, breed-neutral dangerous dog laws.
Los Angeles, CA – The City of Los Angeles Animal Services Department is proposing an increase in 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, and is 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. This item has not yet been placed on the council’s agenda, but as ordinances do move very quickly, residents are being asked to contact the mayor and council as soon as possible in support of this change.
Tulsa, OK - The Tulsa City Council proposed a measure that would have subjected those with hobbyist permits to the same three-dog limit law as other residents. Current law exempts hobbyists from this limitation. Under the proposal, residents could only own more than three dogs if they possessed a private kennel permit, which could only be obtained for commercially-zoned areas. Rescues would have been provided an exemption to possess up to five dogs. The proposal was tabled after the council received numerous communications in opposition. The sponsor unsuccessfully attempted to introduce a second proposal establishing an animal welfare task force that would not be open to public participation and input. AKC GR issued alerts to local clubs and breeders, sent letters of concern and numerous educational materials to the council, and worked closely with several local clubs in opposition to these two measures. AKC GR and local clubs continue to monitor council agendas to ensure no other restrictive proposals are introduced.
Other Animal Control Legislation
Suffolk County, NY – Suffolk County Resolution 1315, as introduced, would have banned the use of all choke or prong collars in the county. AKC GR alerted local clubs and sent a letter of concern asking that exemptions be made for humane uses such as slip/show leads, grooming tables and veterinary examinations. In response to AKC’s letter and the numerous communications from residents, the sponsor amended the bill to ban the use of these collars on stationary objects. The bill has been tabled, and it is unclear if it will be considered at a future meeting.