The 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to provide you with the resources, tools and support you need to help support and 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 changes to its licensing laws. These provisions include requiring a license and inspection for anyone who keeps dogs for hunting, tracking, performance events or field or obedience trials. Anyone who breeds three or more litters would be required to obtain a commercial breeder license, individual dog licenses and a business license, as well as comply with zoning requirements. Other provisions include implementing a differential licensing and fee structure for individual dog licenses depending on whether the dog is intact and microchipped. A license for an intact dog would cost four times as much as one for a dog that is sterilized and microchipped. The commission held a work session on November 15 and is expected to schedule an opportunity for public comment in the near future. Local fanciers, breeders, and exhibitors are encouraged to contact the commission and express opposition to these proposals. Read more.
Charles County, MD – The Charles County Board of Commissioners is considering an updated proposal that would establish an “animal fancier permit” for anyone who “harbors or keeps” more than 10 adult animals and does not breed them. To obtain a permit, owners would be required to pay an unknown annual fee, submit to annual inspections, and purchase individual licenses for each animal owned. Separate permits would also be required for anyone who owns four or more intact animals for the purpose of charging a fee for stud services or selling offspring, or anyone who trains, boards or transfers animals. The proposal further requires a shelter for any animal left outside for more than 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. The board held a public hearing on November 1 and is expected to vote soon.
Medford, MA – The Medford City Council is considering a mandatory spay/neuter proposal. Although 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.
St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is considering Board Bill 107, which would redefine hobby/show breeders and impose a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance, among other provisions. Under the proposal, all dogs in city limits for more than 30 days must be sterilized. Exemptions would be made for those with hobby/show permits (which would be required for all who own two intact dogs, down from 10 in current law). Those who purchase hobby/show permits would also have to pay an annual $200 inspection fee. The proposal includes a new limit law and low commercial kennel thresholds. The bill has been approved by committee and is pending consideration by the full board. The sponsor must now decide whether she wants to bring the bill forward for a vote. Local residents are encouraged to contact board members and ask them to oppose this measure. Read more about this legislation and how to contact the board.
Suffolk County, NY – The Suffolk County Legislature has passed Resolution IR-1769, which creates a voluntary rating system for Suffolk County pet stores This rating will consider adherence to state, local and federal laws, regulations and “humane standards” for the dogs at both the pet store, and at the breeding kennel where the pet store acquired the dogs. The criteria committee tasked with developing the rating program consists of the Commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs and representatives from the American Kennel Club, ASPCA, a Long Island-based animal welfare organization, and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC). The new Suffolk County Pet Store Rating Board will consist of the Commissioner, as well as representatives from the Suffolk County SPCA, a Long Island-based animal welfare organization, PIJAC, and a retired veterinarian chosen by the Long Island Veterinary Medical Association. The resolution is expected to be signed by the County Executive within the next week.
Mercer County, WV – The Mercer County Commission has agreed to table a proposal that would have established mandatory spay/neuter and breeder licensing requirements for county residents in an attempt to address animal population concerns. A second public hearing has been scheduled for December 20 to allow more opportunity for public comment on this issue. AKC GR sent a letter of concern regarding the original proposal, issued Legislative Alerts, and continues to work with local citizens to develop a more reasonable solution. Read more about this legislation and how to contact the commission.
Dangerous Dog/Breed-Specific Legislation
Mission Hills, KS – The Mission Hills City Council is considering whether to move forward on a recommendation to add Rottweilers to the city’s existing breed-specific dangerous dog ordinance. At the October council meeting, staff reported that only one Rottweiler was licensed in the city, and no other cities in the county include the breed on their dangerous dog list. The council has asked the staff to research whether there are credible studies verifying that this breed is more dangerous than other breeds, and to present their findings at the November meeting. AKC GR sent a letter to the council explaining the inherent problems with breed-specific policies and providing suggestions for more effective solutions.