Forty-eight state legislatures and the District of Columbia are currently in regular session. As of mid-February, AKC GR is tracking more than 800 new and pre-filed state bills. For the latest information on state and federal bills being tracked by AKC GR, visit our 2011 Legislation Tracking page. This page, updated daily, provides the latest bill text, status, and Legislative Alerts posted by the AKC.
For more information on any of the measures mentioned, contact us at (919) 816-3720 or email@example.com.
Here are some highlights of the state bills we are currently tracking.
California – Assembly Bill 258 will exempt a dog from rabies vaccination requirements if a veterinarian certifies that it will endanger the dog’s life.
Florida – House Bill 359 (companion bill Senate Bill 676) will require that local governments add a $15 surcharge to every citation for an animal control offense or animal cruelty offense. Fees will be used for the training of animal control officers and to fund voluntary spay/neuter services. HB 359 has been referred to the House Subcommittees on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Community and Military Affairs and the House Committee on State Affairs. SB 676 has been referred to the Senate Committees on Community Affairs, Judiciary and Budget.
Georgia – House Bill 148 would create broad definitions for “dangerous” and “vicious” dogs with requirements for extensive enclosure engineering standards, mandatory sterilization, liability insurance and other provisions. This bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. AKC GR and the Georgia Canine Coalition are monitoring this bill.
Hawaii – House Bill 1621 seeks to impose an ownership limit of 50 dogs over the age of 6 months and requires licensing for anyone who sells 25 or more puppies per year or owns 20 intact female dogs or 30 intact dogs of either sex over the age of 6 months. The bill would also establish extensive engineering requirements for licensees’ dog facilities and allow inspections of any areas in which dogs are kept, handled or transported with no exemptions for personal residences. The bill has passed the House Committee on Economic Revitalization & Business and is referred to the CPC/JUD committee. AKC GR sent alerts to clubs and breeders and sent letters to committee members outlining specific concerns.
Illinois – House Bill 1080 would remove the state ban on breed-specific legislation. This would allow the state to classify specific breeds as “vicious” and allow municipalities to pass breed-specific laws. Check the AKC's Government Relations web pages for the latest information. Read AKC's Legislative Alert for this bill.
Maryland – House Bill 940/Senate Bill 839 would create a licensing program for all who own or have custody of “10 or more unspayed dogs over the age of six months” and intend to breed any of the dogs and sell any offspring. The bill would also allow counties to establish additional kennel license fees to cover administration costs associated with the licensing program and allow them to enact more stringent kennel licensing laws. HB 940 is scheduled for a hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee on March 8.
Mississippi – AKC GR is tracking several measures in Mississippi:
Senate Bill 2821 – As passed by the Senate, this bill would have created the offense and penalties for felony animal cruelty against cats and dogs, provided clear definitions, and amended an existing problematic seizure bond statute. A committee substitute amendment has since been approved by two committees. As amended, the bill will create the offense of felony animal cruelty against cats and dogs. It also establishes vague definitions of animal cruelty, does not amend the existing seizure bond statute, and requires animal welfare organizations that hold impounded dogs to sterilize them prior to release. There is no exemption from sterilization for an owned dog that accidentally escapes its enclosure or for dogs owned by a person found not guilty of civil or criminal charges. AKC GR is awaiting receipt of an official version of the substitute bill.
Missouri –AKC GR is monitoring several measures in Missouri:
Senate Bill 95 / Senate Bill 113 (Committee substitute amendment) – Several pieces of legislation have been introduced to modify or repeal Proposition B, which passed on the ballot in November 2010. A combination of Senate Bills 113 and 95 makes numerous positive changes to the new law, including removing the 50-dog ownership limit and the restrictions on breeding ages (the bill now states that female dogs may not be bred more than what is recommended by a veterinarian). The bill would also allow breeders at least 30 days to correct violations found during an inspection and require a second inspection within 6 months after the corrections. This has passed the Senate Agriculture Committee, and the AKC has sent a letter of support for this amendment to the Missouri Senate.
House Bill 131 – This bill seeks to modify Proposition B by, among other changes, removing the term “puppy mill,” dog ownership limits, and numeric restrictions on litters. The bill allows for action to be taken against those who have past violations of breeder regulations that have not been addressed or corrected, and creates the crime of neglect for repeated violations. HB 131 also removes exemptions for hobby breeders, shelters and retail pet stores. The bill passed the Agriculture Policy Committee and is now pending on the House Floor.
Montana – House Bill 390 seeks to require registration of facilities that sell 30 or more dogs per year. The bill also requires the Montana Department of Livestock to adopt rules governing inspections, recordkeeping, and standards for dog care and housing at registered facilities. HB 390 is scheduled be heard by the Montana House Agriculture Committee. AKC GR sent an alert to clubs and breeders and a letter outlining our concerns to committee members.
Nebraska – Legislative Bill 427 seeks to further regulate “commercial dog breeders,” which is defined in current law as anyone "engaged in the business of breeding dogs" and owns or harbors four or more intact dogs or cats, sells at least 31 dogs and cats per year, owns dogs/cats that produce four or more litters per year, or who knowingly sells or leases dogs/cats for later retail sale or brokered trade. Due to this low threshold in current law, LB 427 would require anyone who owns 4 intact dogs of any age to comply with strict engineering standards and breeder restrictions, including building an exercise area that is 10 times the size of the primary enclosure. The Agriculture Committee conducted a public hearing of the bill on February 8, but no action was taken. Read the AKC’s Legislative Alert on LB 427.
New Jersey – AKC GR is monitoring several bills in New Jersey:
New York – AKC GR is tracking a number of bills in New York:
Assembly Bill 269 – Current law states that overdriving, overloading, torturing, injuring, or failing to provide necessary sustenance to an animal is a Class A misdemeanor. This bill would increase the penalty for committing these acts against a companion animals to a Class E felony. This bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture Committee.
Assembly Bill 3595 – This bill would prevent senior citizens from being denied occupancy or evicted from a multiple-unit dwelling because they own a pet. The bill also recognizes the benefits of pet ownership and allows landlords to create regulations such as leash laws in public places, removal of animal waste, and other health and safety rules. The bill has been assigned to the Assembly Housing Committee. Read the AKC’s Legislative Alert and learn how you can help support this bill.
Senate Bill 1310 – This bill directs the State Department of Health to oversee dog licensing for cities with populations of over 2 million people. Among other provisions, it requires a higher licensing fee for intact dogs than for altered dogs and mandatory sterilization for any dog that is impounded, even if the dog is reclaimed by its owner. This bill has been assigned to the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Senate Bill 1710 – This legislation prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums based on a specific dog breed. It does allow the insurer to deny coverage or increase premiums if the dog has been classified as “dangerous,” based on the current definition in statute. However, prior to denying coverage or increasing the premium, the owner of the dangerous dog must be permitted to successfully complete an obedience course, which would then waive the owner from this provision. AKC GR and its New York federation are supporting this bill, which has been assigned to the Senate Insurance Committee.
North Carolina – Senate Bill 2, called “Chamberlin’s Law,” expands the state’s cruelty laws and lowers the standard for the definition of cruelty from an act that is "intentional" to an act that is only "reckless." While exceptions are made for physical alteration of livestock and poultry for conforming to breed standards, no exception is made for dogs. Anyone who is found guilty could be prohibited from owning or having custody of dogs for an established period of time, and ordered to receive a psychiatric or psychological evaluation at his own expense. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Committee on Judiciary II.
Ohio – House Bill 14 seeks to remove the term “pit bull” from the state’s definition of “vicious dog." The term “pit bull” is not defined in current law, but owners of dogs considered to be of this breed must comply with numerous requirements. In 2010, this language was added into another bill and passed the House of Representatives. The session adjourned before it could be heard in the Senate. The Ohio Criminal Justice Committee has held two hearings on this bill. Read the AKC Legislative Alert and learn how you can help support this legislation.
Oklahoma – Senate Bill 773 seeks to make numerous amendments to the commercial pet breeders laws. Among other provisions, the committee amendment would exempt all those who breed hunting, sporting and working dogs and require that any rules established by the Commercial Pet Breeders Board be first approved by the state Department of Agriculture, Food & Forestry. The requirements for annual inspections are removed and replaced with inspections on receipt of a written complaint. These complaints may be made against breeders, animal shelters, or rescues that have contracts with local municipalities. The amendment has been approved by the House Agriculture & Rural Development Committee and now goes to the Appropriations Committee.
Oregon – AKC GR is tracking several bills in Oregon:
House Bill 2712 will establish minimum fines for specific violations. Specifically, being cited for an at-large dog, an unlicensed dog, a dog that is deemed a nuisance, or for keeping a dog which has harmed livestock would be categorized as a Class B violation with a minimum fine of $260. HB 2712 has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 2724 will create the crime of animal endangerment, defined as leaving a dog or cat in a car when the weather is a danger to the animal’s health. HB 2724 will allow law enforcement officers to remove the animal and to cite the owner for a Class B traffic violation. HB 2724 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Texas – AKC GR is tracking several bills in Texas:
House Bill 323 (companion bill Senate Bill 279) will prohibit the removal of a pet, companion or assistance animal from the possession of a person named in a protective order. This bill will also make it a crime to harm, threaten, or interfere with the care, custody, or control of a pet, companion animal, or assistance animal owned by a person named in a protective order. HB 323 has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence. SB 279 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice.
House Bill 998 will require the owner of any unneutered male dog over 20 lbs that is ever off the premises of the owner off-lead to purchase $100,000 per occurrence in liability insurance to cover instances of property damages, bodily injury or death. Read AKC’s alert on HB 998.
Utah – House Bill 124 places numerous requirements on “commercial breeders,” defined as anyone who owns six or more dogs “for breeding” and sells or provides the offspring of the dog to another person. Commercial breeders may not sell or solicit the sale of a dog unless the commercial breeder has a valid breeder license, business license, and land use approval from the Land Use Authority. This bill died 5-6 in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. It is possible the sponsor may try to bring it back later in session.
Virginia – The Virginia House Courts of Justice Committee has decided to not take action on House Bill 2195, which would have banned debarking unless the procedure was necessary to treat or relieve an injury or illness. Veterinarians would have been required to keep records of any debarking procedure they performed for four years and been subject to an audit. AKC GR sent a letter of concern to the committee and worked with the Virginia federation to defeat this measure.
Washington – AKC GR is tracking several bills in Washington:
House Bill 1727 will replace “service dog” with the federal definition of service animal. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
House Bill 1755 (companion Senate Bill 5649) will institute statewide restrictions on tethering including prohibiting tethering between 10pm and 6am, tethering for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period or 10 consecutive hours. The bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.
West Virginia –AKC GR is monitoring several pieces of legislation in West Virginia:
House Bill 2883 – This bill is very similar to House Bill 2015, except that it defines “commercial dog breeder” as any person who maintains 11 or more unsterilized dogs over the age of one year and is engaged in the business of breeder animals for sale. The same exemptions, breeding limitations and ownership limits in House Bill 2015 are included in this bill. HB 2883 has passed the House Judiciary Committee and is pending on the House floor. Read the AKC’s Legislative Alert.
House Bill 3080 – This bill appears to add “any breed of pit bull” to the definition of “dangerous dog” and creates numerous regulations for owners of dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs. The bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture Committee, but is not currently scheduled for a hearing.
Wyoming – Senate File 100 seeks to amend the state's animal cruelty statutes. As introduced, the bill sought to define the terms "hoarding" and "puppy mills" by the number of animals owned, as well as the use of vague and undefined terms. The bill passed the Senate, as well as the House Agriculture Committee with numerous amendments, but some concerns still remained. The AKC and local kennel clubs supported a floor amendment that would delete the current language of the bill and simply create the crime of "household pet animal cruelty" if someone keeps household pets in "a manner that results in chronic or repeated serious physical harm to the household pet" or keeps the pets "confined in conditions which constitute a public health hazard." The amendment was approved on February 25, and the bill will likely be given final consideration early this week. Read the latest AKC Legislative Alert on this bill.
Multiple States – A number of states have introduced bills to establish animal abuser registries. These measures seek to register all convicted animals abusers in the same manner that some communities register sex offenders. Ostensibly, these measures should not impact AKC registrants because we take a hard line on cruelty and suspend all AKC privileges for anyone convicted of cruelty involving a dog. However, we remain concerned about instances where cruelty is poorly defined in law, or may be confused with standard, humane animal husbandry practices such as multiple breedings, cropping/docking or debarking. Click on the links below to view the bills, or visit the Legislation Tracking page to see the latest status of these bills.
Connecticut – House Bill 5362, House Bill 5396, Senate Bill 871