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 recent victories for dog owners:
Jacksonville, FL – The Jacksonville City Council amended a problematic animal control ordinance prior to passage. While some concerns still remain, modifications were made to mandatory sterilization requirements for impounded dogs, mandatory microchipping requirements, overly-broad dangerous dog provisions, and definitions and licensing requirements for hobby and occasional breeders. In the months from introduction to passage, 177 changes were made to the original bill.
Lee County, NC – The Lee County Board of Commissioners is hosting informational meetings across the county this month regarding proposed changes to its dog ordinance. While much of the proposal is focused on measures to protect the public from dangerous animals and prevent the spread of rabies, there are some sections of the proposal which are problematic. Specifically, the AKC is concerned about provisions to require sterilization on a second impoundment, specifications for enclosures and requirements for a special license for anyone owning more than thirty dogs. AKC GR has notified local clubs and breeders, is encouraging their participation at the meetings, and continues to monitor 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 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.
Salt Lake County, UT – The Salt Lake County Council approved an ordinance that would place numerous restrictions on anyone who whelps more than one litter a year. The restrictions include limiting dogs to two litters in any 18-month period (it appears that this would also apply to stud dogs) and requiring constant and unfettered access to an indoor enclosure with solid floors. Unannounced inspections will also be permitted at any time. The AKC notified local dog owners and sent a letter to the council expressing concerns with certain provisions of the proposal. The Salt Lake County Council has expressed an interest in working with local dog owners to amend the ordinance this spring.
Pierce County, WA – The Pierce County Animal Control Advisory Council is considering changes to the city’s kennel licenses and the possible adoption of a breeder’s ordinance. Specific fees and provisions are not yet established. The AKC GR department sent a letter to the council opposing the adoption of burdensome fees and regulations for local, responsible breeders and notified local clubs asking them to become involved in the process.
York, ME – The Town of York is undertaking a comprehensive review of their zoning ordinances. The review is expected to include a definition of animal breeding and where it will be considered an acceptable use of land in the town. AKC GR has encouraged responsible owners and breeders to contact town officials and offer their expertise and suggestions on drafting any language that is likely to affect animal owners and breeders. This is an opportunity for residents to become involved in the process from the beginning and to draft language that will not place unreasonable burdens or restrictions on responsible breeders.
Dangerous Dog/Breed-Specific Legislation
Bristol, PA – The Bristol City Council directed staff to draft an ordinance that would require all “pit bulls” to be muzzled and on a leash while on public property. It is not yet clear which breeds may be affected. AKC GR has sent a letter to the city council reminding them that Pennsylvania state law prohibits breed-specific legislation.
Malden, MA – The Malden City Council’s Ordinance Committee voted to recommend to the full city council an ordinance that would require all “pit bulls” be muzzled. A draft of the ordinance is not yet available. AKC GR sent a letter to the mayor and city council opposing the adoption of a breed-specific ordinance.
Cypress, CA – The Cypress City Council has requested that an ordinance be drafted to require the mandatory sterilization of specific dog breeds. It is not yet clear which breeds may be affected. Local residents are urged to contact the mayor and city council and ask them to oppose any legislation that is breed-specific or requires the sterilization of owned dogs.
Contra Costa County, CA – The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors Public Protection Committee is in the process of researching an ordinance that would require all impounded dogs to be sterilized before they are returned to their owners, even on a first offense. The animal services director is expected to report back to the committee in January. AKC GR department sent a letter opposing this proposal and contacted local fanciers and responsible dog owners to encourage them to contact their supervisors and oppose this one-strike policy.
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.
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. This item has not yet been placed on the council’s agenda, but as things can move very quickly, residents are asked to contact the mayor and council as soon as possible in support of this change.
Warwick, RI – The Warwick City Council is considering an ordinance that will prohibit the devocalization of cats and dogs unless a veterinarian states that it is medically necessary. An amended version (not yet available) will be heard at the February 14th meeting. AKC GR notified local residents and sent a letter opposing the ordinance to the city council.