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 defend responsible dog ownership in your community.
Here are some examples of local issues currently being addressed by AKC GR:
Irvine, CA – The Irvine City Council is expected to consider changes to their animal control ordinance on September 13th. 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 term is undefined 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 are allowed to continue selling animals until a specified date (this is blank in the draft). The ordinance exempts those who sell animals bred and reared on the premises of the person or establishment. AKC GR staff is coordinating education and outreach efforts with local clubs, responsible owners and breeders.
Cecil County, MD – The Cecil County Board of Commissioners is expected to schedule a public hearing to discuss 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. Local fanciers, breeders, and exhibitors are being encouraged to contact the commission and express opposition to these proposals. Read more and view the County Commission contact information.
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 has introduced Resolution 1545, a measure that contains legislative intent that makes a number of inaccurate, misleading and unsubstantiated claims that impugn the integrity of the American Kennel Club and dog breeding in general. The measure also would require any pet store in the county that sells puppies to source them from shelters, rescue organizations or from breeders within the county. AKC GR has written a response that refutes the claims made in the proposal and calls for strong opposition to the measure. Legislators have also been invited to the Suffolk County Kennel Club’s Canine Experience on July 31 to interact with responsible dog owners and to better understand the many ways that AKC activities benefit the county, including education, outreach, family-friendly activities and events that contribute a significant economic impact to the community. HB 1545 is scheduled for possible consideration on August 2. Read more about IR 1545 and learn how you can help fight this proposal.
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
Cornell, WI - The City of Cornell, Wisconsin is considering breed-specific regulations and other changes to its animal control laws. Although no draft is currently available, the public notice indicated that the City Council’s Public Health and Safety Committee would be considering “placing restrictions on pit bulls and other dangerous dog breeds.” No specific AKC breeds were mentioned in the notice. The AKC has alerted local dog clubs, sent a letter of concern, and is working with its Wisconsin federation to make sure no proposals will target specific breeds or restrict the rights of responsible dog owners.
Saginaw, MI – The City of Saginaw has approved two measures that would restrict the ownership of 5 dog breeds (“pit bulls,” Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Bullmastiffs and Presa Canarios), and impose a 3-dog limit on all dog owners, regardless of breed. The list of breeds will be reconsidered and updated each year. AKC posted several Legislative Alerts on this measure, sent a letter of concern to the council, and worked with local dog owners who were fighting this proposal.
Vancouver, WA – The Vancouver City Council will hold a work session in August to discuss possible changes to their dangerous dog law. The council has indicated that they are going to pursue a breed-neutral approach to this issue. AKC GR sent a letter to the council opposing breed-specific legislation and provided alternative ordinances that have proven successful in other communities. AKC will contact local clubs and responsible dog owners with specific information about the upcoming work session.
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 ordinances do move very quickly, residents are being asked to contact the mayor and council as soon as possible in support of this change.